THE Ohio State Buckeyes Big Ten Preview


jared sullinger

Ohio State has stormed to a 13-0 start, winning every game by double-digits. They are also 1-0 against the AP top-25 (win against former #10 Florida). While they haven’t been tested early on, the Big Ten schedule will prove just how tough the Buckeyes really are.

Game to Watch: OSU at Wisconsin, February 12. The Buckeyes are 0-7 at the Kohl Center during Bo Ryan’s current nine-year stint with the Badgers. This includes the Greg Oden/Conley runner-up team of ’06-’07. By the time these two teams meet, the Buckeyes may very well be the #1 team in the nation. The Badger football team already knocked off the then #1 ranked Buckeyes. Could this be a similar fate for the OSU basketball team? This may just be the best game out of the entire Big Ten schedule, let alone Ohio State’s.

By: Justin Mertes-Mistretta

david lighty

Starting line-up

G – SR, David Lighty (1.8 spg) – The glue of this team. He is a lock-down defender and an underrated scorer. He has a good first step and nose for the basket.

G – SR, Jon Diebler (.481 3p%) – Lights out shooter, who also takes great care of the ball. OSU relies heavily on his outside shooting, as he is one of there only true pure shooters.

G – JR, William Buford (13.3 ppg) – Good scorer when he wants to be, but can disappear at times.

F – FR, Jared Sullinger (6 double-doubles) – Forget that this kid is a freshmen. With his combination of size and athleticism, he is simply one of the best players in the nation.

F – SR, Dallas Lauderdale (2.5 blg) – The unsung hero of this team. He does all the little things that won’t show up on the stat sheet. He is a big body that will rebound, block shots and make it difficult for opposing players to get in the paint.

6th man: G – FR, Aaron Craft (4.8 apg) – He is a crafty point guard, who has a lot of responsibility on this team. When he is in the game he takes a lot of pressure off the other guards.

7th man: F – FR, Deshaun Thomas (.853 ft%) – Probably the best pure scorer on the team (takes 31.2% of the team’s shots, which leads the team). He is always looking to score when he gets the ball in his hands.

Interesting Fact: Freshmen Aaron Craft, Jared Sullinger, and Jordan Sibert all played on the same AAU team for three years. Chemistry won’t be a problem for these three.

Biggest strength: Offensive-defensive turnover ratio. Simply put, this team takes care of the ball (3rd lowest number of turnovers per game in the nation) and forces opposing teams into making mistakes (2nd in the nation in causing turnovers).

Biggest weakness: Lack depth and experience at the point guard position. Aaron Craft is there only true point guard and he is only a freshman. Buford and Lighty can certainly handle the ball at the point, but they are better suited on the wings.

jared sullinger

Will win when…..Jared Sullinger is in beast mode. With lethal scorers on the outside, it is nearly impossible to guard this team when Sullinger is on.

Will lose when….opposing teams can take Sullinger out of the game. In the ACC-Big Ten Challenge game versus Florida State, the Seminoles were able to limit Sullinger to only four points in the first half. Taking Sullinger out of the game puts a lot of pressure on the guards, who are decent but not great in terms of creating shots on their own.

When it is all said and done: This team will be tested with tough road games at Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Purdue. Luckily for the Buckeyes, the game against Michigan State will be played in Columbus. However, until Tom Izzo is no longer the coach, the Spartans are a tough match-up regardless of where or when the game is being played. It is hard to see this team going undefeated in the conference, but it is even harder not to see them finishing the Big Ten season on top of the conference standings. With senior leadership at the guard position and the ultra-talented Sullinger, the sky is the limit for this team. The Buckeyes are right up there with Duke and Kansas for National Championship contention.

Justin Mertes-Mistretta is a senior editor for the Sports mainly covering the NFL, NBA playoffs, college basketball (Ohio State), and fantasy football. Follow him on twitter at MertesMist_tsb or become a fan of his blog here.

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