(Image courtesy EdvardMunch.org, game information courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, ESPN.com, stats courtesy of teamrankings.com, kenpom.com) 

Ohio State (18-12, 8-11) made an emphatic statement Wednesday night in Evanston, IL that they are not remotely good enough for NCAA Tourney play with an embarrassing 68-50 loss to  Northwestern (13-7, 4-15). The win for Northwestern snaps a ten game losing streak.

I thought the overnight line of Northwestern -1.5 was curious. I also thought losing to them by 18 was uncalled for.

 I’ll spare you and myself a blow-by-blow of the game. Ohio State missed, sometimes by a wide margin, their first 13 shots. Ohio State’s first field goal was by C.J. Jackson nearly 9 minutes into the game. Northwestern was only slightly better. The first half ended with both teams combining for 45 points on 15-56 shooting, thus setting the game of basketball back nearly 80 years.

In the second half, Vic Law rebounded an Andre Wesson miss with :27 remaining in the game. Mercifully, Northwestern ran out the clock to avert a 20 point margin.

The Buckeyes had two players in double figures. Keyshawn Woods had 15 points and Duane Washington, Jr had 11.  Keyshawn and Justin Ahrens each had 7 rebounds and C.J. Jackson, Andre Wesson and Kyle Young “led” the team with 2 assists each.

The Wildcats had three players in double figures. Dererk Pardon had 20 points, Vic Law 10 and A.J. Turner 10. Pardon had 13 rebounds for his double-double and Miller Kopp had 4 assists.

Ohio State shot 26% from the field (17-64), 21% (4-26) from 3-point range and 70% (12-17) from the foul line.  

Northwestern shot 45% (26-58) from the field, 25% (5-20) from 3-point range and 85% (11-13) from the foul line. 

What Went Right

Ball handling was okay. They had 9 turnovers, which was one of their better games. However, they averaged only .8 points-per-possession, so it’s not like a lot of points were left on the floor.  They had 8 assists in 17 field goals, so the ratio is pretty solid. 

They had an impressive 18 offensive rebounds, but 9 of them were Team rebounds. That means the ball more than likely bounced out of bounds off a Wildcat, so there was no opportunity for a ‘clean’ put-back.

What Didn’t

Goddamned near everything else. It seems that Ohio State can’t have a functional offense unless Kaleb Wesson is in the post as an inside-outside nexus. A good coach would have figured out a way around this since there have been times this season where the offense was dysfunctional with KW on the floor. 

Kaleb may have made a difference defensively, despite his propensity to commit fouls. Ohio State’s interior defense was an embarrassment.  Kyle Young was too hurt/not athletic enough, Jaedon LeDee too inexperienced and everyone else too short to offer much resistance to Dererk Pardon. Northwestern outscored Ohio State 36-20 “in the paint”. Dererk Pardon scored 4 of his 20 points “in the paint”, while his doppelganger Benson Barret scored all 4 of his there. 

Other…

  • Ohio State had a stellar night on the offensive glass; they had 18 offensive rebounds. They did miss 47 FG attempts, so opportunities abounded to grab your misses…
  • This is a poorly designed offense. Somehow, dribbling around the perimeter for 25 seconds, then hoist a “hope it goes” is where we are now.
  • I did appreciate Kyle Young’s energy and effort. He was designated with limited minutes due to his stress fracture then incurred anther injury (knee-to-knee bruise, I believe).  
  • We are in Kaleb Wesson’s second suspension in two years. He needs to figure out what the hell is going on, which may/may not include affiliation with Ohio State’s Athletic Department. 
  • According to teamrankings.com,  the Buckeyes are projected to  finish the regular season 18-13 and 8-12 in B1G play. They rank Ohio State as the 38th best team in the country and #9 in the B1G. Their chance to make the NCAA’s is 8%. 

 

Up Next

The Buckeyes host top-twenty opponent Wisconsin Sunday March 10th in the final game of the regular season. Tip-off is set for 4:300 pm Eastern. You can watch the game on CBS or listen to it on 97.1 The Fan. Or both.

The #19 Badgers (20-9, 12-6) average 70 points per game while allowing 62 ppg.  They average 35 rebounds and 9 turnovers per game. For comparison, the Buckeyes are scoring 70 and allowing 65 points per game. Ohio State averages 34 rebounds and 13 turnovers per game. Wisconsin is currently 5th in the B1G while Ohio State is 7th. 

Wisconsin has three players that average double figures scoring per game. They are 6’10” F Ethan Happ (17.8), 6’0″ G D’Mitrik Trice (12.3) and 6’3″ G Brad Davison (11.0). Happ also lead the team in rebounds per game (10.1) and assists (4.7).

Happ averages a double-double per game and distributes the ball well. With or without Kaleb Wesson, Happ is going to be a challenge.