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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

OSU Basketball - Ohio State 2012 NFL Combine Results - Matta, finally, calls out his Buckeyes

Matta, finally, calls out his Buckeyes

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State's loss to Wisconsin on Sunday started on Saturday, when coach Thad Matta had to throw his team out of practice because the Buckeyes weren't ready to go.
All season, especially after their six losses, the No. 8 Buckeyes have said they've played like they've practiced, for good and for bad. So to lose to the No. 16 Badgers, 63-60, with now just two games remaining in the regular season, was yet another exasperating result that yielded another round of the players talking about not playing together.
"It's real concerning," said William Buford, who has his Senior Day marred by the loss. "We should be together by now."
It led Matta, typically protective of his players, to call out his team maybe as much as he ever has in his eight years in Columbus. He volunteered the info about booting them from practice after the players failed to mention it.
"I think at times they don't understand what I see in our approach," Matta said. "As we said, guys have got to look themselves in the mirror and come back and be ready to go."
Asked if it was a function of the immaturity of his young team, which includes four sophomores and a senior in the starting lineup and five freshmen, two sophomores and junior on the bench, Matta said, "No, because my freshmen always come to practice. They do a great job. Honestly, I don't know the answer."
Clearly, though, his questions lie with the players he relies on the most. The OSU freshmen, combined, average less than 30 minutes of the 200 minutes available each game on the floor. Although the Buckeyes' three losses in five games have come against teams currently ranked in the top 15 -- No. 6 Michigan State, No. 11 Michigan and No. 16 Wisconsin -- it's how they have occurred that is more troubling.
Matta said the Buckeyes had two great days of practice before Tuesday's win against Illinois, which is why he was "so upset yesterday at practice, because it wasn't where it needed to be."
That led to the postgame parade of long faces and repeated responses. Ohio State committed 10 first-half turnovers, so the Buckeyes' 55 percent shooting yielded only a 29-29 tie at the break. The Buckeyes were 8-for-16 from the foul line in the second half, including Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft combining to go 1-for-7, so Wisconsin (21-8, 10-6 Big Ten) was able to stage in range after OSU had stretched its lead to eight with eight minutes to play.
When the Buckeyes called time out with 25 seconds to play and trailing 61-59, they wound up getting a double-pump 3-pointer from the top of the key by Deshaun Thomas, who scored a game-high 23 points, that never had a chance.
"I didn't like the shot, obviously," Matta said.
The Buckeyes (23-6, 11-5 Big Ten) are now tied for second in the conference with Michigan, two games behind Michigan State, which has clinched at least a share of the title. The Buckeyes can only get a share of their third straight title if the Spartans lose at Indiana on Tuesday, and the Buckeyes win at Northwestern on Wednesday and at Michigan State on Sunday.
"I just think it's a long season and it's tough to get through this and to come into practice every day still wanting to get better and come in with a good attitude," Craft said. "It's tough but we're still learning and we're a young team and we can figure it out."
But while shot selection and defensive lapses aren't new issues, Sullinger's recent lack of production must leave the Buckeyes stymied. They must do more to feed him the ball, but the sophomore All-American also must do more to get himself open. Following his nine points and six rebounds against Illinois, he had eight points and six rebounds against the Badgers.
Those were his first two healthy games this season in which he scored less than 10 points.
Matta said he didn't know what the issue was with Sullinger, but said, "I know this, when Jared is playing his best basketball, he's engaged and into it."
It would be hard to use that description on much of anything associated with the Buckeyes right now.
"Somebody's got to step up and be that guy and say 'this is enough,'" Thomas said, "and bring us all together."
That probably needs to happen in practice -- if Matta lets them stick around.

Ohio State 2012 NFL Combine Results
By Brandon Castel

It has been a long, tumultuous year for Ohio State’s outgoing senior class.

Much of that was their own undoing, but everyone is ready for a fresh start, and that includes Michael Brewster, Mike Adams, DeVier Posey and Daniel “Boom” Herron.

Of the members of Ohio State’s senior class this past season, only Brewster was able to steer clear of the controversy surrounding the Buckeyes and the departure of beloved head coach Jim Tressel.

All four of them will make the journey to the NFL together, and while it started with the Senior Bowl last month in Mobile, Ala., it swung into full gear over the weekend with the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine.

More than 300 prospects swarmed into Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis over the weekend to show coaches, scouts and general managers what they are capable of. After having nine players invited to last year’s combine, Ohio State only had the foursome of Brewster, Adams, Posey and Herron competing in this year’s combine.

All four of them will get another chance to show NFL scouts what they can do when Ohio State has its pro day on March 9, which is also when fellow seniors J.B. Shugarts, Tyler Moeller, Andrew Sweat, Nate Ebner and others will get a chance to show off their skills.

Posey Starts Things Off Fast

It was an important weekend for all four Buckeyes, especially the three members of the “Tattoo Five” who missed a large chunk of their senior season at Ohio State. Posey was the one who missed 10 games because of suspension, so he really needed to show up well in Indianapolis, and he got off to the right start.

