This was a Blue Hose team that I've heard described as the worst team to play in Columbus in more than a decade. I haven't been on the beat that long, but I'd buy that.
When playing an obviously overmatched team, I think the Buckeyes would have gained a lot more knowledge about themselves and shown a lot more skill had they put the ball on the floor and proved that they can drive the basket. Of OSU's 32 shots from the floor in the first half, 17 of them were from behind the three-point arc.
I'm fine with players taking a couple of threes, but in a game like this it seemed to me like the Buckeyes were just being lazy on the offensive end. We all know by now that Jon Diebler, William Buford, Jeremie Simmons and even David Lighty can hit a three-pointer when they are open. The coaches claim to see it in practice every day, and I buy that.
But can Diebler consistently learn to take a defender to the hold off the dribble? How about Simmons? We don't know the answers to these questions, and a blowout victory against Presbyterian seemed like the perfect time to start finding some answers.
I think … that Lighty got that memo, however. I like the mentality that we've seen in the past few games from the junior. His first step is rapidly becoming one of the fastest in the league, and he seems to be seeing openings better than he ever has before in his OSU career.
When he catches the ball on the wing, Lighty is as dangerous as Turner was to drive the basket. On top of that, he seems to have learned how to do so without losing control of his body – something that has escaped his grasp up until this season.
I think … that William Buford is now the most valuable player on this team. I came to this conclusion with about five minutes left in the game and the Buckeyes ahead by more than 30 points.
After putting up 53 first-half points, OSU slowed down in the second and was only at 76 with 3:22 left. I looked at the bench and realized that Buford had been out of the game for some time, and I realized that the lack of offensive firepower partially stemmed from his absence.
Then head coach Thad Matta made the baffling decision to re-insert Buford into the game at that break with OSU. I know players can get hurt in practice just as easily in games, but there was absolutely no good to come out of putting Buford in for the mop-up minutes of a blowout game.
In post-game interviews, Matta said he left guys in partially to punish them for not playing a full 40 minutes. There is a time and a place for that, and that time and place is not when your best player is on the sidelines with an injury suffered against an outmatched foe.
I think … that plenty of people will look at the 53 first-half points for the Buckeyes and proclaim things being rosy for the Buckeyes without Turner. Those people are wrong.
Both Jon Diebler and Lighty talked after the game about how a mature team should know how to cope with a team playing man-to-man defense. This team did not, and somehow Presbyterian outscored the Buckeyes in the second half, 27-25. That figure can not even be blamed on a number of reserves being put in the game because Matta didn't sub out his starters until the final moment of the game.
That does not bode well for games at, say, Wisconsin. When the Blue Hose switched up their defense, the Buckeyes had little idea how to cope with it. Someone – Lighty, Diebler, Buford, someone – has to step up and lead in that scenario.
I didn't see anyone take that bull by the horns in this game. There are two more chances before Big Ten play opens. Let's see what happens next.