Cleaning The Glass: Alcorn State Edition

An impressive season-opening win is in the books, and with that BuckeyeSports.com men's basketball beat writer Adam Jardy offers his customary take on the game. Read on for his thoughts on the team's play down low, where Jon Diebler could finish on the school's records list and which Buckeye might be the next to record a triple-double.

I think … that all the talk about Ohio State's depth this season is for real, but I am not sold on the team's depth in the paint.

I almost hate to lead my postgame thoughts after a game like that with a negative note, but I don't see any way not to be concerned about the play of Kyle Madsen and Zisis Sarikopoulos here in the early going. Neither looked particularly impressive in an exhibition game against Walsh, and I think the duo regressed against an overwhelmed Alcorn State team.

I like Madsen's ability to shoot the jumper, but to me he's a complimentary power forward and not a center. On this team, I don't see there being much need for him to man the 4 alongside Dallas Lauderdale or Sarikopoulos because doing so would mean taking out a player with far more upside on both sides of the ball.

Instead, he will be tasked with playing out of position this season for the Buckeyes. The coaches praise his willingness to do whatever they tell him to do, but you can't like the fact that he's had shots blocked in each of these first two games and has pulled down a combined six rebounds.

As for Sarikopoulos, he is on track to foul out of every Big Ten game he plays this year. He continues to pick up cheap fouls while hedging on ball screens, and he too has seen more than one shot attempt rudely pushed back into his face so far this season. That shouldn't happen to a 7-0, 265-pound center who is the biggest body on the team.

I think Sarikopoulos will be a solid player down the road, but he is the youngest player on the team and it shows right now. Additionally, I think Madsen could be a solid complimentary player on a team not solely structured around having four quick, athletic guards zipping the ball around the arc while one big man hangs out in the post.

I'm not suggesting pushing the panic button just yet, but you have to be a little nervous.

I think … that William Buford took all the talk about improving his body and his conditioning to heart. He finished second on the team with 19 points, but eight of them came in the second half.

After playing 13 minutes in the first half, he saw seven minutes of action as the Buckeyes closed out the blowout victory against the Braves. Last season, he was the master of scoring early and then disappearing from the stat sheet. Aside from his ongoing struggles to become a solid man-to-man defender – and they are ongoing – improving his ability to score in the second half had to be a big point of emphasis for Buford in his preparations for the season.

Second-half points from Buford will be big if the Buckeyes want to pull out close conference victories.

I think … Jon Diebler is going to leave Ohio State as the all-time leader in three-pointers. He will be second in the record books if he hits three Thursday night against James Madison, and I think Jamar Butler's record of 242 will be in serious jeopardy by the middle of next season.

I think … Jeremie Simmons gets it now.

Last year, we were expecting him to be something that he's not: a dominant point guard. Simmons never looked comfortable in his own skin in his first year in the program, and his play reflected that.

Now in a reserve role away from the ball, Simmons has regained the shooting confidence that led his teammates to nickname him "A.O." – for automatic offense – upon his arrival. Twelve points on 5-of-8 shooting is a good sign for Buckeyes, as is his 2-for-4 performance from behind the three-point arc.

He's not guessing so far this year; he's firing. That gives head coach Thad Matta one more weapon in his arsenal.

I think … the one other player on the roster capable of putting up a triple-double is junior David Lighty. From his power forward spot, Lighty had eight points, eight assists and four rebounds against the Braves.

It's not a stretch to think that, on a given night, he could fill out the stat sheet just enough to make things interesting.


Buckeye Sports Top Stories