I was on a house painting crew with Clark one summer in the 70s in the Cleveland area. He was very tall and very nice. I don't think he was particularly dedicated to house painting, he never did master the fine art of painting a window with a roller.
Thompson starts, he'd BETTER be involved in the offense! Scott is the point when he comes in, he'd BETTER be involved in the offense! Psyche is important, no doubt about it, but it is given more importance than it deserves. The team had no right to gain confidence from yesterday's game - beating Chi St by 40 in no way makes up for losing to the only good teams we faced, one of them at home, and the team knows it. More important than "confidence" is knowing what to do when the going is tough, and yesterday helped very little with that. As I have already said I would have liked yesterday to have been an opportunity to see how the team pulls together without Thomas - that could have been a confidence builder!
By playing Thomas 33 minutes in a game we won by 40 Matta was saying that he has no substitute for Tank and isn't intersted in finding one. On the one hand Thomas is not just the only proven scorer but a really good scorer. On the other hand as teams that can institute Thomas Rules defenses the chances of frustration fouls by Deshaun or injury go up, and while player unavaiability can derail even the best teams the very best teams try to have a contingency that they hope they will never need. The Buckeyes will sink or swim with Thomas.
Yesterday's game otherwise showed very very little. Holding anyone to 26% is good defense. Taking 17 threes, even if you hit 8, is not great offensive discipline. I don't mind so much the 7 attempts by Ross and Della Valle, that's what they'll be in for, but 5 by Thomas is too much in the last chance to try to develop an inside game. Ravenel responded to not starting by boarding with intent. I think Williams is the more focused rebounder on the whole, neither has much of an offensive game.
And now the grind starts. NE was thought to be the conference doormat, may be better than that. Still should be a win. We will get a better idea about who we are on Jan 5 at IL.
Some of the things the Cougars do poorly could help an Ohio State squad still reeling from a loss to Kansas last weekend.
The problem is that though bad foes *can* help an inconsistent team improve too often at OSU they have only helped us pad our stats and leave thiniking that the problems were only mirages. Beating up on overmatched opponents generally helps very little. In a recent column an 11W staff writer pointed out - correctly, in my opinion - that the Chicago State game is an opportunity not to flex muscles but to run sets over and over and over, working not necessarily on scoring but on understanding how to respond when what the team would like to do is not working.
Too often the 11W readership responds to this kind of opinion with a downvote and the observation that Matta knows how to coach better than I do. Yes he does. He also has not done particularly well in March, losing earlier than seed too often (last year excepted). He builds teams to win the B1G but not necessarily to win in March. If we score 90 today how you feel about that depends on whether you live for the moment or look to see how the moment might affect the future. I'm in group B. If we win by only five but Williams and Ross have gotten schooled on playing disciplined basketball then this will have been a good day. If we win by 30 by hitting wide open jumpers out of half-court sets against terrible defense this game will have done almost nothing for us.
If one player is double or triple teamed then at least one other player will be open. Beating Jordan Rules means positioning the other players where they have a better chance of capitalizing on being open, and instructing decoy Thomas how to find the open guys.
OR, if Thomas is outside and draws double or triple coverage then there will be gaps in the oppenent's inside coverage. Beating Jordan Rules means being ready to exploit the gaps.
What beating Thomas Rules does NOT mean is continuing with quick shots by guys who really can not be counted on to make them. While every Buckeye has had an occasional scoring burst no one other than Thomas has been a reliable jump shooter, so as Self said continuing to be a jump-shooting team is exactly what an opposing coach wants to see.
Thad has done a fine job of coming up with a Plan A that has worked most of the time. What we need to see from him now and the rest of the year is a Plan B that will counter the Thomas Rules. Perhaps slowing to a Whiskey pace is not a bad idea for a team that plays better defense than offense. I'm not advising this but it is an option.
If you set aside the shooting factor, Ohio State matches up with any team in the country. The Buckeyes possess one of the best defenses in the country.
