This team can not guard anyone one-on-one, period. In the first half against Iowa, the Buckeyes came out and played what looked like only man defense and headed into the half trailing by two points.
Off the top of my head, I can recall P.J. Hill, Jon Diebler and William Buford getting easily beat off the dribble while trying to man up near the three-point arc. I applaud Matta for trying to challenge his players to guard a man and stick with him, but man, they just can not.
I say live and die by the 3-2 match-up zone. It's gotten you this far, and it's your best bet for success going forward. Then spend the spring, summer and fall beating your players over the head with man-to-man defense to the point where they can actually play it.
I think … that there is more going on with William Buford than anyone is saying right now.
Look at his play in the past several games. His shots are not falling, and more and more he is taking shots that disrupt the flow of the offense. In addition, those shots are more frequently being contested, but he chooses to shoot them anyway. Defensively, he did come up with a nice steal against Iowa but by and large he looks lost on defense and continues to give up good looks.
I think his legs are gone. I think the strain of taking on such a heavy load in David Lighty's absence is taking its toll on him. I know he was in foul trouble against Iowa, but he has sit large portions of the past few games to let guys such as Kyle Madsen and Walter Offutt play significant minutes. Nothing against either of those guys (both of whom play hard) but I don't think it's a coincidence that they are suddenly starting to play more.
Earlier this season, Buford was mentioned as a player who had to start taking better care of his body to keep up with the rigors of his first college season. I'd be curious to see how well he has stuck with that routine, because my gut instinct tells me that the answer is not a positive one.
I also think that anyone who tells him that he is NBA ready is out of his or her mind. I was wrong on Daequan Cook when he came out, but Buford is no Cook.
I think … that if Matta wants to continually point to his team's lack of overall consistency as a reason why the Buckeyes have struggled down the stretch, he needs to realize that he has three fingers pointed back at himself in the process.
If a team is not progressing the way it should throughout the season, is it the fault of the players or the coaching staff? To me, it's the fault of the people trying to get the best out of their players.
If Matta has an inconsistent team, he needs to step back and see what he could have done differently to prevent that from happening again. The buck has to stop somewhere.
I think … that without any insider knowledge whatsoever at this stage, I think Evan Turner returns for his junior season. I had pegged him as perhaps being more of a lean to go than return, but a friend had a good point as we discussed this topic.
Turner is a player who has a lot of emotional needs, and I don't say this as a criticism. Last season, he nearly left the team before the season started as he struggled to fit in before he embraced his teammates. After a tough conference loss in the latter part of his freshman season, I remember a teary-eyed Turner addressing the media in the post-game interview room.
Will he get the emotional help he's gotten at Ohio State in the NBA? No way. I think Turner is genuinely close to the likes of Diebler and Lighty. The team's leading scorer was the player who took Lighty's loss the hardest, and the opportunity to return for another year and play with his close friend might go a long way toward making a final decision.
I think … that I am fully more comfortable with P.J. Hill at the point than I am with Jeremie Simmons, and coming to grips with that realization has taken some time.
Hill has seized control of the spot when given the chance, and he has done well with it. You have to love a guy who makes the hustle plays, and Hill does that in spades.