Ohio State Basketball: 3 Positions the Buckeyes Don't Have to Worry About
As the long college basketball offseason drags on with no games in sight, it becomes easy for Ohio State fans to start worrying about the Buckeyes' weaknesses as their minds wander. In fact, I recently did just that in this very space.
While there may be some flaws with Thad Matta’s group this year, there are also strengths. In fact, I would venture to say that the Buckeyes wouldn’t be in many preseason prognosticators’ top five if they didn’t have said strengths.
As long as we are sticking with the worrying theme, here are three spots that the Buckeyes and their fans do not have to worry about heading into the 2012-13 season.
If you basically know exactly what you are going to get out of a given position, then there is no need to worry about it, right?
Assuming Deshaun Thomas fills the power forward slot for the Buckeyes (and remains healthy while doing so), Matta will get an offensive force who is not afraid to shoot from anywhere. Yes, it can be frustrating at times to watch Thomas jack up ill-advised shots, but it will be needed this year more than ever.
With the losses of William Buford and Jared Sullinger, Thomas will need to assume the lion’s share of the scoring load—something I would imagine he will do with open arms.
Thomas’ performance in the NCAA Tournament is why power forward will be a position Ohio State does not have to worry about this year. Given his performance in March and the fact that he is now an upperclassman with multiple seasons under his belt, there is no reason to expect anything less than superstardom.
Yes, Thomas could stand to improve his defense and rebounding, but the Buckeyes can rest easy knowing that there will at least be plenty of scoring from the power forward position this year.
It’s a good thing Thad Matta listened to Jared Sullinger.
As a high-school student, Sullinger urged his soon-to-be coach to extend a scholarship offer to some relatively unknown point guard who went by the name of Aaron Craft.
Two years later, Craft would almost certainly win a straw poll if Buckeye Nation was asked to pick its favorite basketball player, even if there was a margin of error.
Craft will bring suffocating defense, relentless effort and invaluable leadership. Moreover, if the NCAA Tournament was an indication of things to come—which it often is for younger players—he should be more of an offensive force this season as well.
In all likelihood, Craft will be in Columbus for two more seasons, meaning that Buckeye fans (and Thad Matta) will not have to worry about the point guard spot for the foreseeable future.
In fact, the only thing fans may have to worry about is Craft spilling their drinks as he dives over them for a loose ball.
Go ahead—criticize Thad Matta all you want. Point out that he hasn’t won a national title, he doesn’t play his bench and that his starters may be worn down by the end of the season.
But the fact of the matter is that Ohio State basketball is enjoying an extended period of success that it hasn’t seen since the 1960s, and Matta is the primary reason why.
He has won at least 20 games in each of his first 12 seasons, brought Ohio State Big Ten championships in the regular season and conference tournament, won the NIT Tournament and guided the scarlet and gray to two Final Fours.
Not bad for a football school.
Yes, he may have missed out on a couple top recruits recently, but Ohio State has itself one of the premier coaches in all of college basketball.
As long as Matta is pacing the sidelines in Columbus, Buckeye fans won’t have to worry about the most important position in the entire program—head coach.