2009-2010 Ohio State Buckeyes Basketball Preview
Last season, the Ohio State Buckeyes (22- 11 overall, 10- 8 Big Ten) finished fifth in the conference and earned an invite to the Big Dance after going to the NIT the year before and making it to the NCAA Championship game in 2007. They were eliminated last year in the first round by Siena 74- 72. Still, getting back to the premier tournament showed that the Buckeyes, who are coached by Thad Matta, are a team on the rise.
From the field, they were number one in the conference, hitting 48% of their shots. They also connected on 38% (2nd) of their three-point attempts. Their 70% hit rate on free throws was seventh in the Big Ten. The scoring offense was good for 66.8 PPG (5th) and scoring defense allowed 62.0 PPG (7th). The ninth ranked rebounding margin came in at minus-1.4. That stat may still be an issue.
Junior Evan Turner (17.3 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.0 APG) is a versatile and explosive player who can play either forward position or guard. Turner, a true go-to player, could be an All-American. Power forward David Lightly (9.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.9 APG) may be undersized but he can command the space and make plays. Forward/center Dallas Lauderdale (4.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 0.2 APG), who has good defensive chops, must develop his moves and stamina. There’s decent depth coming off the bench.
Point guard P.J. Hill (3.2 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 1.7 APG) has hustle and the ability to make big plays. The truth is that the Buckeyes have a hole at the point and Hill may or may not be the man to fill it. As mentioned earlier, Turner can play guard, but that leaves a hole in the frontcourt. Other guys who can hit from outside include sophomore William Buford (11.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.1 APG) and junior Jon Diebler (11.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.5 APG).
This is a team that’s tough to figure out. The Buckeyes are lacking at the point and need a solid scorer in the frontcourt. But that could be a moot point if Turner has the All-American year of which he’s capable. Ohio State will certainly be competitive in the conference and for a second straight season will go to the Big Dance. But with two big question marks and Turner being only one player, this team looks destined to be out early.