The big knock on Ohio State to start off the NCAA basketball season was their inability to score. While they have arguably the stingiest defense in college basketball, their offense has lacked big-play ability and scorers. Recently, however, a few names have risen as being capable of leading the Buckeyes on offense.
While Aaron Craft is the overall leader, LaQuinton Ross, Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Amir Williams are all becoming key players for the Buckeyes on offense. In their most recent matchup with Central Connecticut State, all three of the above mentioned players scored in double-figures with Ross leading the team with 23 points.
In the past three games, Ross scored at least 17 points including Saturday afternoon’s 23-point effort. For Smith, he’s scored in double-figures in the past four games including a 20-point performance against Wyoming and a 17-point performance Saturday. For the big man in the paint, Williams, he’s dropped at least 10 points in five of eight games this season including an 18-point game against North Florida.
If Ohio State wants to run the table in a Big Ten Conference that is always tough defensively, then these three players will need to continue their recent offensive success. They currently sit eighth in the Big Ten in scoring offense, but rank first in scoring defense. Defensively, they’ve been tough, but now their scorers are beginning to make themselves known and that will only make them tougher to beat.
What will make Ohio State even more effective offensively is the variety of players that are stepping up. Williams is the team’s center, Ross is a perimeter forward that can hit the open jumper and Smith is a shifty guard that can create his own opportunities. They have a variety of scorers that can score in a variety of different ways. That will make them even tougher to defend as the season wears on.
While Ohio State may not possess the NCAA’s most prolific offense, they aren’t a team to be taken lightly. They are starting to find their playmakers and their identity as a team and that will make them more dangerous when we turn the calendar to 2014 and begin the meat of their conference schedule.