OSU lost there two years ago and won a nail-biter last season, so I firmly believe that this group of players was not expecting to simply roll up and pull out a victory. From what these guys talked about at interviews the day before the game, they knew this was an Iowa team capable of pulling off the upset.
And yet OSU still found itself in a position of weakness headed down the stretch, trailing by a game-high seven points – a deficit that could have been greater had a three-pointer or two more gone down for the Hawkeyes. After the game, head coach Thad Matta said he sensed that his team's energy was not there and that guys were setting for jumpers out of weakness and not out of strength.
At times, the Buckeyes looked to be walking through molasses and not air. While lining up for free throws, there were guys resting hands on their knees and hanging onto their shorts – clear signs of fatigue.
I have to give them credit for rallying and making plays when they needed to. Matta also said as such after the game. But I have to wonder if they would have played like that had they been able to play the occasional sub more than a minute or two here and there for much of the conference season.
The Hawkeyes simply looked fresher.
It's times like these when I can only wonder what sort of impact a Walter Offutt could have had he gotten a minute or two more in the early going.
I think … that I will mention once again that the best thing Jeremie Simmons brings to the table is that he allows the starters to catch a minute or two of much-needed rest. He is a body capable of running around on the court and filling a spot in the lineup.
It is just a shame that you can not have a bench player expected to score on a given night aside from the odd basket from Kyle Madsen.
I think … that Dallas Lauderdale had a solid night. The big man had eight of the team's 20 first-half points during a stretch where the Buckeyes simply had nothing going offensively.
He finished with 10 points and three blocks, but two problems I have: Lauderdale was 0 for 5 from the charity stripe and he had only two rebounds.
I do not expect a center to shoot 90 percent from the free-throw line, but he should hit at least two of five. At least. And as for the rebounding line, two boards from my big man who plays 32 minutes is not enough.
The Buckeyes will need more production from him if they hope to put together a tournament run.
I think … that it was nice to see David Lighty have an offensive game like he did. Evan Turner is obviously the MVP on this team, but Lighty is the second most important player in my eyes for what he does night in and night out.
He might not score 20 points every night, but he does enough away from the ball to more than make up for it. And on the nights when he does score 20, it compensates for a night when Jon Diebler is basically a no-show on offense.
Simmons should pay attention to Lighty's example.
I think … that as a final thought, I pose this question fellow BuckeyeSports.com writer Jeff Svoboda tweeted last week. If Mark Titus replaced Jon Diebler in the lineup, would anyone really notice?
I know Titus wasn't active for the game against the Hawkeyes, but a thought to ponder nonetheless.