First Thoughts - Savannah State

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Last updated: 12/12/2012 11:16 PM
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Men's Basketball
First Thoughts From Ohio State's 85-45 Win Over Savannah State
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — One of the three or four good things about blowout games like this is that we get a chance to see nearly everybody play, and play without too much pressure on them.

LaQuinton Ross
Photo by Jim Davidson
LaQuinton Ross

In this one, we got to see LaQuinton Ross continue to blossom and display a comfort level that his teammates likely get to see every day, but it's something that looked a world away nine months ago.

Over his last three games, Ross is averaging 17 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Yes, the competition has been lacking, but he's doing exactly what you want to see him do. He's giving effort in every phase of the game, and he's generally under control while he's doing it. There was even a point in the second half when he was creating open looks for Amadeo Della Valle, and doing it well.

Right now Ross is doing what he's always been able to do in high school and practice, but now the game has slowed down enough for him to do it in college. The big question, or rather the B1G question, is whether or not he will be able to keep it up during Big Ten play. If he does, then Shannon Scott might be in trouble in the Sixth Man of the Year competition.

Good Problems. I know you're asking it, so let's just go ahead and put it out there. With the way both Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott are playing at the moment, who is the better Buckeye point guard?

The answer? It doesn't matter.

Yes, Craft is struggling with his shot, and Scott is not, but Craft's shot will come around, and if it doesn't, then he'll simply shoot less.

I think he's just learning to play without Jared Sullinger, which is hindering his ability to finish. Sullinger did a tremendous job of leaving an open lane for Craft, and right now he's not getting that same lane from Evan Ravenel.

Give Craft some time, he's more than earned it.

Shannon Scott
Photo by Jim Davidson
Shannon Scott

And don't lament Scott's limited minutes, be glad that your backup point guard is good enough to start just about anywhere else. Be happy that when he enters the game, the intensity goes up, not down.

There is no breather for a defense when Scott comes in. That's a rare luxury. Don't let it get you down, especially since it's keeping the opponents' coaches up.

Thad Matta has a very good problem on his hands right now.

Being Proven Wrong. I've been saying for over a year now that Shannon Scott needed to work on his shooting, as was everyone else. But I'd be lying if I didn't think that he might end up being one of those point guards who is happy with simply relying on his speed and ability to get to the hole, rather than turning himself into a complete player.

So far, it looks like Scott is proving me wrong. He was 2-2 from three in this game and played with zero hesitation. His growing ability to catch and shoot is going to make him so much more dangerous as a creator and distributor.

From now on, I would like somebody (not me) to keep a running plus/minus for Scott so that we can measure his impact on games and see just how high of a level he is playing at right now.

Adequate, the New Normal. Buckeye fans have been spoiled at center for a while now. It's okay, it happens. Just don't let it ruin your appreciation for what Evan Ravenel can do. He's not an All-Big Ten player, but he is solid and can do quite a number of things for the Buckeyes.

He will have ups and downs this year, but he has ability, so he'll always be dangerous. He has a nice jumper, and has shown good basket awareness in the paint. He is an offensive threat when the Buckeyes need one, and he's not a black hole when they don't.

He may be a forgotten man on this team, but if a defense forgets about him, he can make them pay in a number of ways. He may never need to score 17 points on any particular night, but 10 or 11 can be just as effective given what is asked of him.

Poor Scouting. What was with Savannah State's defense on Deshaun Thomas in the first half? Thomas scored 21 points and much of it came via open jumpers. Did they not get the film? Do they not have cable? Internet? Didn't anybody pick up a Street & Smith's back in the summer?

Though apparently Thomas' first-half performance provided adequate scouting, because they held him to just one point in the second half.

Just imagine if they could play this game over again — they'd totally shut Thomas down.

Remember Me? Why does it seem to me that every time Lenzelle Smith scores, it feels like he is very emphatically announcing his presence.

"Oh, you forgot about me, did you?" [Bam! Sinks three.]

"Remember me? I just dropped another three on you!" [Drops another three on them.]

Except no opponent has actually forgotten about him, and they are completely aware of his presence and his ability to score.

"Yes, we are aware, you can shoot threes and drive and spin and whatnot. This is nothing new, please stop!"

Though maybe he wouldn't have to keep announcing his presence if he would just score consistently.

Much Too Sloppy. Despite all of the different aspects and weapons that this offense may possess, for a team with essentially three point guards, having 20 turnovers in a game is way too many, especially against a team that is completely fine with slowing things down.

At times it felt like the Buckeyes forced things because they didn't have enough patience. Against Savannah State, that won't be a problem. Against Michigan State, it will be.

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