Preview: #7 Ohio State at Iowa

By Joe Beale on January 7, 2012 at 6:00a
61 Comments
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(Press-Citizen/ Matthew Holst) Feb 13, 2011Gatens provides poise and leadership.
Ohio State Buckeyes #7 Ohio State 14-2, 2-1 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 3:00 PM ET - BTN —— Carver-Hawkeye Arena Iowa City, IA Iowa Hawkeyes Iowa 10-6, 2-1 Big Ten Roster | Schedule

Today Ohio State attempts to improve their lackluster road record when they travel to Iowa City for an afternoon tilt against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa is coming off a thrilling (I kid) 64-62 victory over Minnesota, a game in which they rallied from a 7-point deficit on the road and hung on for the win to improve their conference record to 2-1. The Hawkeyes are a bit of a surprise thus far, and it will make for an interesting test for OSU's young squad.

The Buckeyes have had some extra time to rest as they played Tuesday night at home against Nebraska in a game that was barely more than a light workout. Still, there are some concerns about decreased scoring and increased turnovers that need to be dealt with as the conference season moves forward. Iowa is a confident bunch, having hung tough with Purdue before upsetting Wisconsin and then going on the road to defeat the Gophers. This one seems to have all the makings for a classic trap game, coming as it does right before OSU goes to Champaign-Urbana to take on a 13-3 Illinois team.

Ohio State trails Iowa in the all-time series between the two teams 73-69, but lately it has been all OSU. The Buckeyes have won 6 straight and 8 of the last 10 in the series, including a 3-game winning streak at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. This will be the only regular season game between Ohio State and Iowa, but they could meet again in the tournament as the Hawkeyes project to finish between 8-11 in the conference standings. 

# Name YR HT/WT PTS REB ASST P # Name YR HT/WT PTS REB ASST
4 A. Craft SO 6-2/190 8.1 3.2 5.2 G 4 R.D. Marble SO 6-5/194 10.9 3.2 3.6
32 L. Smith Jr. SO 6-4/205 5.3 4.8 2.2 G 5 M. Gatens SR 6-5/212 13.6 4.3 2.5
44 W. Buford SR 6-6/220 15.9 4.3 3.6 F 25 E. May JR 6-5/217 7.3 3.1 1.6
1 D. Thomas SO 6-7/225 15.1 4.1 0.8 F 15 Z. McCabe SO 6-7/232 7.4 4.8 0.9
0 J. Sullinger SO 6-9/280 16.4 9.7 1.1 C 1 M. Basabe SO 6-7/225 9.4 6.0 0.3

 

Opponent

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery is in his second year at the helm for the Hawkeyes, having guided them through a difficult 11-20 season a year ago. McCaffery earned everlasting abhorrence from Buckeye fans at his previous stop, as he led Siena to a 74-72 win over the Buckeyes in the first round of the NCAA tournament 3 years ago. What I remember about that game is that OSU could not grab a rebound to save their lives and thus they gave the Saints repeated second chances throughout the game.

Rebounding against the Hawkeyes should not be an issue for OSU, however. Iowa fields a rather small front line to start, and leans on their guards for support on the boards. Reserve forward Aaron White, a Strongsville OH native, averages 18 minutes and nearly 5 rebounds per game off the bench, and we should expect to see a lot of him against the Buckeyes. White played 26 minutes and contributed 10 points and 6 rebounds in the win at Minnesota.

Also expect to see a lot of reserve guard Bryce Cartwright, as the senior is the teams only true point guard. Starter Devyn Marble (son of Roy Marble, Iowa's all-time leading scorer) is more of a wing guard playing the point just to get him on the floor. Cartwright is one of the team's leaders in the clutch, and he came through with 17 points on 7/12 shooting in the upset win at Wisconsin. 

Iowa has won consecutive Big Ten road games but now comes home where they haven't played since losing a heart-breaker 79-76 against Purdue. Marble and Matt Gatens made big shots to keep the Hawkeyes in the game, but in the end they could not defend against the clutch play of Purdue veterans Robbie Hummel and Kelsey Barlow. The defense improved dramatically after that, as they held both Wisconsin and Minnesota to under 70 points on their home courts. 

Iowa plays most of their bench, and they spread the scoring around quite a bit. They score a lot of points, but they do not shoot a high percentage. They make up for it at the free throw line, where they average more than 20 attempts per game and are shooting over 73% as a team. Iowa is currently on a roll, but they struggled early in the season, losing badly to teams like Campbell and Northern Iowa. Which Iowa team is the real thing? It's hard to tell, but I suspect we'll get a pretty good idea today.

Buckeye Breakdown:

After the humiliating 74-70 loss at Indiana where the Buckeyes stumbled over themselves down the stretch, they rebounded with stingy defense and strong rebounding against Nebraska. Still, the turnover bug remains. OSU had 18 turnovers against Nebraska after turning it over 17 times at Indiana. Aaron Craft was the big culprit against IU with 6, but then Will Buford added 6 of his own against the Cornhuskers. What accounts for the sudden case of butterfingers on the part of the Buckeyes?

