We all know that the Ohio State Buckeyes can go very deep on their bench in each and every game, the problem has been will coach Thad Matta allow that to happen. There's no question that the Buckeyes have an abundance of talent, but will they get enough experience to use their talent this season?
Starting with the starting five; Craft, Smith Jr., Buford, Thomas, and Sullinger, the Basketball Buckeyes boast one of the most dominant defensive starting fives in the nation. These five players will just smother you on your side of the court.
When you look at the Buckeyes bench players, ask yourself exactly how much talent do they have and will Thad Matta use this talent that he has.
The first two players off the bench don't have much experience in the Ohio State system, but sophomore guard Jordan Sibert and junior big man Evan Ravenel have been a Buckeye for two years. These two players are more than capable of playing at a high level and defending the basketball.
After those two, the Buckeyes have been hesitant to use the last sophomore of the bunch from last season, but he is slowly carving a name for himself and getting increased minutes. Sophomore forward J.D. Weatherspoon can leap with the best, it's his defense that has lacked since his freshman year, once Thad Matta had the confidence to stick him in there J.D. showed that he can play the type of defense Buckeye basketball requires.
Then, once all of those players have entered the game, not all at the same time, you have five freshman who are all capable of playing the game Thad Matta wants them to play.
Out of this group of freshman the first two normally off of the bench are point guard Shannon Scott and shooting guard Sam Thompson. Both have shown an inept ability to defend the basketball and are slowly but surely easing into the offensive side of Big Ten basketball.
If you are concern about the lack of big fellows, don't be, next up is 6'10" center from Battle Creek, Michigan, Amir Williams, who seems to be getting acclimated slowly to the college game of basketball.
Also, please keep in mind that the most talented of the five new freshman, LaQuinton Ross, was late to the party and is hitting the ground running, learning to play team defense and take care of the basketball.
Thad Matta has been very stingy in handing out minutes to the young Buckeyes, but their work load is sure to increase down the stretch run, simply because no player in America is built to play 40 minutes a game for that long of a period of time.
Thad Matta is going to have to use his bench as a crutch and lean on them, because as talented as his starting five are, they will all at some point be required to sit down and take a breather, whether it just be for a blow, or foul trouble, it will happen.
These young guys are getting more and more experience and that will be good for the young Buckeyes down the stretch.
The Ohio State Buckeyes have one of the deepest teams in the country, will Thad Matta attempt to use every bit of the talent at his disposal, that is the question. For a coach who is known to shorten his bench when in a tight game, he can't do that this season if he wants to take his team to the next step in their development.
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