MAC favorite Ohio University beat Ohio State 74-68 in Columbus Sunday.
What can Kent State, which plays Ohio State at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the M.A.C. Center, learn from that game?
The two biggest lessons are, perhaps:
- A MAC team can indeed beat the Buckeyes.
- Ohio State will come to Kent determined to make sure it doesn’t happen twice in a row.
I watched the game on television Sunday. Here are some thoughts about how Ohio won and how that might relate to Kent State.
- Ohio is almost certainly a better team than Kent State is. The Bobcats won 30 games last season and have almost all of their key players back. Kent State won 20, has a lot of players back but starts two freshmen. Ohio State won 15 last season and is a very different team with one of the best freshman classes in the country.
- The Flashes did play Ohio almost evenly last year, losing both games by two points (though KSU scored at the buzzer at one game to make it look a little closer than it was).
- Much like Kent State, Ohio State isn’t a mature team yet. The Buckeyes have even more new players than KSU, and they didn’t look smooth and consistent on offense and defense. Kent State coach Todd Starkey has said the same thing about his team all season.
- The Ohio-OSU game had 46 fouls and 34 turnovers. That worked to Ohio’s advantage, I think, as Ohio State didn’t get into much of an offensive flow. It reminded me a little of Kent State’s first quarter against Michigan Friday, when the Flashes took at 16-12 lead. Michigan did its thing for the rest of the game and blew out the Flashes 88-53.
- Ohio forced 20 turnovers and outscored the Buckeyes by three points off of turnovers. Until Saturday, Kent State had been doing very well in the turnover department. But against Purdue Fort Wayne, perhaps the weakest of the four teams KSU has played, the Flashes made 22.
- A number of those turnovers came against a Fort Wayne press, the first time KSU had seen a full-court defense this season. I’m sure Ohio State saw the film. The Buckeyes successfully pressed Ohio late in the fourth quarter. KSU is going to have to prove it can beat it.
- Ohio took control of the game when it made six-of-seven 3-point shots in the third quarter. Kent State hasn’t had a good 3-point game since its opener at Duquesne, Since then the Flashes are 14 of 56. They were one of 11 in the first half against Michigan. Akron’s 3-points shooting against Michigan was much better and the game much closer — 80-71 Michigan.
- So the Flashes are going to need to shoot better behind the arc. Ohio shot 33% for the game against Ohio State, and in Ohio State’s first two wins, the Buckeyes held Valparaiso and Cincinnati to four of 42 three-pointers.
- Ohio State made just four of 21 three-point shots against the Bobcats and are shooting about 31% for the season. Another reason Akron played so much closer to Michigan was that the Wolverines made far fewer 3-pointers themselves. Kent State’s 3-point defense has been average this season.
- Ohio played good defense for most of the game, holding Ohio State to 36.2%. Kent State hasn’t played good defense for more than two quarters in any game, and KSU opponents are making 46.7% of their shots. If Ohio State does that, KSU won’t have much of a chance.
- Ohio State has a lot of talent, but it was inconsistent. Star recruit Kierstan Bell of Canton McKinley looked terrific in spots and disappeared in others. A bigger worry is 6-4 forward Dorka Juhasz, a preseason all-Big Ten selection. She had 16 rebounds but was four-of-13 shooting.
- Ohio has about the same size as Kent State and was outrebounded by Ohio State 50-41. Michigan is bigger than Ohio State and outrebounded the Flashes 45-28.
I have no huge conclusions other than Thursday’s game at the M.A.C.C. — one of the most intriguing matchups in the 30 years I’ve followed KSU women’s basketball — just got even a little more interesting.
Here’s story on Ohio-OSU game from Columbus Dispatch. Author is Henry Palattella, last year’s sports editor of the Kent Stater, who is now working for the Dispatch. Somehow Ohio State player’s name got dropped toward the end of the story. I’m pretty sure it was Dorka Juhasz, the Buckeyes’ 6-4 forward.
Link to Kent State website with links to roster, statistics and more. Thursday game is doubleheader with the men, who play Division II Concord at 4:30. One ticket gets you in both games.