Cleaning The Glass: Lipscomb Edition

Ohio State's 20-point victory against visiting Lipscomb did not come without its own share of controversy. Get beat writer Adam Jardy's take on the loss of Walter Offutt, the struggles of William Buford and where this team needs to improve before Big Ten play starts in this edition of "Cleaning The Glass."

I think … that the transfer of Walter Offutt is going to come back and hurt the Ohio State team somewhere down the stretch. What I saw in him in limited action this fall was a player who could add a spark when he stepped on the court, be it with his offense or his ability to drive the basketball.

His shooting apparently remained suspect, however, and I suspect that therein lies the real reason why he wasn't seeing time on the court. Head coach Thad Matta loves his shooters, and he charts every single shot taken in practice to keep tabs on his guys. Every conversation with Offutt seemed to get back to his ability to shoot the ball and the answer was always the same: I'm working hard at it.

Had he knocked down a few more shots, I think he'd still be in uniform finding ways to help this team.

I can't fault the kid for seeing the writing on the wall and opting to take his chances elsewhere. He's already seeing next to no action with the players already on the roster, and the Buckeyes are bringing in some of the top talent in the country next year. I'm not sure that his chances for more playing time would have increased as a junior.

Personally, I'll miss him. The guy was a great quote.

Going forward, I think this is part of a trend I will explore later that does not bode well for the program. This is the third player to transfer out in three years, and partially as a result the Buckeyes have had to dip into the junior college ranks to fill spots. This puts OSU in a spot where it is committed to Jeremie Simmons as the starting point guard.

JUCO players can be good band-aids to stop little bumps along the way, but they don't hold up to the hemorrhaging I think we are seeing here.

I think … I understand it is not possible to go into a game knowing who is going to play how much, but I still think Matta can do a better job of getting guys in the game and preventing situations like this. The Buckeyes led Lipscomb by 16 points with three minutes, but a player like Evan Turner was still in the game as he chased a triple-double Matta said he was unaware of during the game.

In what proves to be a 20-point victory, Nikola Kecman and Zisis Sarikopoulos play for the final 34 seconds and P.J. Hill sees four minutes of action. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the bench there.

I think … that this team needs to find a magic formula for shooting free throws. OSU was 7 for 17 from the charity stripe against the Bisons (.412) and 11 for 22 (.500) from three-point range.

Matta joked that he should have told his players to shoot their free throws from behind the arc, but missing that many free throws in any game is no laughing matter. OSU was 1 for 6 in the first half and 3 for 13 until connecting on its final four of the night. That first-half performance helped Lipscomb stay in the game.

In addition, a number of the misses came on the front end of one-and-one situations, contributing to a potential two-point swing. I think those points might be huge against, say, Purdue. Or Michigan State. Or even Indiana this season.

I think … that there are some problems on this team that might rear their ugly heads down the road. You have to be concerned with how opponents with a solid post presence can disrupt what the Buckeyes are trying to do on both ends of the court.

Lauderdale's 13 points are a good start, but he was frequently beaten especially in the early going by Adnan Hodzic, who finished with a team-high 18 points for Lipscomb. Granted, he had been averaging 22.7 points, but the two games I've seen OSU struggle the most in this season have been against teams with good players in the paint.

There are a lot of those in the Big Ten. That could spell trouble for the Buckeyes down the road.

I think … I'm not yet concerned about William Buford. His shooting percentage is down from a year ago and he was 1 for 7 from the floor for two points in 22 minutes against the Bisons, but it's not a fluke when you shoot 44.8 percent from the field as a freshman.

Give him some time and he'll shoot his way out of it.

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