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You’re Nuts: Should Ohio State go with a three-guard lineup?

Chris Holtmann could go in one of several directions with Ohio State’s first lineup on Nov. 6.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Ohio State Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, take a deep breath. Ohio State men’s and women’s basketball media days are now complete. The schedules are out, with tip times and TV broadcast assignments coming out literally any hour now (heck, they might even be out by the time this publishes). We’re inching towards the halfway point of the college football schedule, which means basketball is merely weeks away.

Last week, Connor and Justin set an over/under of 13.5 Big Ten wins for the Ohio State men’s basketball team. Connor went under that number, while Justin took the over. The people sided with Connor, but barely. 55% of voters went with under, and 45% went with the over.

After 119 weeks:

Connor- 54
Justin- 48
Other- 13

(There have been four ties)

Now that we’ve met all the players at media day and practice has started, we can really start counting down the days until games begin. Ohio State has three clear starters on their hands: Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle, and Jamison Battle. One of Zed Key or Felix Okpara will start at center, and your guess is as good as ours who the fifth starter will be.

One option is to put one of the freshmen in, like Scotty Middleton or Devin Royal. Or, the Buckeyes could start former guard Dale Bonner and employ a three-guard lineup. While not totally uncommon, it’s not something Chris Holtmann’s teams have done too often this he got here.

Could this be the year they run more consistently with three guards?

Today’s Question: Should Ohio State go with a three-guard lineup?

Connor: No

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I am simply too high on both Scotty Middleton and Devin Royal to not throw one of them into the starting lineup against Oakland on Nov.r 6. My personal preference would be to start Middleton, but Royal would also be fun, and having a Columbus kid be a day-one starter for the Ohio State Buckeyes would be a pretty cool story.

To me, both Middleton and Royal are eventual NBA draftees. It probably won’t be this year, but down the road both of these guys are going to be playing at the next level. I think both Middleton and Royal add some length to the lineup in the middle, and I think both can hold their own on the defensive end. Middleton, specifically, is expected to do more than just hold his own on the defensive end. The last two players to come into the program with this much hype about their on-ball defense were Luther Muhammad and Aaron Craft.

Second, and this is not a personal shot at Dale Bonner, he’s not very big. If you’re going to play a third guard, you’d like him to be someone a bit bigger who can switch effectively and guard multiple positions. At 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds, I’m not sure if Dale Bonner fits that bill. As good of a defender as he is (allegedly), the Baylor transfer doesn’t bring much size to the lineup, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say his offensive contributions will be right in line with those of Middleton or Royal. Bonner averaged 4.7 points per game last season at Baylor off the bench. He’ll be a useful player for this team, but I don’t expect gaudy numbers.

I’m in favor of a bigger lineup, probably with Middleton at the three. Him alongside Roddy Gayle and (potentially) Felix Okpara would propel a much-improved Ohio State defense this year.

Justin: Yes

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament Quarterfinals - Baylor vs Iowa State Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

I think this is somewhat of a moot point because the starting lineup will change and evolve over time. However, to start the season, I think this is a solid idea for several reasons.

The starting lineup for the first game should be Bruce Thornton-Dale Bonner-Roddy Gayle-Jamison Battle-Zed Key/Felix Okpara (I haven’t made my decision about the center position yet, but I do lean Key because of the experience and offensive upside). Here is my reasoning for Bonner starting as a third guard and starting Gayle at the three:

First, Bonner is a defensive stalwart. He can shut down any guard they play with his on-ball defense, which the Buckeyes have desperately needed — especially if they run out a lineup of Thornton, Gayle, Battle, and Key, that is enough offense that you can start Bonner and let him solely focus on the other team’s best offensive guard.

I am not a fan of a true freshman starting unless you need them, so I would like to see Taison Chatman and Scottie Middleton come off the bench to start. They both will likely be starters sooner rather than later, but for now, it would be ideal to see them get their minutes off the bench without the starting pressure.

Also, Chatman dealt with an injury in the offseason, so he will likely need some game time under his belt to get back to game speed, and starting would be a bad way to get that.

Evan Mahaffey could start at the three, and I wouldn’t be opposed to that, but I think Bonner brings you slightly more versatility. At least to start, I would like to see Bonner starting and evaluating it as the season progresses.


Should Ohio State go with a three-guard lineup?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Yes (Justin)
    (8 votes)
  • 78%
    No (Connor)
    (30 votes)
38 votes total Vote Now