The basketball Bucks made their official debut last night in the first round of the BCA Classic against the run-n-gun VMI Keydets. VMI came into the game averaging 136 points in two exhibitions and hung around until the Bucks put a 21-8 run on them early in the second half and cruised the rest of the way to a 107-69 victory. The Bucks were a little sloppy early, as you would expect from a team dominated by freshmen making their collegiate debuts but settled down in the second half by taking better care of the ball, controlling the glass, and getting in the face of VMI's perimeter shooters. The game looked more like an open gym with the style of play (at least 5 alley oops and combined 50 turnovers) and the few fans that bothered to show up went home happy. I gotta tell you, I know it's November and most fans are still in "Buckeye Football Only" mode, but the lack of support for the hoops team is unacceptable. My version of the "Sports Gal" came along last night and noted how sad it was that people like myself have their season tickets bounced from 12th row behind the bench to the nosebleeds so Matta can have the students on the floor, yet none show up. The official attendance was 13,219, however I guarantee that no more than 9,500 were actually in the building and that's counting ushers and concession workers. I bet no more than 500 students actually showed up. I know things will be different after Nov 18 but it's high time we start supporting the Matta regime full-time.
Some quick notes on the young'ins - DaQuan Cook looked much better than in the previous two exhibition games with 22 points on 9-14 shooting. He didnt force the action this time out and had two nice tomahawk's. Cook is a big time athlete and will be our third best player behind Oden and Butler once the Big11Ten season begins. Mike Conley looks like the real deal at the point. He really knows how to control an offense and is very unselfish. He finished with 10 assists in 26 minutes against only two turnovers. To be great, he will just need to work on his jumper from 17+. David Lighty is a glue-guy with high versatility. He reminds a little of Brian Brown in how he does whatever the team needs on a particular night. Othello Hunter looks like he could at least be a big body on the low block to compliment Oden. I have yet to see any real offense moves from him only because most of his opportunities have been dunks or putbacks. To put a bow on all of this, I think we are going to be in trouble against the likes of UNC and Florida without Oden because we are still weak on the glass, but once he returns and the team gels, we are definitely going to be a Final Four contender even if it's from a 4 or 5 seed due to experiencing the typical ups and downs of a young team going through a long season.