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tBBC 2nd Thoughts: Northwestern

Discussion in 'News' started by Ken, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. Ken

    Ken Guest

    2nd Thoughts: Northwestern
    via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
    Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here

    (Thad is happy with OSU’s 2nd half effort)

    The Northwestern game was a “tale of two cities”. The 1st half was frustrating to follow, with Ohio State being out shot and out rebounded in the first twenty minutes. Aside from Tate/Loving (6-12, 16 points, 8 rebounds) in 36 minutes, the Ohio State effort was soft, if not flaccid. Their team mates contributed 10 points (4-16) and 7 rebounds. Thad didn’t get much from 2/3rd’s of his floor time. If it weren’t for Northwestern’s proclivity to turn the ball over (8) the 1st half would have been substantially worse for Ohio State than the actual 33-27 deficit.

    This was interesting, to me, because it shows that with a young, malleable team, there will be stretches of eye-watering play, followed by stretches of impressive, inspired play. I know that, rightfully so, Urban Meyer & Co. are applauded for their ability to make halftime adjustments, but I think that, particularly, Thad Matta has no equal with his halftime work.

    Viewing Experience

    This game had some interesting statistics. For example:

    • Rebounds-NU 38,OSU 35. Despite being pounded in the 1st half (25-15), the Buckeyes turned the tables in the 2nd half.
    • Points off turnovers-OSU 18,NU 10. Ohio State’s improved ball handling kept them in the game in the 1st half and provided, arguably, the winning margin.
    • Three point shooting- NU 12-27, OSU 6-18. Half of Northwestern’s FG attempts were from long range. They challenged and exposed OSU’s perimeter defense, but…
    • Free Throw Attempts- OSU 19-23, NU 9-12. The Buckeyes significantly outperformed the Wildcats at the free throw line. The difference in fouls called (OSU 13, UN 23) is no accident. If your offense is based upon jacking up long range jump shots, like Northwestern, you’re not going to draw fouls.

    One closing comment to the free throw discrepancy. Ohio State’s centers (Thompson/Giddens) have shown an eagerness to commit fouls. The fact that Northwestern chose not to exploit that by utilizing more of an “inside” offense was a tactical error on the Wildcats’ part and kept Thompson, in particular, on the floor in the 2nd half. Much to Northwestern’s chagrin.

    The Thad Matta Factor

    I think that Thad’s “shuffle the lineup” approach may have had the psychological impact on Thompson / Lyle. They combined for 28 points and 15 rebounds. The only “chess move” that Thad made that didn’t work was Kam Williams’ laying time. Kam was 0-6 from the field, but went 2-2 from the free throw line in the critical less-than-three-minutes to go stretch that gave OSU some breathing room at 61-56.

    There are 6 games remaining in the regular season. For Thad to get to another 20-win season, the Buckeyes have to win at least 5 of these games. However, 5 of these games are against Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa.

    A 20-win season isn’t happening this year. Hopefully, the Buckeyes prove me wrong.

    The Three Magi:

    The “senior statesmen” of Marc Loving, Kieta Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate had a much better game against Northwestern. They combined for 36 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 fouls and 3 turnovers in 93 minutes of game time. This is the type of “step-up” that Thad needs for the younger players to coalescence around to continue to improve the program this season.

    Jae’Sean Tate clearly played inspired ball. He played steady throughout the game, especially when Thad needed him. Despite the Buckeyes getting killed on the boards in the 1st half, Tate had a team leading 6 rebounds and punctuated the half with a bank shot at the buzzer to pull OSU within 7 points.

    Marc Loving got out of the gates quickly with 10 points and 2 rebounds in the first half. His 2nd half production (5 points, 0 rebounds) fell off quite a bit, but Marc provided the 1st half lift until his team mates came ‘online’ in the 2nd half. All in all, a good effort when the team needed him.

    Meanwhile, Kieta Bates-Diop was pretty ineffective in the first half (2 points, 2 rebounds) action. The 2nd half was a different story, as KBD scored 9 points and grabbed 6 rebounds to buttress the 2nd half efforts of Thompson and Lyle.

    Lineup Mix-n-Match:

    Thad went back to his original lineup of ‘Tate / Loving / Bates-Diop / Thompson / Lyle. This worked out for the starters, since they all scored in double figures. Thad shortened his bench quite a bit, with the five starters averaging 31 minutes. The only other player who saw more than 9 minutes was Kam Williams, who logged 27 minutes. This was a very short bench.

    Ball Control:

    The Buckeyes had a very good ball-handling game. They committed only 5 turnovers while Northwestern committed 14. Despite being slightly out-rebounded (38-34), the Buckeyes made up for that deficiency by being more efficient with their possessions.

    Ohio State achieved an 18-10 edge in “points off turnovers, (POT)”. Despite being embarrassed in 1st half rebounding, Ohio State’s better ball security kept them in the game, and the POT happens to match Ohio State’s winning margin.

    Interior play, Center(s) of Attention:

    Thad reverted back to Trevor Thompson as his starter at Center. The first half was unexceptional with Trevor not doing too much with 2 points and 3 rebounds. However, Trevor rebounded, so to speak, with 10 points and 6 rebounds in the 2nd half.

    Meanwhile, Daniel Giddens was a non-factor, other than providing Trevor Thompson with some rest. Daniel, in 9 minutes, had more fouls (3) than points (2). He was rebound-less. But, I do want to acknowledge that Daniel’s 2nd half 2-2 free throws at the 9:24 mark was a critical part of an OSU run to pull them within 1 point.

    David Bell did not see any action.

    Up Next…

    The Buckeyes (15-10, 7-5) visit Rutgers (16-8, 4-7) on Saturday, February 13th. Tip off is scheduled for 4:00 PM ET. The Buckeyes took care of Rutgers 94-68 in Columbus 94-68 on January 13th.

    The post 2nd Thoughts: Northwestern appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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