Cleaning The Glass: OSU Vs. Miami

With a come-from-behind win in the books for the Ohio State men's cagers, beat writer Adam Jardy offers his thoughts on the Buckeyes' win against the Miami Hurricanes.

I think … I keep having to tell myself to take deep breaths and not get too excited about Ohio State's win against Miami (Fla.) on Dec. 3. All the ingredients appear to be coming together for a young Buckeye team that was not supposed to have much of a chance against a much more experienced Hurricanes team, and there are plenty of reasons for optimism within the Buckeye camp.

I think … the key to that game (and perhaps the season) is/was Jon Diebler. Before the season began, I asked head coach Thad Matta how his team was going to replace all the scoring that was lost from last season, and he told me that Diebler was going to have to be a key part of that.

Talk among the writers who cover the team is which player on the team will be the guy the Buckeyes can go to when they need a big shot. The prevailing sentiment has been that there is no such player on the roster, but Diebler could be filling that role before our eyes.

Fans that have thought he would come in and shoot the lights out were expecting too much. I wrote about this last year, but Diebler was only a 34.7 percent three-point shooter as a senior at Upper Sandusky. As a freshman, he hit on 28.9 percent – a figure I'll be the first to say was too low.

This year, he's at 46.4 percent. I don't expect him to say that high, but if he stays around where he was in high school that will be a significant shot in the arm for the OSU offense. Plus, I liked the way Diebler was obviously hot and his teammates were looking for him in the second half. Good recognition on their parts, and good job by Diebler of both demanding the ball and having confidence he can hit the big shot.

I think … the Buckeyes need an up-tempo game to be successful, and it truly does start on defense. Diebler and classmate Evan Turner led the way with 20 and 19 points, respectively, against Miami, and junior David Lighty was the third player to score more than 10 points. Each one of those players had at least 12 shots: Diebler was 6 for 15, Turner went 6 for 14 and Lighty was 5 for 12.

What does this mean? This OSU team might be most successful when it is getting numerous shots up. That might seem pretty obvious, but I'm starting to accept that players like Lighty and Turner are going to have offensive plays where they get to the basket but don't score. However, the more times they get there, the more times they are likely to finish.

Those opportunities will grow if the Buckeyes continue to apply defensive pressure on their opponents like they did in the second half against Miami. Winning the turnover margin 10-1 on the road against a team like Miami is a big statement for this OSU team.

I think … I might write about how the Buckeyes can not rebound out of their zone in every single one of these columns for the rest of the season. Miami beat them on the boards to the tune of a 49-34 total, and OSU has only managed to be a thoroughly overmatched Samford team on the glass so far this season.

Fast breaks and transition points are not going to come as easily if the Buckeyes continue to give up rebounds like they are going out of style.

I think … B.J. Mullens might be starting to get it.

I've been fairly critical of the freshman center for his play throughout the first few games, largely because Mullens has had incredible hype heading into the season that he has failed to live up to. When I hear potential first pick in next year's draft, I expect a player to look much more polished and aggressive than Mullens has been throughout the first three games.

Against the Hurricanes, Mullens looked like he might finally be taking Matta's advice to let go and dive into the game. He had a few hustle plays on both ends of the court and looked like he got within the flow of the game while on the court. There remains to be work particularly on the defensive end, but this was a step forward for Mullens.

I think … kudos are in order for Kyle Madsen. Here is a kid who was fully expected to ride the pine for his entire OSU career, but he has made the most of his limited opportunities. I thought he played well last night when foul trouble forced him into the lineup during the first half, and he helped keep the Buckeyes from getting too far behind early in the game.

I think … that Anthony Crater should be called Roger Dorn for at least the next week for sacrificing his body for the better of the team. Unlike the fictional third baseman in the hit movie "Major League," Crater took a swipe from Miami's Jack McClinton that resulted in the hot-shooting senior being tossed from the game.

I also like how Crater looks to attack the basket. I think the offense flows better with him on the court, and I think Jeremie Simmons shoots too much. In an ideal world I'd like to slide Simmons to the shooting guard spot at times, but the Buckeyes already have too many guys who can play there.

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