Opening Thoughts: It’s that time of the year again! The Big Ten basketball season has begun! Wisconsin tips it off with a visit from the Buckeyes of Ohio State. Ohio State is 10-2 with good victories over Florida State and, according to Pomeroy, California. Their losses were to North Carolina on a neutral court and at Butler. Since losing Evan Turner, they have scored 1.13 PPP and given up 0.92 PPP against a good Butler team (34th Pomeroy), a below average Cleveland State team (181st), and 2 terrible Presbyterian and Delaware State teams (319th and 317th respectively). Comparatively, Wisconsin has averages of 1.20 PPP and 0.87 PPP against similar competition (#24 Marquette, #159 UW-M, #264 IPFW, and #327 Grambling).
What the Expert Nerds Say:
Jeff Sagarin ranks Wisconsin #17 and OSU #22. He makes Wisconsin a 5-point favorite.
Ken Pomeroy ranks Wisconsin #11 and OSU #18. He predicts a 67-62 Badger victory in 61 possessions and gives the Badgers a 69% chance of winning.
Note to critics: Sagarin and Pomeroy are unable to objectively calculate OSU’s abilities with Evan Turner out, so they don’t.
Ohio State Probable Rotation:
*G – 6’1” SR P.J. Hill (4.8 PPG, 1.7 APG, 1.5 RPG, 85% 2PT, 92% FT)
*G – 6’6” JR Jon Diebler (14.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 48% 3PT, 91% FT)
*G – 6’5” SO William Buford (12.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.0 SPG)
*F – 6’5” JR David Lighty (14.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.1 APG, 61% 2PT)
*F – 6’8” JR Dallas Lauderdale (8.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.2 BPG, 84% 2PT)
G – 6’2” SR Jeremie Simmons (9.3 PPG, 1.5 APG, 1.0 RPG, 51% 3PT, 73% 2PT)
F – 6’9” SR Kyle Madsen (2.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 57% 2PT)
G – 6’4” SR Mark Titus (Club Trillion Founder, averages a rounded 3 Tril in 5 games)
This season they have played at a pace of 68 possessions per game, similar to Marquette. They play mostly man-to-man defense but throw in some zone once in a while too. Their defense puts up a ton of glamour stats, with a bunch of forced turnovers, steals, and blocks.
They return everyone from last season’s rotation except for B.J. “I want to grow a porn ‘stache but I have the facial hair growing capabilities of a high school freshman” Mullens, who took his amazing catch, turn, and dunk abilities to the NBA. On a related note, have I ever mentioned how I think it’s ridiculously stupid that the NBA places more value on athleticism and potential over actual skill?
David Lighty – Lighty is the second most aggressive offensive player on the team. He shoots about as often as Ryan Evans. His offensive rating is 109. That’s made due to his great 2-point shooting (61%) but hurt by his 57% free throw shooting. He takes okay care of the ball turning it over 19%. He’s a decent defensive rebounder and pretty good at stealing the ball on D.
William Buford – Buford is the most aggressive offensive player on the team with Turner out. He shoots nearly as often as Leuer and Hughes. Unlike those two though, he only has an above average offensive rating of 104.8. He shoots 41% from 2 and 36% from 3. He also takes great care of the ball, turning it over only 14% of his possessions.
Dallas Lauderdale – While Dallas isn’t much of a threat on offense, taking only 12% of the shots while he’s on the floor (133.4 offensive rating), similar to Jarmusz, he is a force defensively. He blocks 15.2% of all 2-point attempts (6th best in the country) when he’s on the court but averages only 3.7 fouls per 40 minutes. He’s also a very gifted offensive rebounder.
What Ohio State is really good at:
1. Shooting 2s and 3s. OSU is 23rd in the nation at 3s (41.1%) and 2nd in 2s (59.7%).
2. Getting a hand in the face of shooters and altering or blocking shots. The Bucks block one of their opponents’ every six 2-point attempts (14th) and give up 32.1% shooting behind the arc (96th) and 42.3% inside (38th).
3. Pump Faking. They are 10th in the nation at avoiding blocks, with a rate of about 1 block for every 20 2-pointers they attempt.
4. Taking Care of the Ball. They are 24th in the nation with a rate of 17%.
5. Forcing Turnovers. The Buckeyes are 44th in the nation, forcing a rate of 24.1%.
6. Rebounding Defensively. Unlike last season, they are grabbing a great 69.9%, good for 85th.
7. Not sending opponents to the line. They are 22nd in the nation, sending an opponent to the line 26 times for every 100 shot attempts.
What Ohio State is really bad at:
1. Shooting free throws. The Nuts shoot 66.1% from the line, 235th in the nation.
2. Defending free throws. Gone are the glory days of when Terence Dials, Je’Kel Foster, Ron Lewis, and Jamal Butler intimidating opponents into shooting a meager 67%… OSU is giving up 71% at the line, good for 261st. Clearly both of these teams need to recruit more guys capable of better pysche-outs like “Steve Perry” and “I hear your sister’s going out with SQUEAK!”.
When OSU has the ball: OSU has scored an awful 1.15 PPP in their first 12 games, while UW has given up a great 0.90 in their first 12.
When UW has the ball: OSU gave up an average 0.90 in their first 12 games, while UW has scored a great 1.17 in their first 12.
Pace: OSU has played at 68 possessions per game so far in their first 12 games compared to UW’s 64 in their first 12 games.
1. Diebler doesn’t reach double digits. Diebler is a great 3-point shooter, but last season he was chased very well by J-Bo and Taylor, and I think that happens again, preventing Diebler from having a solid game.
2. Leuer scores more than 19. Leuer is a dominant force in the paint and his go-to move of the turnaround fadeaway is unblockable, even by Dallas Lauderdale.
3. Badgers attempt more than 15 free throws. Wisconsin gets to the line a lot and OSU doesn’t send their opponents to the line. Something’s gotta give.
4. Badgers hold OSU to 54% or less inside the arc. OSU is the second best 2-point shooting team in the country, but Wisconsin is the 42nd best defending it. I think defense wins out on this one.
My Prediction: The Badgers win their 5th straight, cracking the Bucknuts 67-58 in 62 possessions.