Through games of 12/23 the Buckeyes have played 2 really good teams and 9 really bad ones, a schedule Sagarin ranks as 268th, so we should be looking pretty good. Official NCAA statistics have us 5th in the B1G, 96th in Div 1 in FG %; 5th in the B1G, 65th in Div 1 in 3-pt FG%. On defense we are 6th in the B1G, 43rd in Div 1 in FG % defense; 7th in the B1G, 113th in Div 1 in 3-pt FG % defense. There is more to defense than FG% but these numbers do not look like they belong to one of the best defenses in the country, especially considering our schedule. That we are 7th in the BiG in RB margin, 6th in the B1G and 57th in Div 1 in assists per game suggests that we are not doing the other stuff all that well either. For all Aaron's Craftiness we are only 5th in the B1G, 129th in Div 1 in steals per game. Matta teams used to play without fouling but this year we are 9th in the B1G, 145th in Div 1 in fouls committed per game.
Someone please tell me how these statistics belong to an elite team. Improving our shooting will improve our defense, since defense comes partly from offense, but it will not completely fix our defense. And it is not clear that improving our shooting is as simple as getting better bounces off the rim or simply wishing it. This shooting is a fair reflection of the kind of team we are based on the style of play Matta has directed - our shooting is most likely to improve if the style of our offense changes. This should get me a downvote or two because the cheerleaders in 11W HATE bad news but I'm just the messenger and shooting me will not help a team that even 11W says is only the 5th best in the B1G right now.
I think that he has a proven record when it comes to Big Ten Championships and NCAA appearances. TOSU was in a very different place in basketball before he took over.
Those are two very different statements. The Buckeyes are better under Matta than under most previous coaches, but we have a record under Matta of flaming out in the NCAAs before our seed says we should. Last year was a big exception, we did better then I think we should have - but should have beaten KS as well, and I think Matta's game management lead both to our being in position to win and ultimately losing.
The bench didn't keep us in Saturday's game - other than Scott, who is earning his minutes, the bench consisted of but two players who contributed but 29 minutes (out of an available 200), scored but 10 points and committed 3 turnovers and 5 personal fouls.
The question is how Ross is going to get better if, now in his second year of practicing, he still looks cofused in games, if he does not get game experience. You can defend Matta's not playing Ross yesterday, but down the line Ross' continued confusion will surely hurt a team that needs to be able to call on its bench to contribute positively.
As for Amir the very next comment criticizes him. Everyone we put inside is struggling. No opponent will lose sleep over how to attack or defend Williams unless he gets a lot better (Amir had one of the TOs, which is a lot considering how little he handles the ball, and 4 of the fouls in 20 mnutes).
The good news here is that the Buckeyes still have plenty of games remaining to see if they can't work out the kinks offensively.
In theory yes, but based on Matta's decision making over the last few years it's not clear that he will let that happen. He quickly settles on the very few guys he trusts or thinks he needs to play, and PT for the rest becomes scanty. Scott will be a regular because he is already contributing; Williams may get time because the situation inside is dire; but if Ross got only nine minutes yesterday when even with a couple of yankings for coaching more time was available then based on past practice by Matta he is still going to be getting only spot action in March.
The reality is that we could lose 10 or even 12 games in the early season and if that helped us grow so that we reach the finals of the B1G we would be going dancing as a matured, very dangerous mid-seed. If Matta instead tries to score 90 against cupcakes or limit losses against average teams the bench will not develop any better this year than it has in past years, and because our starting 5 is not as good as in past years we will have little cause for long-range optimism.
In other words, success for the 2012 team probably depends most not on Craft or Thomas but on Matta changing his approach.
Our defense let Kansas shoot 51% yesterday, 45% on threes. Part of that was poor shot selection by our offense meaning that our defense did not have a chance to get set. Our defense and offense work together and if our offense continues to play street ball our defense is going to lose form. And, again, we were getting beaten on routine inbounds plays, meaning that even when set our D has issues. Our defense can address inbounds but unless Matta changes an ofense that shoots quickly good teams are going to shoot well against us.
We are not a good outside shooting team. Last year Sullinger was capable (creating matchup problems for foes) and in theory Buford needed to be defended, but this year other than Thomas who do you want taking 3s? Thompson shot well from outside yesterday but is that where he should be playing, and do you really expect him to keep it up? Ross gets lots of press but in practice has not been overly impressive. If we can't hit some shots from long we WILL shoot that poorly again against a team of good athletes playing disciplined defense because our inside game is even worse.