After checking in at a legitimate 6-2, 211 pounds, Posey ran an unofficial 40 times of 4.37 that turned out to be an official time of 4.5. That was barely good enough to be among the top 15 wide receivers at the combine, but it was a huge number for Posey.

The Cincinnati native has good size, strength and route running ability. He has to work on his hands, but the biggest question mark for him at the next level was going to be his speed. A 4.5 flat doesn’t make him one of the fastest players in the draft, but it does tell NFL front offices that he is plenty fast enough to get open at the next level.

Adams Disappoints on Bench

One of the fastest rising and most talked about prospects in the entire draft heading into the NFL Combine was Mike Adams. Ohio State’s left tackle checked in at 6-7, 323 pounds and he looks every bit the part of a starting tackle in the NFL.

There were some draft experts projecting he could climb as high as the middle of the first round, especially after an impressive week at the Senior Bowl, but Adams took a step back at the combine.

It started with his 5.4 official in the 40-yard dash, but where Adams really fell flat was on the bench press. Naturally long-armed, Adams was only able to do 19 reps on the bench, which was fewer than many tight ends and running backs. It was also 10 fewer than classmate and fellow OSU lineman Michael Brewster.

Herron is Who We Thought He Was

Boom Herron’s official 4.66 in the 40-yard dash left something to be desired over the weekend, but Herron proved himself to one of the quicker and shiftier backs at the combine.

Only Florida’s Chris Rainey posted a better time than Herron in the 20-yard shuttle, which is designed to test lateral speed and coordination. Herron also finished among the top backs at the combine in the 3-cone drill, which is used to evaluate agility, quickness and fluidity of movement.

Herron was always a quicker back than he was speedy. He never had the true breakaway speed during his time at Ohio State, but he did show great agility and especially fluidity of movement, which should make him attractive to some team in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft.

Here is a complete look at how the four Buckeyes faired at this year’s combine. We've also included the results for the top performer at the same position at the combine for comparison.

Height – 6’7”
Weight – 323lbs
Arms – 34”
Hands – 10 7/8”

Official 40 time – 5.4 seconds (Donald Stephenson, 4.94)
Bench reps at 225lbs – 19 (David Molk, 41)
Vertical – 28.5” (No. 15 OL) (Donald Stephenson, 35.5)
Broad jump – 8’4” (Donald Stephenson, 9’6”)
3 cone drill – 7.94 seconds 3
20 yard shuttle – 4.95 seconds

Height – 6’2”
Weight – 312lbs
Arms – 31 ½”
Hands – 9 1/2”

Official 40 time – 5.35 seconds (Donald Stephenson, 4.94)
Bench reps at 225lbs – 29 (No. 13 OL) (David Molk, 41)
Vertical – 25” (Donald Stephenson, 35.5)
Broad jump – 8’0” (Donald Stephenson, 9’6”)
3 cone drill – 7.73 seconds (No. 15 OL) (David Decastro, 7.30)
20 yard shuttle – 4.6 seconds (No. 6 OL) (Rishaw Johnson, 4.53)

Height – 5’10”
Weight – 213lbs
Arms – 32”
Hands – 9”

Official 40 time – 4.66 seconds (No. 16 RB) (Lamar Miller, 4.40)
Bench reps – 22 (No. 7 RB) (Doug Martin, 28)
Vertical – 35” (No. 12 RB) (David Wilson, 41')
Broad jump – 9’9” (No. 12 RB) (David Wilson, 11’0”)
3 cone drill – 6.97 seconds (No. 6 RB) (Chris Rainey, 6.50)
20 yard shuttle – 4.04 seconds (No. 2 RB) (Chris Rainey, 3.93)
60 yard shuttle – 11.6 seconds (No. 5 RB) (Chris Rainey, 11.06)

Height – 6’2”
Weight – 211lbs
Arms – 31 5/8”
Hands – 9 5/8”

Official 40 time – 4.5 seconds (No. 15 WR) (Travis Benjamin, 4.36)
Bench reps – 14 (Jerrell Jackson, 22)
Vertical – 36.5” (No. 15 WR) (Kashif Moore, 43.5)
Broad jump – 10’3” (No. 10 WR) (Stephen Hill, 11’1”)
3 cone drill – 7.03 seconds (Junior Hemingway, 6.59)
20 yard shuttle – 4.15 seconds (No. 12 WR) (Junior Hemingway, 3.98)

First Thoughts From a 63-60 Loss to Wisconsin
By Tony Gerdeman
great read!!!!

