Cleaning The Glass: Wisconsin Road Edition

Ohio State opened up Big Ten play by dropping a decisive New Year's Eve road loss to Wisconsin. men's basketball beat writer Adam Jardy offers his take on the game and what it means for the Buckeyes as they continue with conference play.

I think … that this Ohio State team is proving to be exactly what head coach Thad Matta worried it would be without all-everything guard Evan Turner.

What I saw when I watched the Buckeyes take one on the chin against Wisconsin was a team in search of someone capable of leading the offense. There are a number of complimentary pieces on the court in the likes of David Lighty, William Buford and Jon Diebler, but there is no player who can be counted on nightly like Turner and it showed against the Badgers – particularly in the second half.

Trailing by nine going into the break, the Buckeyes had a chance to make it a game with a strong first four minutes. Instead, Wisconsin seized control and never looked back, pushing the lead to 14 points in short order.

From there, the Buckeyes were beaten. There was no fire on offense, no rotation and no clear vision as to what the team wanted to accomplish. I saw two players running to the same spot, leaving one whole side of the court neglected.

It was not pretty, to say the least, and all I kept thinking about is how a player like Turner would have at least changed things in OSU's favor on a few occasions. We finally saw today how tough things are going to be for the Buckeyes to win without Turner in conference play, and the answer might be worse than initially feared.

I think … that Turner's loss has had the greatest impact on two players: Diebler and senior Jeremie Simmons. Prior to the injury, Diebler was establishing himself as the conference's most dominant three-point shooter and Simmons was putting himself in line for sixth man of the year honors.

Now, each has turned into a shell of the player he was when Turner was on the court. Diebler simply can not get an open look any with teams keying on him, and there is no respect for his ability to drive the ball because he still has not yet shown that he can do that on any consistent basis.

I did like one drive by Diebler where he leaned in near the free-throw line, stopped and pulled up to connect in the second half. Maybe that is something he can build off of going forward.

As for Simmons, he looks like the player he was last season: lacking in confidence and completely overwhelmed on the court. Earlier this season, his shot looked smooth and his ability to attack the basket was the best it had been in his OSU career. Now, once again tasked with assuming the duties of a point guard, the senior is getting crushed by the demands of the position.

There's not much Matta can do, however. Someone has to give P.J. Hill a break.

Now there are a few words I never pictured myself typing when the season began.

I think … that speaking of Hill, he has really become a solid shooter from three-point range. Teams have been playing off of him because he had never been anything but a liability from deep, but he is showing plenty of confidence when he lets go from deep. Heck, at this point he looks more confident than "Automatic Offense" – a.k.a. Simmons.

I'd look for teams to start paying him more attention at the arc, because Hill is now at a point where I have more confidence in him shooting the ball than dribbling it.

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