It wasn't a total humiliation but the second half was not as close as the final score. Earlier romps over bad teams masked fundamental problems that are not going to be fixed quickly. For starters I voiced concern early on that if Thomas is the only reliable scorer defenses are going to make his job a lot harder, and indeed we are seeing that he is getting his points on volume shooting, which is not great for team play. He is a better shooter than Buford, but even if he never goes 1 for 16 he can still kill us by hitting only a third of a lot of shots. Though unlike Buford's teams it's not clear who should be taking the shots if not Thomas. The biggest issue is that Matta seems to be not very good at fitting players into offensive roles - he has his preferred motion offense and then turns guys lose, which against tough defense results in street-level jacking and bricking. Matta does not have the stars to run an offense based on undisciplined shooting. There is little presence inside that can create an inside-outside game, so defenses guard the perimiter and get in position for rebounds. And other than Scott, who has become an unexpected plus, the bench simply is not contributing. For all the talk of Ross' brilliance we have seen very little of it generally, and very little today. And if Matta stays true to form he will do little to try to develop the guys who could be valuable role players in March but will sink or swim with what he has settled on as his starting five, plus Scott and whatever bigs he thinks might stop some bleeding. We actually played better against KS than I expected, which tells me that if Matta tries to develop game plans based on who he has we could get better still, but if he continues to direct the team the way he did today and against Duke our stay in the NCAA is not likely to be a long one. And our streak at the top of the B1G will probably end. It likely is true that Duke and Kansas are amongst the best and it is not an insult to lose to them, but the struggles today suggests that this team may struggle against good defense played by teams a step or two below Duke and KS. (And if we don't defend in-bounds plays better we are going to dig holes for ourselves our offense will never get us out of.)
It's also worth pointing out that when we made our run that put us up by 6 or 8 in the first half a Buckeye on the floor was seen smiling (Thompson, I think), as in "we are too good to be stopped." Bill Self called a time-out, after which the Jayhawks took over. Until the Buckeyes learn that there is NO celebration until the game is really out of reach - until Matta gets the team to understand this - the team is going to lose focus and perhaps struggle getting it back.
Any team can beat any other team if it gets shots to fall. It's the coach's job to design and call plays that use the strengths of the players he has, to increase the chances that shots taken will fall. The Buckeyes today were not just having bad luck, though there might have been some of that in close misses - too often they were taking shots that should not have been taken. And too often they were taking shots that were open but shooting with such bad form they had little chance of gong in. When you bank in a three you probably should not have taken the shot!
I'm not as sold on the Buckeyes this year as most, mostly because I'm not readuy to celebrate bench players who shine only sporadically. And our inside game is the weakest the Buckeyes have had in a long, long time. If Withey could shut down Sullinger (and he did) our only hope is to bang him into frustration fouls (which is how I thought teams shopuld have played against Sullinger last year). If so it is not personnel that will decide this. Like Ramzy I feel a key is our ability to finish the game. I don't know if I mean it in the same way as Ramzy. I do not see the Buckeyes as quitting against Kansas in the semis or Duke this year; rather, the other coaches made adjustments at half that Matta did not counter. Until proven otherwise to me, the key in beating a squad that can match our line-up top to bottom (and I think KS can) is whether our coach matches theirs, especially after intermission.
This gets a down vote? Really? for pointing out that we gave up 72 points to UNC-A? what, that is not supposed to be mentioned? for pointing out that there are only six Buckeyes in the NBA? shooting the messenger is now legal?
As for Stevens he has coached five full years at a school with limited resources, no TV exposure, nothing to draw the "top-tier talent" and has a wining percentage of 78%. This could come against a weak schedule, but making two championship games and coming within one basket of winning one is, simply, a better coaching job than Matta has performed with a program attracting one-and-dones. For head-to-head he has a better winning percentage at Butler than Matta had at Butler. This doesn't prove that Stevens is a better coach than Matta, but it does prove that down votes for saying that he might be are are an abuse of the voting system.
Our great defense yesterday gave ANC-A 72 points. We do generally play solid defense, but suggesting that Butler doesn't is silly. Butler's defense just beat the Hoosiers. It may turn out to be a fluke win for the Bulldogs, IN may turn out to be over-rated, but right now that was a better team performance than anything OSU can point to this year. Essentally your comments, while containing grains of truth, are based on what underlies far too much of the comments in 11W - we are OSU, how dare you compare us with anyone else. We have the best coaches in the country, how dare you criticize!