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As far as unexpected outcomes go, this was certainly one of them. I never saw a loss for the Buckeyes coming, and apparently Ohio State never saw it coming either.
We watched a team that reminded me of my college days—doing just enough to get by. Eventually, however, you take a class that has different plans for you.
The Buckeyes turned the ball over ten times in the first half, yet only twice in the second half. But the damage was already done. Wisconsin was confident and Ohio State was unsettled.
Even when the Buckeyes got out to their 50-42 lead, the Badgers were still calm. They closed the game on a 21-10 run to win it, and didn't seem all that shocked to do so. Ohio State, on the other hand, was either glassy-eyed due to the outcome, or their indifference to it.
Obviously not everybody has checked out on this team, but you have to think maybe a few have. Following the game, I was thinking that this is maybe just a glimpse at a team that is done with the regular season and wanting to move on to the NCAA Tournament.
After all, you only have to win six games, and you only have to be great in your last three games. This is a team that is certainly talented enough to flip a switch and be very good for three games and great for three more.
However, after reading postgame comments from Aaron Craft, specifically about outside issues and bad practices, I can't come to any other conclusion than some members of this team are ready to move on.
It's okay to lose games, every team does it, but this was a bad loss, and the Badgers didn't do it alone. They had plenty of help from the Buckeyes, and it's not a good trend for Ohio State if they want to do anything in the postseason this year.

First Thought

Deshaun Thomas finished with 23 points and seven rebounds, yet what many will remember of him from this game is his double-pump three-point attempt in the final 30 seconds. Yes, it was a bad shot, but that's where the play was designed. It was simply defended well.
But if that's all you want to remember from Thomas in this game, then that's a ridiculous stance to take. He was the only consistent offensive threat for the Buckeyes, and his 23 points were a game high.
With this being William Buford's last home game, and likely Jared Sullinger's as well, there has been chatter that this could also be it for Thomas.
If that's the case, then it would be a great disappointment to everyone who wants to see what Thomas could do if he was this team's main scoring threat.
We've seen him score in a number of ways this season, and he has been a dominating scorer at times, but leaving for the NBA before he got to showcase his talents completely would be a mistake. He's just not ready.
Not to mention the fact that he would have to guard NBA small forwards, and he struggles to handle skilled power forwards in the Big Ten at the moment.
Thomas' stock can only go up with another year in college, but it just depends on whether or not he wants to put off the pay day.

Forced Thought

Some people criticize Jared Sullinger for forcing shots, and while I can't deny that he certainly does force shots, I tend to think much of it comes after being completely ignored on offense for a number of possessions in a row.
The cure for this would seem to be making sure that the Buckeyes don't go possessions without involving Sullinger in the offense.
I understand that the Buckeyes have same talented scorers, but they all need others to get them the ball in order for them to score. They realize that their offense is started by others, so they should also realize that their teammates need help from them to get their own offense going.
You would think this would bring about extra passes and passing up good shots for great shots. But if that was the case, the Buckeyes would never have a game with just ten assists.
This is not a selfish team, but that doesn't mean they couldn't stand to be more selfless. An extra pass gets more players involved and keeps them from feeling like they need to force a shot when they finally get the ball.
That being said, I think this team could also stand to have Thad Matta grab them by the neck and shake them every now and again.

Senior Thought

It's not a coincidence—William Buford starts the game 2-2 from the field and the Buckeyes are playing well early. He then proceeds to make two of his final nine shot attempts and the Buckeyes lose a close one.
It's a pretty perfect example of Ohio State's fortunes this season where Buford is concerned.
But this is not William Buford's loss, it's a team loss. It's just hard not to see the connection when the Buckeyes mirror Buford in actions and subsequent results.

Effort Thought

How many times did we see Jared Berggren take an open three while Jared Sullinger watched from the free throw line?
I'm puzzled by this. Sullinger isn't a shot blocker, and admittedly doesn't want to get into foul trouble, so he avoids contact when he can defensively. So why would he be sagging so far off of somebody like Berggren repeatedly?
The Buckeyes certainly paid for it as Berggren hit 3-7 threes, including a dagger
late, and scored 18 points, which was ten more than Sullinger scored.
I've talked about this before, but if Amir Williams isn't playing because he can't close out on the perimeter, how is that any different than what anybody else does in the front court?

Expensive Thought

Free throws are free, until you miss them. That's when they cost you.
The Buckeyes were 10-19 from the charity stripe and Sullinger and Craft combined to go 1-7.
I have always said that there is no excuse for a guard to not be a good shooter, and that's especially true at the free throw line.
Heck, look at Greg Oden's freshman season. He taught himself to shoot left-handed, and he did it fairly well. The only excuse for not being able to shoot is because you don't take it seriously enough.

Missing Thought

While everybody wants to talk about this team missing Jon Diebler's shooting touch, I contend that they'd be just fine if they had somebody who could pass into the post as well as he did.
Right now, passes into the post come under the Woody Hayes warning of "two of the three things that can happen are bad".

Final Thought

Isn't it amazing that a team ranked so highly can have so many issues? Or is it that all we're looking for right now are those issues, and so that's all we're finding?
There is no denying that this was a bad loss. However, no team is perfect, and certainly no team would pass a microscopic inspection looking for faults.
As I said, all a team has to do is win six games in a row. Last year, Connecticut lost four of their final five regular season games before winning eleven consecutive postseason games.
This is not a great shooting team, but it is a team that can get hot at the right time in order to survive and advance.
I do believe that this is a team that absolutely wants to get to the postseason, but I don't know if they'll be able to simply flip a switch like they apparently think they can.
Something tells me, however, that we won't have to wait too long to find out one way or the other.

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