Thad's boys took care of Ashtray in their first exhibition game last week and tonight they look to do the same against Findlay, building momentum into the regular season opener Nov. 12th. Ohio State has played the Oilers each of the last two seasons, winning by an average of 26.5 points, so the youngsters should be able to improve upon a few things.
Several players impressed me the first game and it is going to be a close race as to who emerges as my favorite. Eric Wallace is going to be a highlight reel. Jon Diebler could be the next Ohio State basketball folk hero. Othello Hunter could have an all-conference type season and Jamar Butler may have learned more than we know from Mike Conley Jr. last year. While we wait for those votes to be tabulated (don't forget to VOTE today!), here are a few things to keep an eye on tonight.
1. Will Ohio State shoot any better from behind the arc? The Buckeyes shot a dismal 27.8 percent from the 3 point line against Ashland. Butler, Diebler and David Lighty were a combined 3-14, while P.J. Hill and The Wiggler were 2-3. Ohio State should dominate inside again tonight, but Thad's style of play requires good 3 point shooting and the guards need to get their confidence going early on.
2. Are the Buckeyes going to play a full forty minutes of defense? In the first scrimmage, Ohio State came out flat on defense and those types of starts could hurt them later on. When Thad has his boys playing team defense, there is nothing prettier and that obviously fuels the offense. Ohio State needs to stake themselves an early lead and win by 40 tonight.
3. Who will lead the Buckeyes in scoring tonight? Once again, the hoopsters will have a height advantage, as Findlay has one player over 6'7", so Kosta Koufos and Othello Hunter could do it again. However, with 11 guys playing double digit minutes, this team could have a different scoring leader every game. My guess is Diebler will stroke a couple of deep threes and lead 6 players in double digits. This will be an aspect of the Bucks that will be interesting to watch all season.
Thad's young team was left out of the preseason polls, after losing 76 percent of their offense from last year. I don't think Thad is getting enough credit for his coaching and recruiting, so I can't wait to see how he molds this group into a top ten team. How long will it take the haters to rise up when this team is in the top ten by the first of the year?