Except for Turner who is finally coming imto his own few players coached by Matta are doing very well in the NBA. Only six OSU players are on NBA rosters and other than Turner it's hard to find a name that was "developed" by Matta. Mullens is exceeding expectations, Sulliger may meet them. Lighty did not get drafted, and neither he, Buford nor Diebler is in the League. Matta may have squeezed out of them what was there but he did not turn them into "top tier talent". In fact, he let Buford continue bad habits that hurt the Buckeyes and hurt Buford. Daequan Cook is a pro but that is arguably despite Matta who played him very little, not because of Matta.
This does not mean that Matta is a bad coach - his record speaks for itself. Including too many losses below seed in March. This year with only one proven scorer, a defensive-minded guard who is struggling on offense and a void in the middle Matta is going to have to build a team around roles, not players. As Brad Stevens has done but Matta has not done particularly well. We will find out if we can do to Indiana what Butler did. I can't imagine OSU under Matta beating even a half-decent team if three of our starters foul out, as Butler did yesterday. I will probably get down-voted again but IMHO there is no comparison between the quality of work done by Thad Matta at a school in one of THE prestigious conferences with a HUGE athletic budget and what Brad Stevens has done at a small school playing in the relative shadows.
Bhartmen, are you someone who votes down because you disagree? My comment started out by observing that what saff was saying about McDonald was way overblown and you agree. I suggest that the team needs to be Butler, and you agree that being a team of only one star that gets to two NCs is pretty cool. I don't say that Ross won't get minutes, I'm saying that if Matta does not give guys minutes before conference starts he has not typically increased their playing time once things get crunchy. Matta typically has NOT subbed to create offense, once he settles on his handful of trusted players he generally subs only for injury or serious foul trouble or because someone is getting destroyed on defense, and he leaves scorers on the floor even when they are laying some serious bricks.
JT's teams made nice runs during his tenure too, but now we are seeing (or actually, some already saw but more are now accepting) that the team could have been more. Matta is OSU basketball's Tressell - he's exciting in his way but very conservative in his team development. He has run his teams in similar ways enough that predictions about what might happen this year are possible. If I'm wrong about how he will use the bench this year (and that pays off) then great! But my pointing out a past tendency hardly seems a legitimate reason for a down-vote.
This years squad is far from Butler
In what way are we clearly not like Butler during their two great years? We are scoring a lot of points now but we're doing it against bad teams. One real difference is that Butler had a better center and better outside shooting. And since you seem to take my comment as an insult how are we better than Butler was?
No one could have foreseen what McDonald would bring to the 2012-13 Buckeyes. This is a guy who wasn’t a heralded recruit and played in only 13 games last year. And, oh, by the way, he scored two points.
But that is all out the window now. Head coach Thad Matta has a knack for recruiting on potential and then further developing that into bona fide talent.In eight games, McDonald has already eclipsed all of his stats from last season and drawn applause from his coaches.
I'm all for cheering success but there's spin and there's spin. If all McDonald scored was 2 points a year ago I would hope he would eclipse that this year. In 54 minutes he's scored 8 points including 2 for 6 on FTs (!!) which is better than nothing but not anything a team is really going to cheer for. The reality is that though he has pulled down some boards he's getting time not so much because of what he's doing as what Ravenel and Williams are not doing, and Matta knows he needs to find some answers inside. He has yet to find an adequate compensation for Sullinger - who can't be replaced but needs to be substituted for.
As for recruiting and developing talent we'll see what happens this year. So far good enough. But in past years Matta develped confidence in almost no one coming off the bench. And while Smith has proved a good defender who plays within himself on the offensive end my sense is that relatively few Buckeyes who did not come in as superstars-in-waiting have turned into stars under Matta's guidance, Smith so far included.
Ross has had flashes. He is scoring as much as Smith while playing a lot less, but that he is scoring but playing less suggests that there is still too much down-side to his game. In past years Matta has been reluctant to use pre-cponference games to develop talent. If Ross doesn't start getting more minutes now based on Matta's tendencies in the past Q is going to see time when it matters only when Matta has no choice. And McDonald is going to see his PT cut below 9 min/game.
This team may win a lot of games and prove a tough out in March but it is more likely to be because Matta finds a rotation based on role players who work well together than because anyonel but a very few become bona-fide talents. This year's squad may have to be Butler.
I voted for The Ohio State Division and The Second Place Division.
