Buckeyes shooting their way to likely NCAA tournament bid

The Buckeyes have had some tough breaks this season, but their excellent shooting has made them competitive.

Ohio State is shooting 50.1 percent from the field in conference games, and the next-best team (Michigan State) is shooting 44.9. Roughly the same percentage gap separates the Buckeyes and Spartans as separates the Spartans and the Big Ten’s worst shooting team (Michigan).

In the past 15 years, only one team (Michigan State in 2004) has shot better than 50 percent for the season. The Buckeyes are on pace despite three guards — Evan Turner, William Buford and Jon Diebler — doing most of the shooting.

Chief among the reasons (other than 7-foot B.J. Mullens shooting nearly 70 percent), Big Ten coaches say, are Matta’s coaching style, Buford’s rapid development and the difficulty of matching up with the 6-7 Turner, who can create shots for not only himself but teammates, too. He ranks first in Big Ten scoring and ninth in assists.

“They cut extremely hard,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said, “and along with that cutting, they screen for each other very well, especially (for) Diebler and Turner.”

As well as freeing his shooters to shoot, Matta gives them much freedom to shoot, said Iowa coach Todd Lick-liter, who coached with Matta at Butler.

“If you look back over Thad’s career, I think he’s done a great job of encouraging shooters to shoot the ball and giving them confidence,” Lickliter said.

Can they keep this up? Who knows, but nobody wants to face a hot shooting team in the NCAA tournament.

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Buckeyes go to the Final Four!

Greg Oden ignored the smack talk and led the Buckeyes to a victory over Memphis to seal a Final Four appearance.

Simmons on Greg Oden

Like many people, Bill Simmons needs to see Greg Oden play with a healthy wrist before making a judgement on his potential. He does give an interesting comparison, as he exlains how Oden reminds him of Robert Parrish.

Questions and answers

Kenny Roda from WKNR SportsTalk 850 will be writing a weekly blog on Cleveland Scores covering the sports world both locally and nationally. Check back often for his updates!

Q: Is Troy Smith the greatest quarterback ever at Ohio State?

A: Absolutely, 100% YES. Heisman Trophy winner, 25-2 as a starter, 3-0 vs Michigan and after January 8th, 2007, a National Championship!

Q: Should the Browns draft Troy Smith if he is available with their pick in the 1st round in 07?

A: Yes and No. Yes… if they go out and address the offensive line through the draft and free agency. No…if they expect him to come in and be the savior behind this crappy O-line. The Glenville and Ohio St. grad deserves better than that.

Q: Were those tears in Jim Tressel’s eyes as Troy Smith was accepting the Heisman?

A: Yes…so for those of you who thought he doesn’t show any emotion, he is human! Beneath the sweater vest and that cool and calm demeanor on the sideline, is a man who cares about his players as human beings more than as just quarterbacks and linebackers.

Q: Does Derrick Anderson deserve another chance to start for the Browns?

A: Without a doubt. You already know what you have in Charlie Frye from his 17 starts. Anderson has only started one game and played a total of 6 quarters. At 4-9 with 3 games left, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by playing him more and finding out if he can be your starter, a back-up or doesn’t belong in the NFL.

Q: What’s it say about 3rd pick, wide receiver Travis Wilson if he can’t play ahead of Dennis Northcutt, who dropped 3 more balls against Pittsburgh?

A: He must really suck or is not smart enough to pick up the offense.

Q: Is Romeo Crennel the answer at head coach?

A: My gut tells me no. My head tells me no. But my heart tells me… maybe. Not a resounding vote of confidence for Romeo like he got from Phil Savage. Sorry, that’s the best I can do right now.

Q: Does Larry Hughes really make that much of a difference for the Cavs?

A: Yes and it counts! Cleveland is 7-2 with Hughes in the lineup and 5-5 without him.

Q: Can Greg Oden lead Ohio State basketball like Troy Smith has in football?

A: Most definitely! I watched him in person this weekend and, granted it was Cleveland St. that the Buckeyes beat 78-57, but he is a man playing amongst boys. If Oden stays healthy the rest of the season, Buckeye Nation could be celebrating two National Championships this year.

Q: How much have the Indians helped themselves so far this off season?

A: They’re much better defensively at 2nd base with the trade for Josh Barfield. As far as the bullpen goes. Even if the guys they signed are 100 years old or not 100% healthy, they can’t do any worse than last year’s pen did. Can they? As for David Dellucci in left field? I felt that money could have been spent on more bullpen help or in a trade to bring somebody here, by picking up the remaining years on their contract.

Q: Are the Buckeyes going to beat the Gators?

A: Yes and yes! December 23rd in basketball at Florida, 82-78. January 8th in football for the National Championship, 34-24!

Bucks come close without Oden

The Ohio State Buckeyes basketball squad had their first tough test this season. They travel to North Carolina and battled to a 98-89 defeat on the road. The Bucks started fast as they ran out to a 4 point halftime lead. The first half featured Ron Lewis scoring from all angles and Mike Conley leading the team from the point guard position.

In second half, Ohio State’s inexperience and lack of depth took its toll on this young squad. North Carolina went on late 17-2 run and never looked back. This game featured two of the top teams in the nation. If Ohio State can stay with the Tar Heels on the road, without Greg Oden, this team may have what it takes to make a run at the title.