Five Things We Learned in an Ugly Win Over American
By John Porentas
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeyes got by American, but left a few questions in doing it. They also showed some positive things too.
1) The Buckeyes are very capable of having a bad shooting game. Before the season the Buckeyes and their coaches talked about how much they had emphasized shooting and offense over the off-season and in preseason practice sessions. If all you looked at was the American game you'd have to say they wasted their time. The Buckeyes missed shots in close, from medium range, and from three point range. In short, they were equal opportunity missers. As a team they shot 35 percent, which is poor but not totally horrible. If you take Shannon Scott (5-10) and Amir Williams (6-9) out of the equation, the rest of the Buckeyes shot 24.3 percent, and that's not good. If that turns out to be the norm, it could be a long season. That isn't very likely however. Too many of the poor shooters against American have shown much better shooting in the past, but at the very least, the potential for this kind of poor shooting night is going to be very real every game this season.
2) The light has gone on for both Shannon Scott and Amir Williams. We've been touting both Williams and Scott for a while, but I think it's pretty clear now that both are very much improved players. Scott is better than he was last year, and Williams is a lot better than he was last year. They carried the Buckeyes both offensively and defensively against American. When some of the other players on the roster start clicking, this could be a very good Buckeye team.
3) The Princeton offense affects teams both defensively and offensively. American ran its Princeton offense well at times, well enough to be rewarded with backdoor cuts that resulted in easy baskets. Thad Matta noted, however, that it also had an impact on the OSU offense. Matta said that American worked their offense deep into the shot clock forcing the Buckeyes to play long stretches of defense. According to Matta, the Buckeyes are not used to that, and when the Buckeyes finally did get the ball back, they were antsy and sloppy with the basketball. The Buckeyes will see the same kind of philosophy from teams like Wisconsin, so when it comes to discipline and attitude, they have some work to do.
4) LaQuinton Ross is officially in a funk. After his strong finish last season there was some speculation that Ross might even declare for the NBA. Right now he's having trouble coping with the NCAA, let alone the NBA. Ross has gotten off to a dismal start offensively, and his minutes are already beginning to erode in favor of freshman Marc Loving. He's pressing and making bad decisions, and that won't sit well with Thad Matta. Not only are his shots not falling, but he's taking ill-advised attempts that result in blocked shots. Ross needs to rediscover the court savvy he showed last season or he may end up being more spectator than contributor this year.
5) The sky is not falling. It was a rough outing on offense against American, but the bottom line is that the Buckeyes won. They had a crappy shooting night, but there are too many proven shooters to panic yet. Bad shooting nights happen to almost all teams from time to time. It's too early to call this a bad shooting team. That being said, they have to do better, and soon, or the season will be painful.
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