Ohio State Basketball: Buckeyes in Need of Deep Threat

Alex WelchCorrespondent IINovember 22, 2011

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 20: David Lighty #23 of the Ohio State Buckeyes gestures after making a three point basket against the George Mason Patriots during the third of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 20, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Ohio State is off to a great start in 2011. It's undefeated and has already taken down a Top-10 team.

The real test, though, will be a week from today, when the Buckeyes take on the No. 6 ranked Duke Blue Devils. 

The Buckeyes have looked solid so far, but one aspect of their game really stands out in its absence: the lack of a threat from downtown. 

This hasn't been a problem in recent years for the Bucks because of one guy in particular, Jon Diebler. During his tenure in Columbus, Diebler set the school and Big Ten record for most three-point field goals in a career. In his senior season, he shot 50 percent from beyond the arc. 

Obviously, replacing a shooter like that is hard to do.

Diebler seemed to always be there whenever the Buckeyes needed an answer from deep. Yet, Diebler wasn't the only one who provided a deep threat for them. The team as a whole shot 42 percent from three last season, with David Lighty and William Buford shooting well over 40 percent each.

This season has been a complete turnaround.

Ohio State is currently making just 26 percent of its three balls. It hasn't been a hindrance so far, but you can't help but wonder if it's going to hurt the team in the long run.

Buford is shooting well below his career average. Deshaun Thomas wasn't the best three-point shooter his freshman year, but he's been completely off the mark at times in the first few games. Jordan Sibert leads the squad with just five three-pointers made.

So, will they be able to pick up their game from downtown?

Ohio State looks like it could compete for a national championship this season, but its lack of shooting could catch up with it eventually if this team can't figure it out.

Last night, the Buckeyes beat North Florida by 35 points, and they only shot 4-20 from three. Against Florida, they shot 4-15 from deep but still managed a seven-point win.

I'm not saying the three-ball is going to be their downfall, but if Buford and some of the other shooters can step up and knock down deep shots, this Buckeyes team is going to be nearly unstoppable.

Sullinger is getting double-teamed often, and if they could open up the perimeter game, there's going to be a lot more room inside for everyone.

Ohio State has two more easy matchups before it takes on Duke. That will be the litmus test for the Buckeyes' championship hopes this season.