Just finished watching the replay of UT-Arlington’s 73-68 upset over the Buckeyes and 2 main things stick out the main reasons we lost that game:
- Mental lapses on defense from literally everyone. No one was immune from losing their man completely on backdoor cuts. UT-Arlington missed pretty much everything that wasn’t an uncontested layup in the 1st half, but they got so many they were able to keep it close.
- The free throw discrepancy was astounding. UT-Arlington was 19-22 from the line while we went 13-27. It ended being the difference in the game.
In my opinion, both of these factors come down to focus. OSU didn’t come ready to play. They were perfectly capable of playing good defense considering they locked up the Mavericks in the last 6 minutes when they really needed to. UT-Arlington finally hit some tough shots though and they finished it off with great free throw shooting. It was a great learning experience for this young team. If you don’t come ready to play, you will lose.
Here are some of my other notes from the game:
- Our offense lends itself to post ups, but not for the players we want posting up. Giddens and Thompson don’t have mature post games, but Loving, KBD, and Tate can all go to work down there. Giddens threw up this ugly shot early and thankfully he was less inclined to post up as often afterwards.
- Everyone lost their man on a backdoor cut while they got caught staring at the ball. Even Jae’Sean got caught looking. Overall, it was one of Jae’Sean’s worst games as a Buckeye. He wasn’t as active as he normally is on defense, he missed an easy layup, and was 1-5 on free throws.
- Grandstaff looked much more attentive on defense. His feet are still slow, but that can get better with training. He still needs some work on lobs, though. It’s amazing how he can have great touch on his shot, but suck at lobbing it near the hoop. He’s thrown the 2 worst alley-oops I’ve ever seen in my life the past 2 games.
- Does the clock always run on made baskets? The Buckeyes made a shot with 35 seconds left in the first half. Great 2-for-1 timing to at least get off another shot before the half, but the clock continued to run and by the time UT-Arlington picked it up and inbounded, the clock was at 30 seconds. What the fuck!? If you stall long enough, you can always get the last shot of the half. Is that a real rule? That’s bullshit.
- Does Matta need to simplify the defense? These kids were lost out there. They couldn’t decide if they should switch or not. The big men look poor on sideline pick and rolls. I guess it’s good to experiment now with trickier defensive rules, but you have to wonder if set and stable defensive principles would benefit this young team. Which brings me to why I suggested changing up defenses. If we have a standard defense with rules you can’t break, there should be less confusion, even for freshman. The problem is certain matchups make those rules difficult to follow. But that’s why you practice zones and traps to change things up. The Buckeyes looked unstoppable with about 7 minutes left and, even though I already knew we lost, I had no idea how it was possible. Then, UT-Arlington went to a zone and suddenly we couldn’t score. I hope Matta learns from this game too.
- If you ever wonder why Russell was the #2 pick and Lyle won’t be ready for the draft after this year, rewatch this film. Maybe Matta started in a zone last year to hide Russell on defense, but when we went to a man he was NEVER this bad. Lyle looked like he was stuck in quicksand. Maybe it was just focus, but watching him try to guard Erick Neal made me worried. Just another reason I recommended we play Lyle and Harris together.
- Giddens provided the only comic relief during the game when he shouted what I believe was, “NO SHOT BITCH!” after he rejected a layup. I thought it was hilarious, but apparently the refs disagreed and gave him a technical which ended up being a killer 2 points for us. I don’t even care. I love Giddens no matter how many technicals he gets. Long live Giddens.
Don’t get too worried about this loss. Everything is fixable. Matta will make sure these guys play hard tonight against Louisiana Tech. I like the Buckeyes to cover.