After another fairly one sided affair, Thad Matta's now less than 20 wins shy from becoming the all-time winningest coach in Ohio State basketball history. Matta's Buckeyes looked to be perhaps peering ahead to tomorrow's holiday in the early goings, but behind a stout performance on both ends of the court, cruised to an easy win over hapless Campbell.
Led by D'Angelo Russell and Shannon Scott on the offensive end of things, the Bucks broke out to a double digit lead after a somewhat lethargic start out the gates and never particularly looked back. The defense mostly answered the call as well, but a few mental lapses enabled Campbell to get some looks (and makes) in an ideal world they shouldn't have had.
But any questions Matta, Jeff Boals, and co. have about their team will have to wait for another day to be answered. The Bucks welcome in James Madison Friday, a team nearly a 100 spot higher in the KenPom rankings than the Camels, but won't really know what they have more definitively until Tuesday's Big Ten-ACC Challenge matchup against Louisville.
3 things we learned:
1. Marc Loving's newfound confidence will be huge moving forward. Though it was a theatrical trailer at best, Marc Loving showed an aggressiveness and focus we hadn't seen often prior to this season. Loving led the way for the Bucks in the first two thirds of the game both at the rim and in the scoring category. Continuing this level of productivity will just make the Buckeyes that much more dangerous.
With the minutes in the second half more being reserved to experiment with a variety of groups and get some additional differing tiers of guys comfortable playing together, Loving wasn't quite able to sustain his early hot start. But what we got in the time that we did is more than enough to know that the best is truly yet to come for the talented Toledo product.
2. The zone giveth and it taketh away. The zone experiment continues to be an interesting albeit promising one. When it works, it works like gangbusters. But at times, the Bucks either seemed unable or unwilling to extend to zone to some open opposing shooters.
A few of the rotations left much to be desired, though some of that can be attributed to the difficulty of maintaining a high level of play up over 20 for much of the second half.
Ohio State notably though was able to force more than their fair share of turnovers and even forced multiple shot clock violations during particularly lock down stretches. It'll be important to see how effective the new scheme is against a more talented offensive team.
3. Our years long shooting drought is finally over. The Buckeyes are no longer beholden to one sharp shooter, or in the case of the 2013-2014 edition of the Ohio State men's basketball team, some fraction of one depending on the night.
Russell's totals came on the heels of a high percentage, high efficiency shooting evening, and the rest of the team joined in the act to be at or around 60% shooting from the field almost the entirety of the night. All five of Ohio State's starters finished in double figures scoring for the first time since Feb. 6, 2011 vs. Minnesota.
Not unlike seeing how the zone scales against the highest caliber of basketball talent, seeing if this team can sustain this level of shooting once the defensive level of difficult increases exponentially will tell a lot about how far this edition of Buckeyes basketball can go come March.