After Iowa went 14 of 28 from beyond the arc in the Big Ten opener for both teams, head coach Thad Matta said he does entertain thoughts of switching out of his team's 3-2 zone when a team is going ballistic from deep like the Hawkeyes were. Those thoughts have remained just that, however, as the Buckeyes have shown a desire to live and die by their defense.
It's an admirable attitude, but I'm starting to really question its practicality. Too many good players are getting open looks against this Buckeye defense for me to say they are best served by staying in it. I think when utilized properly, this can be an absolutely top-flight defense – and we have seen that in stretches. These guys are athletic and can do things that, on paper, look impossible.
But why not have a man-to-man option to switch to for situations like this? I'm not sure anyone else is going to hit on half of their threes while taking as many shots as Iowa did, but more talented teams won't need to be that effective in that aspect of the game to be able to beat the Buckeyes.
I think … that as David Lighty continues to recover from his fractured foot, we will see the opposite effect on Evan Turner. Asked to move down low to play at the power forward spot in Lighty's absence, Turner is already showing ill effects from the position change.
Against the Hawkeyes, Turner was sporting a protective brace around his midsection designed to protect his ribs. Asked about it after the game, Turner said he is planning on being hit a lot more now that he is playing low and that the trainers thought this would be a good idea.
Last season, Turner battled wrist injuries that – in my view – significantly impacted his play on offense. This year, we could be seeing a similar effect the more he is asked to play a position he is not designed for.
I love Turner at the small forward spot. Give him the ball in space and let him be out on the wing up high in the Buckeye zone defense. But he's not a power forward, and I think Matta might want to start reconsidering asking him to be one.
I think … this would not be an issue if B.J. Mullens could show any sort of consistency. The freshman center has frustrated me more than any other player on the roster, and I really can't figure out what the deal is here.
Against the Hawkeyes, he saw 15 minutes of action and had four points – two of which came on foul shots. He did not have a rebound.
I had hoped that he would be starting to come around by this point, and I know I have written that he has shown stretches where he can be the player promised to us by all the recruiting services. But when the Buckeyes are playing a close game at home against a conference opponent and the lone big man on the court is Kyle Madsen (no disrespect to him), that tells me something significant about Mullens' development.
I think … I like the fact that when Jon Diebler got hot against the Hawkeyes, his teammates looked to get the ball to him. I just wish they could make similar reactions on the defensive end of the court.
Back to Diebler, though, this is the guy on the roster everyone in the arena wants to see succeed the most. The crowd hangs on his shots and erupts when he connects in a way that doesn't happen whenever anyone else scores. Adding to that is the fact that I think we're seeing that Diebler has the ability to be a top-flight scorer but one that lacks consistency.
I want to see him succeed as much as the next guy, and I think he's shown how much of an offensive factor he can be this season. I'd just like to see it on a more consistent basis. Until then, I'll continue to regard him as a streaky shooter with plenty of upside and downside.
He does give great effort on defense, however, and that does not change from game to game.