I think … that I have a new version of the "Why doesn't Ohio State play man-to-man defense?" question that we've been posing to him for two seasons now.
To this point, his basic answer has been that he does not have the players to be successful outside of the zone. The alignment protects players like B.J. Mullens from having to hedge screens 25 feet away from the basket, for example.
Here's my new question: If you would switch to a man-to-man defense but you don't have the right players to do so, why don't you have players capable of playing the most basic form of defense known to mankind? I think … that OSU is officially asking Evan Turner to do too much.
In the team's loss to Northwestern, the only position I am positive he did not play was center. He's helping bring the ball up the court, he's playing in the post, he's shooting from deep, he's driving, he's creating … and he's turning the ball over.
To me, it's clear: He has too much on his plate, plain and simple. It looks to me like the pressure of being the team's be-all and do-all is starting to catch up to the sophomore, a player we all have to keep reminding ourselves is still just a sophomore.
If I'm Thad Matta, I'm willing to accept a night where Turner gives me 14 points on a night where Jon Diebler is in the zone. I'd like my chances in that case. But eight turnovers from any one player is unacceptable, especially from my go-to guy.
If I'm Matta, I'd start trying to scale back some of Turner's responsibilities somehow. At least he got a short breather during the game and didn't play all 40 minutes for once.
Why did OSU lose this game, aside from the complete inability to locate shooters? Buford had three points, all of which came on a gutsy jumper with less than a minute to play. This team is not deep enough to withstand a 1-for-8 shooting performance from Buford, even on a night where Diebler hits on 80.0 percent of his three-point attempts.
When Northwestern's Craig Moore drove to the basket and flipped up an acrobatic shot that forced Matta to call a timeout and blast his players for a lack of effort, Buford should have gotten the first shot. The closest he came to trying to stop Moore was waving at him as the Wildcat blew right past.
The fact is, this team needs Buford to score at least 10 points a game or else it will have a hard time winning – especially when he is a liability on defense like he was against Northwestern.
I think … that if there were no rules, Dallas Lauderdale would be the greatest player in the history of college basketball. Unfortunately for him, there are regulations you have to follow on the hardwood and his inability to walk the line has hurt the Buckeyes plenty this season.
He has been whistled plenty of times for goaltending, but it is his offensive fouls that come away from the ball that have to be driving Matta crazy. I counted two against Northwestern, one of which negated a three pointer netted by Jeremie Simmons.
Those kind of mistakes need to stop about 20 games ago, and his inability to learn from them constantly has me scratching my head.
I think … that if you look up the definition of "streaky shooter" in the dictionary, you will see Diebler's picture there. How else does he not get off a trey against Wisconsin until less than a minute remained in the game and follow that up with an 8-for-10 night against Northwestern?
Appreciate him when he is on, because Diebler at his best is special. When he is off, hope that Buford is clued into the game enough to be a contributor.