Pat checks in with a report on the Ohio State basketball team.
Last week the young Buckeyes basketball team went through a tough pre-conference stretch. After finishing as runners-up in the pre-season NIT the Ohio State men’s basketball team was scheduled to play #1 North Carolina and #16 Butler at the historic Hinkle Field House.
To say that the Buckeyes finished as runners -up is simply nice. After playing a great semi-final game over then ranked #25 Syracuse, the young Bucks laid an egg in the championship game against Texas A&M, on one of the worlds biggest stages, Madison Square Garden, in New York City.
Returning to Columbus was a good thing for this young team (we thought) at least for a half. During the first half against the Tar Heels the Buckeyes played really well on both ends of the floor. The bright spot was freshman sharp shooter and reigning Mr. Basketball in Ohio, Jon Diebler finally got his outside shots to fall. He hit 4 3’s in the first half. First one from the corner, 2nd from Toledo, 3rd from Dayton and the 4th a buzzer beater off the glass to give OSU a 3 pt lead at half time.
The 2nd half was not as kind to Diebler and the rest of his teammates. During the 2nd half there was a stretch of almost 10 minutes when OSU didn’t hit a field goal. This is what separated UNC from Ohio State during the ACC/Big Ten challenge game.
On Saturday OSU traveled to Indianapolis to take on reigning Cinderella Butler Bulldogs in the storied Hinkle Field House. Again this game was a tale of 2 halves. Talking with a friend who went to the game Ohio State during warm ups looked like a college team, Butler looked like a high school team. The size of the players definitely went advantage OSU.
Ohio State stormed out to a good lead then took a 10 point lead into half time. Butler heated up in the second half however. The Bulldogs couldn’t miss from the field and turned up the pressure defensively.
During a tough 2 game stretch these young Buckeyes went 0-2. I am hoping Coach Matta and his staff can use these 2 games as a coaching tool. Showing this young team that a game is played for 40 minutes in 2 halves. This young team once they learn to finish a game could really be a fun team to watch. They could cause some damage during the Big Ten season and even come March.
For now, let us wait and hope during the next few games they work on finishing a game against the weaker part of their pre Big Ten schedule. As the look to avenge 2 losses against the Florida Gators on December 22. What a Merry Christmas that would be!