~~To say Marquette had a bad game offensively is almost too kind. Shooting 19% for the game and only making 10 baskets is downright horrendous. You would think holding a team like Ohio State to 52 points would give you a good chance to win. This was the lowest shooting percentage since 1996 and the lowest point total since 2000. Even with this being such an ugly game, there is no need to panic yet. This is the third game of the season and Buzz generally has his team playing their best basketball by February into March. Look at last year with the two bad losses they had against UWGB and Florida in the beginning of the season. They will bounce back and learn from this tough loss. Here is what stood out to me from this game.
Guard Play: This was an extremely poor day for the position. Combined they shot 4 for 29 from the field. Mayo was 3 for 15, Thomas 0 for 7, and Derrick Wilson was 1 for 7. Mayo forced a lot of shots, but I think that was because everyone else struggled to get open looks. Jake Thomas had a few threes rim in and out. For a shooter if those go in maybe it is a different story. Derrick missed some lay ups early and later was forced to take some jumpers because Craft basically left him unguarded. I was happy to see Derrick be more aggressive going to the basket. This is something he didn’t do in the previous two games, but he still needs to finish. The offense seemed to become stagnate at times causing Derrick to have the ball late in the shot clock. This also hindered the ability to feed the ball into the post to Gardner and Otule. There were no angles to get the ball into them. It also allowed Ohio State to sink multiple defenders to the ball when it was in the post forcing turnovers and creating tough shots for the big men. I am concerned about the lack of movement and the inability to shoot from the outside. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the young guys start to get more playing time if the guard position continues to struggle.
Turnovers: Marquette committed 20 turnovers. That is way too many against a team like Ohio State. I credit Ohio State for being very active with their hands, especially Shannon Scott with 5 steals. Marquette needs to take care of the ball better. They had key turnovers in the second half that contributed to Ohio State’s run that put the game out of reach.
Jamil Wilson: This is one of those games where you would have liked to see Jamil take control and be one of the main guys on offense. He struggled to get anything going shooting 1 for 9 and ending up with 3 points. He had the height advantage all day against Smith, but couldn’t do anything with it. He has all the talent in the world to be their go to guy when the big guys are being shut down. He just needs to put it together consistently.
This is a game Marquette would like to have back, but the good news is there is a lot of season left. Ohio State was the better team and figured it out in the second half offensively. Marquette was able to keep Ohio State’s offense on check most of the game. The offense is just a work in progress. You can bet teams will pack in the paint and give the guards shots until they can prove they can make them. This will be a good learning experience for Buzz and his team.
Marquette puts their 27-game home win streak on the line against #10 Ohio State on Saturday. Both teams come in at 2-0 and is there first meeting since 1994. They were scheduled to play on the boat last year, but condensation ruined that plan. This will be the first big test for Marquette this year. I took a look at the Buckeyes and here is what I saw and what Marquette needs to do to keep their win streak alive. Starting Five
G #4 Aaron Craft 6-2 Sr. 11.5 ppg
G #3 Shannon Scott 6-1 Jr. 12.0 ppg
G #32 Lenzelle Smith Jr. 6-4 Sr. 13.5 ppg
F #10 LaQuinton Ross 6-8 Jr. 12 ppg
C #23 Amir Williams 6-11 Jr. 9.0 ppg
G #12 Sam Thompson 6-7 Jr. 13.0 ppg
Ohio State primarily runs a pick and roll offense. Almost every possession a screen is set, whether it’s on ball or off ball. The pick and rolls help utilize their guards’ quickness in getting to the basket. In the first two games OSU went to the free throw line 73 times. Guard Aaron Craft has 21 of those attempts. Ohio State is also very good from beyond the arc. Craft, Scott, Smith and Ross all capable of knocking down three pointers. Off the bench Sam Thompson provides an offensive spark with his athleticism and big play ability. Thompson led all scorers in their last game against Ohio with 24 points.
Ohio State is very active with their hands around the ball. Aaron Craft at times will leave his man and follow the ball attempting to trap the ball handler. OSU will press full court and put a lot a pressure on the other teams’ guards to get across half court. Ohio State’s advantage of playing four guards is their quickness and recovery speed. They are more likely to take chances on steals because of their ability to get back quickly.
Keys to the Game
Size: Ohio State starts four guards and makes them vulnerable inside. Marquette should look to use their size advantage with Jamil Wilson, Gardner, and Otule. I expect to see Gardner and Otule on the floor together multiple times throughout the game.
Being Aware of Aaron Craft: Offensively, Marquette will need to be aware of Craft at all times. He has a knack for getting his hands on the ball wherever it is. When the ball is in the post, they will need to make sure to keep the ball up and secure from Craft’s active hands.
Guard Play: Aaron Craft will most likely be guarding whoever is playing the two guard. Meaning Derrick Wilson or John Dawson will need to have some sort of offensive presence. If Craft is able to take away the scoring from the shooting guard, Wilson or Dawson will need to be able to create shots to make it a lot harder to just shut down that position.
Fouls: Ohio State was in the bonus with 16 minute left in the first half against Ohio. Marquette will need to limit the fouls to keep them off the free throw line that early. No team can win when their opponent is in the bonus for that long. It would slow the game down tremendously. On the other end, Marquette’s size should be able to draw a lot of fouls down low. With drawing those fouls, converting on free throws will be extremely important.
This game will be very exciting to watch on Saturday as both teams have a lot of talent. Marquette has the size advantage, but the Buckeyes have the edge at guard. I think this game comes down to the final possessions. This will be a god test for both teams early in the year.