Let’s face it. December has been a fairly boring month for Ohio State sports. With no bowl game to analyze, over analyze and to talk about some more, we find ourselves turning to Ohio State basketball. However, it’s hard to get excited when it takes a Google search just to decipher the school abbreviations that fill the December schedule (UMKC? NKU? LBSU?). Thankfully, the December glut is about to end as the Buckeyes face No. 9 Kansas followed by one more Google search and then it’s off to the Big Ten Season.
So Bring on Kansas!
Coming off a lackluster win over Winthrop, the Ohio State Buckeyes will test their No. 7 ranking for the first time since losing to Duke. After two losses to Kansas last season including the tournament ending semi-final game, the Buckeyes have got to be looking for revenge–especially Deshaun Thomas who was held to only 3 of 14 in the final four loss.
Since that game Thomas has turned into a scoring machine averaging 20.4 points per game. Inside, outside, doesn’t seem to matter where Thomas is coming from, he is finding the hoop. Although he’s not the only one putting double digits on the scoreboard, one look at the Duke game film and we can expect Kansas to do all they can to shut Thomas down. With the expected double, triple, whatever team facing Thomas the rest of the Buckeyes will need to be in top scoring form.
This especially rings true for Craft. Although he continues to excite and lead this team, since being held to 3 of 15 against Duke Craft has struggled in the scoring department. Craft needs to find his rhythm early in order to regain his shooting confidence. Defensively both he and Shannon Scott should be able to give the Jayhawks fits. Get both of them firing on the other side of the ball and it should be a big day for the Buckeyes.
Work the boards
The Buckeyes ability to work the offensive boards keeps even the most Google worthy games exciting. The need to control the offensive board will continue as Kansas’ Jeff Withey has been putting up insane blocking numbers stoning 54 attempts while only drawing 11 fouls. With an iron curtain like that standing in your way, do overs will be crucial.
Play Your Game
The Buckeyes play their best when the settle into their rhythm and play their game. Unlike the past two losses to Kansas last year, this game is at home and as we all know, the Buckeyes like playing at home. Let Thomas get a couple of big shots early, Craft be Craft and maybe throw in a huge Sam Thompson dunk or two and come Sunday the Buckeyes will be moving up the rankings.