#3 Ohio St: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #3
Conference Rank: #2 Big Ten Conference
2009-10: 29-8, 14-4
2009-10 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Thad Matta (156-54 at Ohio State, 258-85 overall)
It is not possible to replace point forward Evan Turner. During his last season with Ohio State, the 6-7 guard averaged an amazing 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.7 steals. Nobody could stop him and there was enough talent around him to make it very difficult to double team him. The Buckeyes will make due without Turner and what is left behind is a very good group of players that are ready to take the spotlight.
Key Losses: G P.J. Hill, C Kyle Madsen, G Jeremie Simmons, G Evan Turner
The newcomers, dubbed quite dubiously the ‘Thad Six’ will need to make an impact right away. In the frontcourt Jared Sullinger should step right into a starting role and power forwards Deshaun Thomas and J.D. Weatherspoon will need to provide some quality depth. Thomas is a little undersized at 6-6 to play the four spot, but he is extremely tough on the glass and has a knack for scoring. Weatherspoon is a superb athlete and not as much of a bruiser as Thomas, but he may need some time to develop his game. The new guys on the perimeter will need to provide almost all of the depth. Jordan Sibert is the most talented scorer of the bunch, but Lenzelle Smith is a pretty good shooter who can make a splash off the bench. Aaron Craft will battle for the starting point guard job, but that may be asking too much from a freshman.
William Buford, Jon Diebler and David Lighty can all run the point. It turned out Turner was the best option last season, but if those three can share the ball handling duties, they should be fine. If needed, Craft can step right into the lineup and OSU can play a little smaller. Buford is the most dynamic scorer and ranked second to only Turner in points, rebounds and assists last season. The 6-5 junior takes care of the ball and is the most likely candidate to handle the ball a majority of the time. Diebler is the shooter of the bunch and knocked down an amazing 42.0 percent of his 7.5 attempts from beyond the arc. Lighty has struggled with some injuries, but when healthy he is a great wing who can score in a variety of ways and help out on the glass. His ability to handle the ball will give the Buckeyes a whole lot of versatility in the backcourt.
Dallas Lauderdale was the lone big man last season, but with a bunch of guards that are at least 6-5, it made his life easier. Lauderdale is not a great scorer, but he made the most of his attempts by connecting on 77.3 percent of his shot attempts. Having so many other weapons around him usually meant Lauderdale just had to catch the ball and dunk it. Yet, having an interior scoring threat did open up the offense enough for the shooters to knock down plenty of long balls. More important than his scoring is Lauderdale’s ability to hit the glass and block shots. Lauderdale will not be the best rebounder in the Big Ten, but he is capable and his 2.1 blocks per game made OSU tough to score against.
Who to Watch:
Sullinger may be the key to this team. The younger, yet taller and more talented brother of former OSU great J.J., the 6-9, 280 pound freshman should give the Buckeyes a legitimate scoring threat in the paint and a tough rebounder under the basket. If Lauderdale and Sullinger are both in the starting lineup, OSU will be a much better rebounding team and could even shoot better than 49.2 percent from the floor as a team…and that was fifth best in the nation. Sullinger is a shooter and a passer as well, which will allow Lauderdale to stay in the lineup and do the dirty work while Sullinger is roaming around and doing the scoring.
The lack of depth last year may have been a problem by March. This team had to survive for six games without Turner and it became clear that there was a big drop off in talent after the starting five. The story may be the same this year if the freshmen, outside of Sullinger, are not ready to make a major contribution. Bufford, Diebler and Lighty all averaged at least 34 minutes per game last year and giving them a break every once in a while would be beneficial as long as there is somebody who can fill their minutes effectively.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
William Buford, Junior, Guard, 14.4 ppg
Jon Diebler, Senior, Guard, 13.0 ppg
David Lighty, Senior, Forward, 12.6 ppg
Dallas Lauderdale, Senior, Forward, 6.5 ppg
Jared Sullinger, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Next Top 144 Teams