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Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas were supposed to be the two pillars of an Ohio State team that had some question marks heading into the season.
For the most part, they have lived up to expectations. Thomas is the Big Ten’s most prolific scorer and Craft is one of its best two on-ball defenders (along with Victor Oladipo). Yes, Craft’s offense and Thomas’ defense has room for improvement, but the most important thing for each will be their leadership going forward.
After two straight losses, the goal of a Big Ten championship seems out of reach. Now is the time that the team has to rally around its veterans to emerge from its slump and salvage what can still be a very promising and successful year.
As for this game against the Badgers, both Craft and Thomas were huge in the first matchup. Thomas scored 25 points on a blistering 10-of-17 shooting and even dished out four assists. Craft added 13 points and led the Buckeyes with seven rebounds.
Craft and Thomas both have advantages in the one-on-one matchups the Badgers throw at them and need to once again exploit those holes. Craft should not settle for outside shots and look to drive the lane, while Thomas would be better served trying to establish some type of post game to go along with his shot.
If Craft and Thomas are going to lead this team to bigger and better things down the stretch, now is the time to start.