The Minute After: Ohio State

  • 02/10/2010 9:09 pm in

Men and boys tonight, kids.

I know the Hoosiers haven’t played the Badgers or Spartans yet this season, but there’s been no other team that’s outclassed them like the Buckeyes this year.

OSU is just a well-oiled, highly-efficient machine. Tonight’s win was its eighth-straight conference victory; in their previous seven wins, the Buckeyes were shooting an insane 58 percent on 2’s. Their effective field-goal percentage is 56.7 percent — good for third in the nation.

Watching them tonight, it’s easy to see why their offense is so efficient: they take a ton of high-percentage shots around the rim, and just about everybody outside of Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale and Kyle Madsen can penetrate to the bucket for an easy two. They scored 40 of their 69 points in the paint tonight. The Buckeyes just have so much length and athleticism; it’s difficult to matchup against them because of it.

And that size and athleticism also helps them create easy buckets: steal and blocks — they had a healthy nine swats tonight — lead to fast breaks, which leads to easy 2’s. It certainly helped their cause that IU turned the ball over 14 times, which lead to 18 points.

What’s a little maddening on IU’s end is that they executed the gameplan in the first half: the Buckeyes don’t go that deep, so Tom Crean wanted to get into their bench. And when Evan Turner and P.J. Hill left with foul trouble, Ohio State went deeper into its bench than usual. Problem was, that bench outclassed the Hoosiers, too. By the end of the night, the Buckeyes posted 15 bench points, to the Hoosiers’ paltry three. And Madsen, off the bench, ended up with a career-high 11 points.

Yet, the Buckeyes weren’t really firing on all cylinders in that first half; they only shot 42.4 percent from the floor. Obviously, that’s still pretty good, but not quite up to their standards.

Credit IU for bouncing back after falling down 9-0, and getting it back to 18-17. But once there, the wheels came off for good, and they weren’t able to stick with the Buckeyes, who closed out the half on a 16-3 run the last 7:45 of the half, as IU didn’t score the last 6:09 of the frame. Against a team that’s as offensively-dominant as the Buckeyes, you just can’t go on such a scoring drought and expect to remain in the game.

And once the Buckeyes starting scoring better in the second half — 56.5 percent from the floor — the lights had officially gone out.

In these last two losses, IU has looked particularly lost in the half-court. Thier spacing is wrong at times; there’s a lot of hanging out around the perimeter until the last seconds of the shot clock start to tick. Watching how OSU worked in the half-court, it stuck out even more this evening.

With games looming against Wisconsin and Michigan State next, the Hoosiers better figure it out, or it’s only going to get worse.

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