David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Ohio State’s identity under Thad Matta has always been about defense, and it will be even more so in the 2013-14 season.
The Buckeyes lose the Big Ten’s leading scorer in Deshaun Thomas and will be relying on a collection of offensively talented but somewhat unproven scorers when they have the ball (yes, LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson have experience, but not as go-to options).
That means the Scarlet and Gray’s performance at the defensive end will be critical.
Fortunately for Matta, he has plenty of options when it comes to defensive stalwarts. Aaron Craft is arguably the best defender in the entire nation and has to be considered one of the favorites to win national defensive player of the year.
Throw in Shannon Scott, and Ohio State has a lethal combination of quickness and basketball-IQ in the backcourt, meeting opposing ball-handlers immediately.
Amir Williams is a talented shot-blocker, despite his offensive issues, and Sam Thompson and Lenzelle Smith Jr. have the length and athleticism to disrupt offensive attacks as well.
Look for the Buckeyes to play lockdown defense all season.