Ohio State got back in the win column on Sunday. It was a game that wasn’t what you’d watch your kid for a basketball clinic, but OSU did what it needed to win a slow and scrappy type of game against the Penn State Nittany Lions.
As with any game, there are some things we can take from what we saw with all the action on the hardwood, and we’re going to do our level best to make sense of what we saw in this key Big Ten matchup. It might have looked like a game the Buckeyes were lucky to win, but there are some good things to take out of this result.
Here are three things we think we learned about this Ohio State basketball team as we watched all the action this weekend.
Live and die by the three point shot?
E.J. Liddell shoots past Penn State’s Greg Lee during the first half of the Ohio State vs. Penn State men’s basketball game Sunday, January 16, 2022, at the Value City Arena in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Shooting woes from beyond the arc have surfaced
For two games now, Ohio State’s ability to knock things down from beyond the arc has not been up to the level we saw it prior to the COVID-19 shutdown. This team was one of the best shooting teams in the country up until recently, but we’ve now seen some struggles in that department for two-straight games.
It’s an obvious statement to say that things are going to go better if the team can get back to the level of knocking down three-pointers like before, but we’ll just have to see whether this continues as a trend or is just a short-lived issue.
Ohio State is still getting back into condition after a long layoff
Jan 16, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes forward Zed Key (23) posts with Penn State Nittany Lions forward John Harrar (21) during the second half at Value City Arena. Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
The team still looks like its getting its conditioning back
Do you know what leads to poor shooting? Tired legs, that’s what. In fact, if you watched some of OSU’s missed free throws on Sunday, many were missed short — especially E.J. Liddell’s. What goes first in shooting form when conditioning isn’t where it needs to be is the legs. If you don’t get the push from the legs, shots end up short and off-target.
Ohio State looks like it is still getting its conditioning and playing shape back after the long COVID-19 layoff. If so, that’s good news and bodes well for the future once the players shake off the rust and conditioning.
This team can win in multiple ways
Kyle Young recovers a turnover during the second half of the Ohio State vs. Penn State men’s basketball game Sunday, January 16, 2022, at the Value City Arena in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Ohio State has ability to win in different ways, even ugly
The good news for Ohio State is that it can play a lot of different styles. It can go inside, it can go outside when the shots are falling. It can open up the floor and play isolation games, and it can muck things up and win ugly.
This is a deep team with a varied skill set, and that’s before head coach Chris Holtmann has a couple of other chess pieces back when Seth Towns and Justice Sueing back. The Buckeyes won today because of being able to play ugly, but it can also match up with about any style any Big Ten team can employ.