(AP Photo/Terry Gilliam)Sullinger has dominated the Hawkeyes.

From my viewpoint, it seems like teams are defending OSU out on the perimeter more closely, and the Buckeye players are responding timidly, trying to make tricky passes and quick dribble drives. What is needed is a more patient approach to ball movement and a more determined effort to get the ball down low to Sullinger.

Sullinger was the key to victory last season at Iowa, hitting for 24 points in a 73-68 win. In that game, the Buckeyes trailed 35-29 at halftime but rallied in the 2nd half for the win. Still, they had a lot of trouble putting the Hawkeyes away, mostly due to 15 turnovers and numerous fouls in the lane (sound familiar?). Freshman Melsahn Basabe went for 22 points and 13 rebounds and he shot 11 free throws as OSU defenders continually fouled him.

In order to get a win tonight, the Buckeyes are going to have to play Iowa's game for a bit in order to get their defense loosened up. What that means is moving the ball around patiently and getting good shot opportunities in the lane with Sullinger and Thomas. If they do that, they will turn the tables on the Hawkeyes and send Sully and Tank to the line frequently.

OSU will also need a cleaner performance out of Buford and Craft. Iowa is a bad match-up for Buford, as they have long defenders out on the wings and he has not played well against them throughout his career. Today might be a day where he puts his pursuit of the all-time OSU scoring title on hold and becomes a big assist man for once. The team will benefit from this approach, and in the process Buford may well get his opportunites late in the game.

Etc

  • Despite the turnover spree in the last two games, Ohio State still leads the Big Ten in turnover margin (+6.4) and scoring margin (+22.8) and they are 2nd in both scoring offense and scoring defense. 
  • The Buckeyes outshot Nebraska from the free-throw line 13-6. On the year, Ohio State is +128 (+8.1 per game) in free throw attempts.
  • Ohio State is 35-6 in their last 43 Big Ten games, dating back to 3/8/09. 
61 Comments

Comments

RBuck's picture

If the BasketBucks have to put up with the home cooking like they got in Indiana, it's going to be tough to pull this one out. Hope the Zebes let them play.

 

OT, but what Buckeye prospects and commits are playing in the Army All American game today? 

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

bassplayer7770's picture

Joel Caleb
Stefon Diggs
Kyle Dodson
Darius Hamilton
Tommy Schutt
Adolphus Washington

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

If we are to believe what's printed in today's (Saturday) Dispatch, this team has a lot of problems with effort and leadership. Buford is the only senior starter and he provides zero leadership. Craft looks to be the only leader on the team. Is Sullinger thinking only of when the season ends so he can declare for the NBA draft? Everyone has to practice harder and play better or else the Buckeyes will not win the Big Ten title.

GABuckeye's picture

Easy chief.  They have 2 losses - one against a good Kansas team AT KANSAS without Sullinger and another against  a good Indiana team AT INDIANA in which 2 of the top scorers were on the bench for much of the first half.  And they still almost pulled that game out.  The referees called ticky tack fouls all game, and that's not good for an Ohio State team that likes to play 7 guys.  They're fine.

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

I'm more worried about their leadership and attitude. Their talent is much better than any other team in the Big Ten. Today they should win. But Illinois will be much tougher to beat next week in Champaign than the Hawkeyes. And every team has to live with ticky tack fouls, especially on the road. They had a lead against the Hoosiers and they failed the gut check when that time came.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

1st problem, you read something from the Dispatch. How can a team not miss a David Lighty? They'll be okay.

buckeyechad's picture

Exactly. Anyone comparing this team to last years regular season is just looking to be let down. They unfortunately set the bar pretty low come tourny time however

Bobcat04's picture

Aaron Craft is a turnover machine.  He creates them on defense, and he makes them on offense. Kid does a poor job of taking care of the basketball.  

  Also, This game is starting just like IU as far as home-cooked foulcalling.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Geez......they aren't calling sh*t on Iowa. Not sure my blood pressure can take this.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Turnovers and fouls.......wow.

BuddhaBuck's picture

B1G refs - they're FANtastic.

Don't text while driving.

TLB's picture

all ball my A$$

Bobcat04's picture

Yeah, that no-call on Weatherspoon was bulls***.  That would have been called immediately on the other end.

Bobcat04's picture

What happened to William Buford this year?  It's really a mystery.  We were going to need him to play like the NBA bound senior he was supposed to be to accomplish any goals this year, and he has been ice cold with bad decisions to boot.

Rather_Be_Golfing's picture

I don't know.  Was thinking the same thing.  Looks like he is TRYING way to hard instead of just playing the game.  His confidence is way down and forcing.  Wish Matta would take him out and talk to him.  Coach him a bit.

