5 Burning Questions for Ohio State Buckeyes Basketball
5 Biggest Questions for the Ohio State Buckeyes
After a disappointing loss to the Wichita State Shockers in the Elite 8 of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, the Ohio State Buckeyes are looking towards the Final Four and even a national title in the 2013-14 season.
They have the potential to do so, though the Buckeyes’ leading scorer last season, Deshaun Thomas, left after his junior year to go to the NBA. He averaged over 19 points per game. The Buckeyes will be great if they can find someone to step up and fill in the scoring void he left. It will be difficult but the Buckeyes have a few different players who they hope can help fill that void.
Aaron Craft is one of those players. Believe it or not, Craft was the second-leading scorer for the Buckeyes last season behind Thomas. He has the ability to score more, though he already has a lot of responsibility for the Buckeyes both on the offensive and defensive sides. This is his senior season and it has the potential to be his best season ever.
Coach Thad Matta would like for Lenzelle Smith Jr. and LaQuinton Ross to step up and take more of the offensive load. This means that he expects them to help fill that scoring void left by Thomas. They both have the ability to do it. They were the third and fourth-leading scorers last season behind Thomas and Craft. They both can be great scorers if given more opportunities, and that looks like what they will get this season.
Ohio State’s season starts on November 9 in Columbus against the Morgan State Bears. I’m excited for the college basketball season to start. I’m curious to see what the Buckeyes have in store for us this season.
Keep reading to find out what I think are the five biggest questions for the Buckeyes going into the 2013-14 season.
5. Can Aaron Craft Continue to Exceed Expectations?
Ohio State fans sure hope so. He hasn’t disappointed yet, and with this being his senior season, expectations are higher than ever. Craft is the best perimeter defender in the country. He is so good that he earned a spot in coach Matta’s starting lineup as a freshman. Will he have the best season of his career? Will he continue to be a great defender and step up and be more of a scorer as well? Craft is a vital part of the Ohio State lineup who could lead the Buckeyes to a national title with his defensive abilities and potentially great scoring abilities. He also does a great job of controlling the tempo of the game. Craft is a great all-around player and there is a good chance he could make his senior season his best one yet. What would the Buckeyes do without him?
4. Who Will be Their Go-to Three-Point Shooter(s)?
It could be any number of players. Last season the Buckeyes had a few players that made around 35-40 percent of their three-point attempts. All of them are returning for the Buckeyes except for Thomas. Smith Jr, Ross, Sam Thompson, and Amodeo Della Valle were the most efficient last season when it came to three-pointers, though Della Valle only played 15 games and the rest played 37 games. Thompson was the most efficient, as he made about 40 percent of his three-point attempts. Shannon Scott could also be put in this category, making about 33 percent of his three-point attempts. It could be any one of them that could step up and make those threes, but it would be better having multiple efficient three-point shooters. This would be a great advantage for the Buckeyes.
3. Who Will Take Over Where Deshaun Thomas Left Off?
In other words, who can fill his shoes? Junior forward Thomas went off to the NBA, leaving a void that will be difficult to fill for Ohio State. Last season, he was the team leader in points scored per game with 19.8 and was one of the most efficient three-point shooters. He also led the team in rebounds with 6.2 per game. Thomas will be hard to replace. The Buckeyes need someone to step up and score like Thomas did. Otherwise they could be in trouble.
2. Who Can Step Up and Score?
Yes, this could be considered one in the same with the previous question, but it’s an important one that the Buckeyes need to address. They may need multiple players who can step up and score in order to fill the void that Thomas left. Craft is a capable scorer but already has a lot of responsibility on both sides of the ball. Someone else needs to step up. The Buckeyes are looking for Smith Jr and Ross to take more of the offensive load. They are both capable of doing so. Both could be great scorers like Thomas if given the opportunity.
1. Are They Good Enough to Compete for the Big 10 and National Titles?
Definitely. Even without Thomas, the Buckeyes should be in good shape, though they will need someone who can step up and score the way Thomas did. They have a tough defense led by Craft, who can be more of a scorer but already has a lot on his shoulders with leading the defense and controlling the tempo of the game.
If they can get these questions answered, then they will be unstoppable.