5 Things I Would Do If I Was Thad Matta And Game Notes From Mount St Mary’s and Grambling St.

The Buckeyes breezed by some weak competition this week beating Mount St. Mary’s 76-54 and Grambling State 82-55. While we still have some cupcakes to go before we get into the meat of the schedule, I’d like to offer Thad Matta some advice on how to run his basketball team because my lack of coaching experience gives me the right to make irresponsible conclusions about what decisions would be the best for the team.

  • Play zone.

Last year, Matta played all zone against a weak out-of-conference schedule, but almost immediately reverted to man-to-man defense in conference play. Now we’re playing man-to-man exclusively, but I think it would be wise to switch it up now and then especially when KBD is on the bench. College teams are so over-coached that you can usually force a timeout just by switching to a zone and getting one stop. Plus, some fans are concerned about how we can guard quick perimeter players. I’m not too concerned about that, but if we run into a few exceptionally quick guards, a zone would be a good counter.

  • Push the tempo.

Right now we’re playing at a slightly higher pace compared to last year (70.3 possessions per game vs. 68.0), but so is everyone else. We rank 264th in possessions per game which means we’re playing slower than a lot of teams. I think we have good playmakers and our starting lineup has 4 players who can run the break. I think we would get a lot of easy looks if we played a little more like Indiana and ran the break after every miss.

  • Change up our offensive sets.

I like our offensive sets, but they’re getting a bit stale. I’m not suggesting we start changing things now, but we should freshen things up against conference opponents. Big Ten coaches have been scouting our sets for years. Showing them a new look once and awhile will at least keep them on them guessing.

  • Play 2 of Tate, Loving, or KBD at all times.

It looks like Matta will do this barring an inevitable blowout or foul trouble which is good because, outside of these 3, Lyle is the only one who can create his own shot.

  • Play Harris and Lyle together.

Has this combination been on the floor together yet? It seems like Harris usually subs in when Lyle comes out, but I don’t think I’ve seen them stay on at the same time. I think this tandem gives us the ability to easily push the ball in transition. Also, I’m curious to see if working Harris off the ball with Lyle running the offense would give Harris some opportunities to attack. Harris looked more confident against Grambling St., but Grambling is really bad and he did most of his scoring in transition.

JaQuan Lyle scoring against Mount St Marys.jpg

 

Notes from Mount St Mary’s:

  • Giddens was better than Thompson, but bad in PNR defense.

Giddens just played his role better than Thompson against Mount St. Mary’s. We need our center to rebound, defend the paint, and dunk. Giddens did those things well. He was a mess when his man set a screen, though and will have to improve in that area.

  • Marc going after offensive rebounds?!!?

Wait? I thought Marc was too lazy to rebound? That’s so crazy that he’s our leading offensive rebounder and 2nd in total rebounds then, right? “Let’s see if he can keep it up against real teams” is the standard mantra. Marc is hitting the boards hard and I think he’ll continue to do so – even against bigger and stronger teams.

  • Tate shooting 3s?!?

Wait? I thought Tate couldn’t shoot from outside? Well, as I predicted, he can and he will. He won’t shoot nearly as well as he did these past 2 games, but he has a good-looking stroke and will continue to shoot well enough to make teams respect his shot.

  • Concern: aimless drives.

We are turning the ball over way too much. Many of these are because Marc and KDB are driving and spinning right into help defenders. They need to have a plan of attack and read the defense quicker to avoid these mistakes.

  • Love: Lyle’s passing

Lyle is an outstanding passer. Not quite as great as Russell, but not too far off.

  • The student announcers were better.

I thought the student announcers for the Walsh game were fantastic. They were well-informed and enthusiastic. The announcers for the Mount St. Mary’s game were clueless. It was obvious that they’re preseason scouting of Ohio State was minimal.

Trevor Thompson dunks vs Grambling St.jpg

Notes from Grambling St.

  • Grambling’s defense was atrocious, but offense had interesting sets.

Grambling was awful and their coach sucks. They were so underprepared, especially on defense where we ran the same offensive sets we always do, but they played defense like they had never seen it before. I did like what they showed on offense, though. They had some interesting plays.

  • Thompson vs. Giddens.

The battle for the center position rages on! Thompson played much better, but he should post up less. He scored on one post up, but it’s never going to be an efficient part of our offense and he should save it for rare occasions.

Giddens was much better in post up defense where Thompson struggled, but the race is tight. Overall, I think Thompson was better this game because of a good 2nd half, but he still made a lot of mistakes that need to be cleaned up.

  • Kam with the game of his life.

Kam had the best game of his career. He still does dumb things that frustrate me, but he was just on fire Tuesday.

  • Our secondary break is not good.

If we don’t score in transition we just stand around and reset the offense. Instead, we should immediately set screens and move the ball around to see if we can find some openings while the defense tries to get organized. This takes time to improve, but only if we make an effort which I’m not seeing right now.

  • Dislike: Thad putting our center on the inbounder.

I never liked this even though it helped us get some steals in years past. It worked when we had someone as big as Amir and Craft to sprint after steals. We won’t have nearly as many chances to steal the inbounds pass this year and it just causes our defense to be in bad position.

  • Grandstaff’s D is a problem.

Grandstaff nailed some 3s and showed off his quick release and pretty stroke from the outside. Unfortunately, he might be the worst defender I’ve seen in my life and I watched LaQuinton Ross play defense. He needs to at least start to become aware of his surroundings before he starts playing against good teams.

Go bucks. Kick UT-Arlington’s ass.

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