Muschamp and Donovan? The football guy is new but jumped from 6-6 to 11-1 in the SEC in one year. I like our pair but don't consider it a lock that we have the best pair.
Troy Smith in the 2006 championship game against Florida. Though maybe most Buckeye fans have erased that from their memory.
About that horrific job by the AACC back-up. Hows about 4 of 14 for 35 yards though only one INT. So fewer INT. But it was a starting QB with a full year experience. And oh yeah, that QB contributed about minus 29 yards rushing. Ya'll know what I'm talking about. I'm just sayin'.
3-2 OSU. When we have the ball at our ten Miller runs to the endzone, throws the ball away and punches a PSU lineman in his vicinity for a safety.
Past performance is relevant only to the extent that coaches get in each others heads. This year's AACC team is not the one that lost the last four, and same for MSU. Last year was a learning year for AACC after the dark years of Dickrod, and this year, ND and AL notwithstanding, Meatchicken has the maize and blob executing at a high level, while the Spartans are a team in turmoil. I'm not surpsised by SCUM by 9.5, I'm shocked by those taking MSU to win.
I have HAMLET in Klingon. Is CAESAR available in Klingon too?
I was ready to describe PUR as the Hoosiers without a passing game, but in fact the Boilermakers score only three points/ game less than IN, meaning that they can put points on the board. They have struggled against the good defenses they have faced, but alas good defense is not the way to describe this year's Buckeye's team. Still, for no reason based in logic I think we will do to PUR what we did to MSU defensively, though were I sane I would see Danny Hope screening and crossing-pattern-ing us to death. And since PUR is not much better than IN defensively and Devin should not drop sure TDs this week I'll say we will score as we did against IN.
not because I'm trying to shave a point off of NW Buckeye (good call, NW) but because the Spartans scored 16.
The flip side of this optimism is that if our defense does not stop PUR we might have only one game left (IL) that we can win with a defense so weak.
You can fault Matta for not stopping him from trying to shoot himself out of that slump, I suppose, but that's what all shooters do (you better get ready for that from Deshaun Thomas at some point).
That's a cliche, and like all cliches it's right some times and wrong others. Thomas sat a lot his freshman year - when we also needed a bench - because Matta was not willing to let him shoot the team out of games. Buford was a shooter because he was allowed to be one. If the coach tells him: not on this team - he becomes a different type of player, sits or transfers. There is also the matter of missing good shots and missing bad shots. Buford took too many shots that should not have been taken, in a slump that lasted most of the year including the KS game, because why? because he was allowed to see himself as a "shooter."
There are guys who are just dreamers - no idea what it takes. Some are not coachable. Buford got better each year till his last one, suggesting that he was coachable. When a coachable kid's senior year falls flat and there is no obvious physical or take-one-for-the-team issue the coach likely has something to do with it. Matta could have expected WB's senior year to be his best, but fairly early on it was obvius that that was not happening (don't give me raw numbers, put those numbers into situations so they mean something). A coach who keeps waiting for the player himself to flip the switch is not coaching. Coahing is helping players find that switch.
Was Buford one of the 5 best players last year? How do we know? We do know that players off the bench struggled, but we don't know how they might have developed if they had gotten more PT early in the season. Matta neglected his bench when he had the schedule to develop it. We know that Smith was "not good enough" to get floor time his freshman year and the next season he's starting, because Matta was willing to give up some offense to get some defense. Maybe there were players last year who were good enough defensively that replacing Buford's volume shooting with another Smith-calibre stopper might have improved the team. Maybe we beat KS if instead of Buford's truckload of misses we'd played someone who didn't shoot at all. Giving up a few made baskets to also give up a big number of misses is generally a good trade.
Calling Buford one of the five best players on the team also misses a point. That might say more about players 6 through 10 than it does about Buford. It says nothing about how much better Buford might have become if he had been handled differrently. If he was good enough to star on the Buckeyes why is he looking like a not-drafted? What does that say about Matta's recruiting? Maybe nothing. But it is worth thinking about.
Also worth thinking about is why some fans think that good recoreds or the right uniforms put a player or coach beyond criticism.Celebrate Matta's strengths but don't make excuses for what was not done well. Calling me crazy is a cheap response to one's own reluctance to look criticially at what one idolizes. Maybe I'm wrong about how Matta handled Buford, but my position is not crazy.