Marshon Lattimore needs a friend, Ohio State and No. 20 Purdue will come down to the rebounding margin and more
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Today is Thursday, Jan. 5, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.
Close games the norm for Matta’s group
It was a familiar refrain from Ohio State coach Thad Matta.
“We had, I don’t want to say the same shots, but theirs went in and ours didn’t go in,” the Ohio State coach said Sunday after the Buckeyes’ five-point loss to Illinois. It’s been the story of the season so far, as the 10-4 have been in every game but one, the 13-point loss to UCLA on Dec. 17. The other losses before Sunday were by just two points each.
It’s all about executing down the stretch, to turn these close losses into wins.
“I want them, as we do for all of them, to analyze where we went wrong and what we didn’t do well and why we were in that position,” Matta said. “Thirteen years now in the Big Ten, I don’t know how many games have not come down to the last eight minutes of the game. So, we are going to be in those situations, and I’ve got to do a better job of finishing plays out.”
However, the mindset in the Ohio State locker room has not changed. Confidence is still there.
“Our mindset is not that we are defeated or anything,” Ohio State forward Marc Loving said. “We’ve been in all of the games that we have lost and there are some stretches where we feel like we beat ourselves.”
Knowing that there is work to do, Matta said his team, especially in the midst of very competitive conference play, needs to take it one game at a time.
— Ohio State Buckeyes (@OhioStAthletics) January 4, 2017
“The one thing I’ve learned over time here at Ohio State is every game is a big game,” Matta said. “Guys know what’s at stake and you don’t have to bring it up that much. They understand.”
Ohio State hosts No. 20 Purdue on Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET. (See below).
A lonely Buckeye
If an Ohio State fan has been under a rock for the past week and a half, they could read Marshon Lattimore’s Twitter feed to catch themselves up. It seems like the would-be No. 1 cornerback in the 2017 NFL Draft class, according to Todd McShay, has a lot to say, especially with many teammates from the Buckeye defense taking the next step.
After safety Malik Hooker declared for the draft, Lattimore made it known that he didn’t want to talk about anything regarding his football career.
If you hitting me up to talk about football, I don't wanna talk. Give me a few days to rest at least lol
— Marshon Lattimore (@shonrp2) January 3, 2017
However, since then, fellow cornerback Gareon Conley and linebacker Raekwon McMillan have each declared. Another couple of posts and a profile picture change later, Lattimore is not trying hard to hide his feelings.
Damn Kwon gone too pic.twitter.com/0vyiZNIGGu
— Marshon Lattimore (@shonrp2) January 4, 2017
Lattimore has still not announced whether he will stay at Ohio State or move on to the next level in 2017. You can keep track of him and the rest of the Buckeyes on Ohio State’s draft tracker to see whether they stay or go.
The battle of the boards against Purdue
Forward Marc Loving knows what this basketball team needs going into the home opener in Big Ten play.
“Right now, we are 0-1 in the Big Ten and it’s definitely something we need, a win under our belt,” Loving said.
With No. 20 Purdue (12-3, 1-1) coming to town, that may be easier said than done. The Boilermakers have scored at least 80 points in 11 of their 15 games this season, including 86 against No. 21 Notre Dame in their only win against a ranked opponent.
The Boilermakers have been led by forward and rebound freak Caleb Swanigan. The sophomore out of Fort Wayne, Ind., has had 20-plus rebounds in four games this season, including three of his last four games.
Swanigan is a high-percentage shooter from the floor, with a field goal percentage at 56.1 percent ,and has the ability to shoot from long range, shooting 40.7 percent from the 3-point line, even though it is not a big part of his game with only 27 attempts in 15 games.
???Matta on ? F Caleb Swanigan: He's playing & producing at a very high level. Everyone has to be aware of where he is & what he's doing. pic.twitter.com/228kTqC7ib
— Ohio State Buckeyes (@OhioStAthletics) January 4, 2017
However, the big part of Swanigan’s game is his freakish ability on the boards. He has only two games this season, with one against No. 1 Villanova, that he has had fewer than 10 rebounds.
Swanigan may be the big for the Buckeyes to watch out for, but he is not the center on the Boilermakers’ roster. Issac Haas and Swanigan may not play much together, according to Ohio State coach Thad Matta only 14 minutes or so per game, but he is another threat for rebounds. Haas is second on the team, averaging 13.9 points per game and averages 5.2 rebounds per game.
The double-big scheme that Purdue may use is not something Matta sees in every opponent.
“It is a bit unique,” Matta said. “You just don’t see it that often. That’s something that we may have to look at to combat.”
Rebounds are going to be a huge factor in this game for Ohio State. Losing the battle of the boards by seven against Illinois, center Trevor Thompson and forward Jae’Sean Tate will have to be busy down low if the Buckeyes want to keep up with the Boilermakers.
Do you have what it takes?
Fresh off of a 31-0 loss to Clemson, the Buckeyes are looking into the massive student body at The Ohio State University for help in the upcoming season.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) January 4, 2017
Who knows? Maybe this marching band member could be the next great kicker for the Buckeyes because of the tryout.
— OSU Marching Band (@TBDBITL) December 27, 2016