TLB's picture

No doubt.  He is the most frustrating "NBA type" player I can remember.  And I don't count Byron Mullins.

BuddhaBuck's picture

He's The Enigma.

Don't text while driving.

Rather_Be_Golfing's picture

Why do we not care about each basketball possession?  Careless = Frustrating.

Bobcat04's picture

On the good side of things, Scott is playing well off the bench.  Finally have a true PG backup.

Bobcat04's picture

SIT BUFORD DOWN.

Rather_Be_Golfing's picture

Good call BOBCAT04.  won't happen.  matta refuses to coach during a game.  must be a great teacher at practices.  Cause I see no game-day coaching at all.  frustrating.

Rather_Be_Golfing's picture

Just keeps shooting and shooting and shooting.  Matta needs to sit him and have a coaching session.  

TLB's picture

Smith, Thompson, Weatherspoon, Scott and WB.

Bobcat04's picture

Blatant walk, uncalled.

BuddhaBuck's picture

No kidding.  Saw that from 500 miles away (literally).

Don't text while driving.

Rather_Be_Golfing's picture

I tell ya what.  They might not have experience, but I do not see how you can keep Weatherspoon, Thompson, and Scott out of games.  Their abilities are just too good to be kept on the bench.  Huge up side.

Joe Beale's picture

Haha...the half ends on a Buford turnover.

Bobcat04's picture

Buford is horrible.  Last shot of the half drawn up for him.  EPIC FAIL.

Joe Beale's picture

The upside of all the foul trouble is that it is forcing Thad to use his bench, which he normally doesn't do. They got some good experience at IU, and now it's paying off against Iowa. Scott, Thompson, and Weatherspoon have been outstanding today at both ends. 

Rather_Be_Golfing's picture

good point.  spot on.

Joe Beale's picture

For what it's worth, Buford is 0/10 from the field.  I know this is a bad match-up for him, but 0/10 is a disgrace for a guy who's a senior on a young team that needs leadership. 

tampa buckeye's picture

He has been soft his entire career. he could get hot at any moment though.

tampa buckeye's picture

Love the line up at the end of the half. Scott spoon stepping up. Sam almost hit his head on the rim. Only the refs can keep this close.

Joe Beale's picture

On the plus side, OSU's defense has been suffocating. Iowa is shooting less than 22% and they have 12 turnovers.

LadyBuck's picture

So, I guess there's no game thread, then. 

I've been impressed with how Shannon Scott has been playing in this game. He's done very well.

Edit: Is it just me, or is Craft in a huge funk?

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Yeah, he seems to be trying to do to much and makes bad choices with th ball.

Bobcat04's picture

If you could combine Craft's defense with Shannon Scott's ballhandling/distribution, you'd have a monster PG.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Craft does need to learn to pass better, but I've been impressed with his handles. It's kind of weird because he doesn't seem to use a crossover and only dribbles with one hand. His left or right but doesn't switch between the two like I'd expect.

LadyBuck's picture

In a way, I can't really blame him. There are times that it feels like no one else is trying to do anything or putting any effort into playing (ie: end of Kansas and a good portion of the Indiana games). However, he needs to take care of the ball.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

There are times when his intensity pays off in a good way too.

LadyBuck's picture

I totally agree, and I wouldn't trade him for anyone else.

Bobcat04's picture

BUFORD SCORES.  UNSTOPPABLE!!!11!!

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

That was Buffords first made shot then?

LadyBuck's picture

Yes, yes it was.

Joe Beale's picture

4 minutes gone in the 2nd half, and OSU has only one foul. And that was a real cheapie on Sullinger. 

Bobcat04's picture

Good offense/defense series by Smith.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Will totally flip between Nuge/Clements and Sammy/Tayler beating up TSUN when our BBall game is over.

Joe Beale's picture

Buckeyes much more patient on offense now, working the ball around for a good shot, and it is paying off big-time.

Joe Beale's picture

Haha...McCaffrey gets T'd up.

Bobcat04's picture

If we go on to win this one, game ball goes to the subs from the first half who held it together when we were disjointed and getting cheap fouls.

Bobcat04's picture

That's it.  Buford can't even hit his ft's.  

TLB's picture

Only way B1G teams can keep it close is if the officials call everything on the Buckeyes.  Of course, the 6, 7, 8 and 9 guys on tOSU would be starters on most other teams.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Ready to see Ross now pls.

Urban Ohio's picture

Got home, turned on my TV, turned on my Puter, we're up by 20 and everybody's wining. Looked to me like the refs were ignoring the Iowa Flopeyes.

Newcomerstown Trojans between Woody and Beaver.

Bobcat04's picture

That's a blocking foul if the jerseys are reversed.

LadyBuck's picture

How can Smith push McCabe over?

Joe Beale's picture

This one is over; time to switch over to the Bengals game.

TLB's picture

Sully should be out now.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Anyone going to flip to watch the Women's team play TSUN?