Ohio State enters Wednesday's game with Syracuse with a 2-0 record with a 91-68 win over UW-Green Bay and a 68-54 win over Columbia in the first two rounds of the Preseason NIT.
BUCKEYE OFFENSE: In those two games the Buckeyes ran a highly efficient offense, with a 122 rating, which means in 100 possessions they'd be expected to score 122 points. That's 14th in the nation right now, but when their opponents defensive strength of schedule is factored in, that rating drops to 105. Ohio State has held onto the ball very well this year, turning the ball over just 14% of the time. Syracuse turns the ball over 24% of the time. Ohio State only returns one legitimate three point threat from last year. Jamar Butler is 9-18 from three this year in two games. The rest of the team is just 8-26. The 2-3 Zone should work against OSU if Syracuse can make sure that they limit Butler's attempts from three. As long as the Orange do not let Butler try to shoot them out of the zone, they should be alright. The zone should also make OSU's 7 foot freshman center Kosta Koufus a non-factor. Another weakness for OSU's offense is their foul shooting. In two games, the Buckeyes shot a mere 61% from the line.
BUCKEYE DEFENSE: Ohio State's defense struggled against Columbia and UWGB in two aspects. The three point shot and an inability to force turnovers. They forced turnovers on only 13.9% of the opponents possessions, good for 330th in the nation. The three point shot accounted for 48% of OSU's opponents field goal attempts. OSU's effective three point FG% is good, but a high number of threes means an overall less efficient offense. The Adjusted efficiency rating for this defense is just 100.2. Two things OSU does well: Block shots and prevent offensive rebounds. The Buckeyes are 19th in the nation in percentage of opponents possessions that end in block shots (19%).
Overall, S.U. can win this game by playing an active two-three zone, letting OSU hoist threes as long as it's not Jamar Butler doing the shooting. The Orange also need to hold onto the ball and get good looks from three because OSU plays strong interior defense.
Thanks to Ken Pomeroy and Ohio State Athletics for the Statistics. Ken Pomeroy's blog can be found on the right.