Cleaning The Glass: Michigan Home Edition

Ohio State stayed in the hunt for a Big Ten title with a victory against Michigan, but what did we learn about the Buckeyes in this contest? Beat writer Adam Jardy offers some perspective from Wolverines head coach John Beilein as well as his own thoughts on the game in this edition of "Cleaning The Glass."

I think … that Michigan head coach John Beilein made some very insightful comments about Ohio State following the 66-55 Buckeye victory.

First, he pointed out the obvious by stating that the primary concern was to stop van Turner and hope for the best. As the coach put it, however, you give up something when you try to take something away and the result in this case was a big game from William Buford.

Turner had 18 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks but was hassled all night into committing eight turnovers – his second-highest total of the season. It's hard to quibble with a performance like that and I'm not going to. What was important in this game was the fact that Buford stepped to the front and came two shy of his career high with 24 points.

In addition to going 9 for 15 from the field (60.0 percent), he hit on all three of his three-point attempts. That was especially important given the fact that junior guard Jon Diebler went 1 for 7 from behind the arc.

In describing junior center Dallas Lauderdale, Beilein used the word "residual." In essence, he pointed out that Lauderdale is not necessarily going to produce a lot on his own but that he is able to take advantage of situations that result from the Buckeyes essentially using four guards at all times.

With U-M doubling Turner, it freed up Lauderdale down low. That, in turn, created more space in which Buford could operate. When he's hitting, that's a dangerous situation for an opponent.

This is a tough team to match up against. To hammer that point home, he used the example of junior forward David Lighty. The coach said that having Lighty able to guard players in the post creates a positive mismatch for OSU on the offensive end because few teams have big men capable of manning up against him.

What does this all mean? It means this continues to shape up to be a team that could prove to be dangerous when NCAA Tournament play begins.

Or, as Beilein said, "They'd be a great representative in the NCAA Tournament for the Big Ten."

I think … that I'm not sure what to make about Diebler's recent struggles, but there's no denying that they are struggles. In his last three games, he is 7 for 27 (25.9 percent) from behind the arc. That is lower than his percentage as a freshman (28.9) as he suffered through the best-publicized shooting slump in recent memory.

The wrist he injured against Illinois is healed to the point where he did not need to wear tape against the Wolverines, but his performance was still off. Diebler's lone make was his first shot of the game.

Is it his legs? Does his wrist still bother him? Are his fundamentals out of whack? Have opposing coaches figured out how to take him out of the game? I took a deeper look at his season heading into the Michigan game in an article that ran Saturday morning, but I'm not sure I'm any closer to the answers than anyone else.

I'm not sure how far OSU can go in the tournament with Diebler in a shooting slump, no matter how athletic the rest of the players are.

I think … it was nice to see P.J. Hill get a minute of action in this game. Head coach Thad Matta finally did what everyone has been begging him to do: He sat Turner at a whistle with five minutes left before a media timeout and put the senior reserve into the game.

What good did it do for Turner to have a few extra seconds to sit? Little, if any. There is no real difference between playing 39 and 40 minutes in a game.

Either way, it was nice to see Hill in the lineup. He's truly one of the more enjoyable players I've been able to cover at OSU during my tenure here.

I will say this, though: after watching the Buckeyes so much without Hill on the court, he seemed smaller than he used to be.

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