Can you feel it!!? No, I’m not talking about the new cold winter weather, I’m talking about local heart throb, Aaron Craft, throwing up an alley-oop for Sam (Slam) Thompson to slam down on cowering opposing defenses. That’s right, Ohio State basketball returns to the hardwood floor tonight at 8 pm against the Ohio University Bobcats on the Big Ten Network. In fact, if you’re reading this on November 12, then you are in the midst of a college basketball marathon that started yesterday and goes through today, culminating with the 1 vs 2 marquee match up when the freshmen phenoms of The Kentucky Wildcats take on the grizzled veterans of The Michigan State Spartans at 7:30 in Chicago, and broadcast by ESPN. However, let’s focus on our hometown dribblers for the time being.
Last year The Buckeyes made a nice NCAA tournament run, ending in a loss in the Elite 8 to Wichita State. The loss of Deshaun Thomas to the NBA/Europe is going to hurt this team, as he was the most viable scoring option on the squad, however this team has some great veteran leadership that might help them make a surprisingly deep run in the tournament this year.
The 2013-14 Ohio State squad is lead by seniors Aaron Craft, and Lenzelle Smith. To go along with the seniors they will also see production from juniors, Shannon Scott, LaQuinton Ross, Sam Thompson, Amir Williams and Trey McDonald. With a total of 7 upperclassmen, this teams leadership has to be a strength if they want to make a run this year.
The most glaring question this year is where the production is going to come from to replace Deshaun Thomas’ scoring prowess. Most look to LaQuinton Ross as the next offensive weapon, however I’m of the opinion that Amir Williams is finally going to realize his potential, shed his “foot-hands,” and become a weapon in the post. In addition, I’ve been hearing great things about freshman Marc Loving, especially with him buying in and doing the dirty work to get playing time.
This is sure to be an interesting year with all the veteran leadership, but also the need for an offensive identity. This is going to be a fast team that can run the floor, but, in typical Thad Matta fashion, they will be defined by their defensive prowess, which will rely heavily on Shannon Scott, and Aaron Craft withtheir backcourt defense, and Amir Williams and Trey McDonald altering shots in the paint.
Notable games tonight:
1. Ohio University vs. Ohio State; 8:00 BTN
2. Michigan State vs. Kentucky; 7:30 ESPN
3. Kansas vs. Duke; 9:30 ESPN
4. Florida vs. Wisconsin; 9:00 ESPN2
5. VCU vs. Virginia; 7:00 ESPN2
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