The Ohio State Buckeyes will be looking to starting the season 13-0 and finish with a perfect non-conference record this Friday evening against the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe. With the Big Ten schedule right around the corner, this could become a trap game for the Buckeyes.
College basketball is far different from college football in that the “little guy” can really beat the “big guy” on any given night. Basketball is a game of momentum and flow that changes with each passing second. If a team enters a game sleeping on their opponent it could really hurt them. ULM is a team good enough to take advantage of Ohio State if they get caught looking ahead.
Through their first 12 games, something that is becoming a trend for the Buckeyes is their slow start. While they have been tied or leading at the half in all of their contests, it’s been primarily due to late scoring runs in the first half. They have allowed teams to stay close, and when you do that eventually one of those teams is going to surprise you.
ULM is led by senior guard Amos Olatayo who averages just over 17 points and six rebounds per game. In the front court, that’s where the Buckeyes could get hurt the most. Forwards Tylor Ongwae and Jayon James average double-figures with James averaging nearly eight rebounds and Ongwae averaging a block a game. With Aaron Craft guarding Olatayo, you can bet he’ll be on lock down. However, Ongwae and James will be the two keys for the Buckeyes in making sure they can’t get upset at home.
LaQuinton Ross, Sam Thomspon and Amir Williams will have their work cut out for them. It’ll be up to them to hold it down in the front court and ensure that Ongwae and James don’t take over. For Lenzelle Smith Jr., he’ll need to continue his scoring run. He leads the team in scoring with 13.1 per game, but his inability to score against Notre Dame almost cost them the game. He’ll need to find his stroke early on.
ULM is a team that Ohio State shouldn’t have a problem with. However, the Buckeyes haven’t played a tough schedule this season, and with Big Ten play just around corner it’s easy to overlook lesser opponents. Friday night’s matchup with ULM could give OSU a scare.