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Depth Finder: A Look at the Post-Evan Turner Buckeyes

Drew GatewoodAnalyst IDecember 9, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - DECEMBER 06:  Evan Turner #21 of the Ohio State Buckeyes drives against Luke Harangody #44 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase on December 6, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Buckeyes were dealt a serious blow last weekend when they lost Evan Turner for eight weeks with a broken back. He was averaging 18.9 points and 11.4 rebounds a game and was having a terrific first half of the season for OSU.

Last year, David Lighty went down with a season ending injury, but this year he’ll be expected to help carry the Buckeyes through a very difficult first half of conference play. So far this season, Lighty has been in Turner’s shadow, but any more it’s his time to shine. This season he’s averaged 11.9 points and 5.2 rebounds.

Jon Diebler will be another Buckeye called upon to step up in the absence of their team leader. The sharpshooter has been shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 52.3 percent from behind the arc this season.  His 17.1 points a game average with 2.6 assists will need to increase, along with Lighty’s, if the Buckeyes are going to keep the pace they’ve set this season.

The point guards have been a bright spot for the Buckeyes this season. PJ Hill and Jeremie Simmons both have played exceptionally well so far. Both will see more time, and that’s a good thing considering the production they’ve shown in the action they’ve seen so far. With the loss of Turner, don’t be surprised to see both on the court together for large parts of the game while the Buckeyes attempt to run and gun.

The bench will also be called upon to increase scoring and defense. Mark Madsen and Nikola Kechman will become key players in rebounding for the Buckeyes, along with starter Dallas Lauderdale.

William Buford could benefit the most from the absence of Turner. His shooting struggles have hindered him this season, but this increase in playing time should help his confidence along with his scoring average. In his last few games he has broken through his shooting woes and had several successful games.

Ohio State, even without Evan Turner, is still a very competitive team and should do well without its star player. Turner should be back in action sometime in late January or early February for the Buckeyes. That will leave several important conference games, along with the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament, still to play.

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