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tBBC 2nd Thoughts: Michigan


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


(Thad’ guys had ’em all the way Or at least when it counted.)

The Buckeyes (17-10, 9-5) took a significant step toward The Twenty Win Season with a very satisfying 76-66 win over Michigan on Tuesday. The win was especially satisfying to me since I golf with UM’s coach John Beilein’s brother-in-law. I won’t have to listen to his nonsense all summer.

Viewing Experience

Aside from ESPN’s atrocious camera angles, this was a good experience. This game had some interesting statistics. For example:

  • Rebounds-UM 34,OSU 31. I’m not going to get worked up over this too much. However, UM grabbed 10 offensive rebounds to OSU’s 3. That is some piss-poor effort by OSU. That also helps explain why UM took 9 more shots and outscored OSU 11-3 in “2nd chance points.
  • Better Ball Handling – OSU 14 Assists 9 Turnovers. Ohio State withstood UM zone-trap pressure in the 2nd half by committing only 4 turnovers. In fact, they beat the pressure by recording 9 assists. Cool heads and brisk ball movement prevailed.
  • Live By The Three. Ohio State must have anticipated their perimeter defense would get challenged. UM is 6th in the nation with 40% of their total points coming from 3-point shots on 39.7% accuracy (12th in nation). Forty-five percent of their FG attempts are 3-pointers.
  • Die By The Three. Against Ohio State, UM did have 40% of their FG attempts as 3’s. However, their accuracy was only 21% and 3-pointers accounted for only 23% of their point total. The Buckeyes applied decent perimeter pressure; 3 of OSU’s 4 blocked shots were by Guards.

The Thad Matta Factor

I think that Thad’s teaching is starting to sink in with this group. Maybe they wanted to do well in front of Evan Turner, and Jared Sullinger. Whatever it was, it worked. The Buckeyes jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead. At the 12:07 mark a 3-pointer by UM’s Duncan Robinson gave UM a 12-10 lead. A minute later Kieta Bates-Diop tied the game. A minute after that, a 3-pointer by A.J. Harris gave Ohio State the lead. That was it. From the midpoint of the 1st half, despite UM’s defensive pressure, the Buckeyes held the lead for the balance of the game.

There are 4 games remaining in the regular season. For Thad to get to another 20-win season, the Buckeyes have to win at least 3 of these games. However, 3 of these games are against Michigan State (2) and Iowa. They just can’t take Nebraska for granted.

Pending a favorable B1G seed, a 20-win season isn’t happening may happen this year. Michigan State is always a concern, but Iowa is starting to show vulnerability, so who knows?

The Three Magi:

The Evan Turner Tribute must have been an inspiration to Marc Loving since he led the team with a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds). He also contributed 5 assists. This was a much better game for Marc, and it came when it was needed.

Kieta Bates-Diop had a decent enough line score; he tallied 6 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. He shot rarely and poorly against UM, but KBD did just enough of the other “stuff” to have a positive impact on the game.

Jae’Sean Tate was an efficient 6-10 from the field, and 1-1 from the foul line. He did grab 4 rebounds before fouling out. I think part of the issue was UM’s emphasis on the perimeter game, which may have pulled JST away from the paint and forcedg him to guard in space.

Lineup Mix-n-Match:

Thad’s Center rotation (see below) seemed to work out decently enough with Thompson/Giddens both seeing extended floor time and provided efficient shooting. Giddens did pull in 4 rebounds, which is always helpful.

Thad had continued success with his guard rotation. Starter JaQuan Lyle was so-so with ball handling and poor with his shooting, but he did redeem himself with a 7-9 showing at the free throw line. JaQuan made 6-8 in the 2nd half to help stave off UM runs. Lyle also came up big defensively with 2 blocks in the last 1:30 of the game.

Kam Williams (4-7 FG, 2-2 FT) scored 10 points to provide energy (and points) off the bench. Kam even blocked a shot.

A.J. Harris hit two 3-pointers in the 1st half and did not turn the ball over in his 12 minutes of play.

Ball Control:

The Buckeyes had 9 turnovers, about half what they had against Rutgers. Kieta Bates-Diop derped the ball around for 3 turnovers. JaQaun Lyle also had 3 turnovers, but the young guard was facing frequent half-court pressure in the 2nd half. Since JaQuan tends to be turnover prone, I thought he showed some composure under pressure. This may have been a step forward for him.

Ohio State lost the “points off turnovers” battle 19-12. Since both teams had 9 turnovers, UM clearly made better use of their opportunities than OSU did. It’s one thing to lose possessions, it’s quite another to give up points while doing so.

Interior play, Center(s) of Attention:

Trevor Thompson again started at Center. He had a solid game with 12 points in 23 minutes. However, he had only 1 rebound and no blocked shots.

Daniel Giddens had 2 points and 3 rebounds in 15 minutes. On the minus side, he did have 4 turnovers.

David Bell did not see anything meaningful.

The ball handling (1 turnover/1 assist) improved and the offensive efficiency was stellar. Thompson/Giddens combined for 16 points on 8-9 shooting. Interestingly, neither Trevor nor Daniel took a free throw, which in Daniel’s case, may be a good thing, a 38% FT shooter…

Ohio State benefited from UM being a guard-centric team. As mentioned earlier, UM is perimeter focused and takes a lot of 3-point shots. This helped OSU’s foul prone centers by keeping the on-ball action away from them.

Up Next…

The Buckeyes (17-10, 9-5) travel to Nebraska (14-13, 6-8) for a Saturday evening game. Tip off is scheduled for 7:00 PM ET. You can catch the game on BTN, 97.1 or Gametracker. The Cornhuskers fell to Indiana 80-64 on Wednesday.

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

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