Five Things We Learned in an Ugly Loss at Minnesota
By John Porentas
1) Turnovers weren't the only problem with the OSU offense. Turnovers may have cost the Buckeyes against both MSU and Iowa, but they had a respectable 13 against Minnesota and still lost decisively. Now nobody can score except LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson. Those two combined to score 12 of OSU's 18 field goals. The other six players who played managed to add just six more. Eighteen field goals in a game is terrible, but six field goals from six players, four of whom were starters, is almost unheard of, especially when you consider that Lenzelle Smith made three of those six. Only Ross and Thompson shot over 50 percent. Smith was 3 for nine.
2) Defense alone will not win games. We probably already knew that, but this is the first game where that fact was on display. OSU's defense was actually pretty good, but their offense stunk (see #1 above) and they got absolutely crushed on boards to the tune of 39-24. To be fair, the Gophers had more defensive rebounding opportunities with all the missed OSU shots.
3) Aaron Craft is beginning to be a mystery. There is no questioning Craft's hustle and defense and I don't think anybody ever expected him to be a huge scoring threat, but his recent rash of turnovers is quite puzzling. Thad Matta put some of that off on his teammates, saying they are sometimes not in the places they are supposed to be thus forcing Craft to make difficult or ill-advised passes. Maybe, but it's really hard to think that is the entire problem. It's almost like he's pressing trying to ignite the offense and in the process hurting it by turning the ball over.
4) The Buckeyes aren't going to win a Big Ten regular season championship. It looked like there was a glimmer of hope when Wisconsin lost to Indiana last week, but it's really pretty unlikely now with three losses so early in the season. That doesn't mean there's nothing to play for. There's the Big Ten tournament as well as the NCAA tournament. The rest of the regular season will be focused on winning games for tournament seeding and to fix what's wrong on this team.
5) The Buckeyes are getting too little offense from the point guard position. This is particularly troubling since the Buckeyes are starting two point guards, Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott. You can't question either of those players on the defensive end, but a basketball team has to play at both ends of the floor, and the point guard position just isn't producing much offense. Case in point, against Minnesota Craft and Scott combined for eight points and had nine turnovers against just five assists. The lack of scoring is bad enough, but an assist to turnover ratio of .55 is not exactly what you are hoping for out of the point guard position.
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