Against Minnesota, OSU eked out a meager first-half lead, could only watch as the home team put together a sizeable run that then put the game out of reach essentially by halftime. In the second half, the Buckeyes would mount a few runs of their own but never firmly challenge for the lead and eventually would settle for a nine-point defeat.
What does this tell me? It says that the problems OSU had demonstrated in the three games leading up to the match-up with the Spartans are more serious than I previously thought. The Buckeyes do not have a point guard capable of running the offense, the team misses David Lighty far more than anyone imagined and OSU needs to hold opponents to about 40 points in order to have a chance at success.
How does head coach Thad Matta turn this all around? That's why he gets paid millions of dollars. If I had the fix-it-all answer, I'd parlay that into a higher-paying job as an assistant coach somewhere.
I think … that the lone positive to come out of the MSU game was the play of B.J. Mullens. I know I'm not exactly going out on a limb here because Mullens' play was the most obvious positive going for the Buckeyes as the game went on, but the fact that he showed some post moves as well as some offensive tenacity merit mention.
I'm not sure that Mullens is ever going to be a dominant figure in the paint for OSU this season. Even though he had 16 points, Mullens was a virtual black hole when he got the basketball and seldom looked to kick the ball back outside. This resulted in a few ill-advised shots, at least one of which found neither rim nor backboard.
Still, the game was a step forward for the freshman – and a much-needed one at that.
I think … we have all been hoping that Nikola Kecman would be something that he is not; namely, a savior for all this team's woes.
Instead, Kecman is apparently destined for a role as a bit player at best as the season rolls on. Prior to the MSU game, Matta said Kecman had struggled with the adaptation to the game in the United States while playing at Eastern Arizona. According to Matta, Kecman said he was unprepared for how physical the game would be.
Then, chuckling, Matta said that the game against the Spartans would be an eye-opener for Kecman. Problem is, he never saw action in a game that the Buckeyes – for all their problems – were within one extended run of taking the lead.
When things are tight, Matta does not like to go deep into his bench. The fact that Kecman did not play against the Spartans leads me to believe that he is not going to be a major boost to this year's team.
I think … this OSU team has absolutely no offensive identity. At times we see Evan Turner rise to the occasion and take over the offense. Same goes for Jon Diebler. The problem is that neither of them is going to do it on a night-by-night basis, and that creates a problem.
From one game to the next, I don't know if Turner is going to find room to drive and get to the rim or not. However, I'm more sure that he will have an offensive impact that Diebler, who is extremely effective when hot but a non-factor when not.
I'm not sure why Diebler doesn't look to drive more. Last season as he struggled with his shot, I liked how he would take the ball to the basket and get to the foul line. Now that he's had more success from deep this season, that mentality appears to be gone as if OSU doesn't need him to take the ball to the rim.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Diebler needs to drive more, and the Buckeyes need to figure out how to be anything but stagnant in their half-court offense. Right now, that's the only offensive identity I see.