Washington vs. Ohio State: Most Important Takeaways from Hall of Fame Tip-off
Seemingly lost in this month's massive tournament-filled schedule has been the Hall of Fame Tip-Off at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.
It's not the most prestigious college basketball tournament you'll find during the month of November, but Sunday's championship featured an intriguing matchup between No. 4 Ohio State and Washington.
The Buckeyes, obvious national-championship contenders, battled off an early hot start by Lorenzo Romar's Huskies and coasted to a 77-66 win to take home the title.
Let's take a look at the most important takeaways for each team from the entertaining final.
That Deshaun Thomas Guy Is Pretty Good, but...
Against the Huskies, the preseason All-American knocked down 12 of his 21 shots for a career-high 31 points to go along with eight rebounds and four assists.
Ohio State will make it to the Final Four this year.
But there's a "but."
After Thomas and Aaron Craft, who scored 18 points on Sunday, I'm not exactly sure where the Buckeyes go for offense.
Evan Ravenel added 12 points, but that's not the type of production you should expect from the senior big man. Important starting wings Sam Thompson and Lenzelle Smith Jr. shot a combined 0-for-10 for three points. Amir Williams, LaQuinton Ross and Shannon Scott added 13 total points off the bench.
The Buckeyes' defense is ferocious, and Thomas has the talent to put the team on his back for a majority of the season, so this isn't a major problem. They are still a legitimate Final Four contender.
But at some point, Thad Matta's squad is going to need to find a consistent third scoring option, especially once teams stop insanely helping off of Thomas and leaving him wide open like the Huskies did on multiple occasions.
This Is a Rebuilding Year for Washington
UW has the pieces to be a good team. It has veteran senior guards in Abdul Gaddy and Scott Suggs. It has size and a defensive presence down low in Aziz N'Diaye. It has NBA talent in C.J. Wilcox. It has the energy, do-everything guy in Desmond Simmons. It has young potential in Jernard Jarreau and Andrew Andrews.
Where will the Huskies finish in the Pac-12 this year?
But the Huskies, as is often the case with this team, are just inconsistent.
They lost to Albany and came back with an extraordinary first half against Seton Hall. They blew an 18-point lead against Seton Hall only to fight back, force overtime and dominate the extra period.
They started off well against Ohio State but experienced several bad (and several good) stretches in between. Of course, Washington still deserves credit. They traveled across the country, yet still shot well (47.9 percent) and scored 66 points against one of the best defensive teams in the nation.
Still though, not only do the Huskies constantly lose focus on the defensive end, but the offense isn't nearly as consistent as it needs to be. Wilcox and Suggs are obvious threats, but no one else on this team really scares you.
Gaddy has immense talent, but the necessary aggression on the offensive end isn't always there. Much like the team he leads, he's up and down.
Better days are coming. Andrews and Jarreau look like future stars, and incoming recruit Nigel Williams-Goss will make an immediate impact. But this year's Huskies look like a middle-of-the-pack Pac-12 team.
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