Chris Holtmann’s basketball Buckeyes have won six straight games and nine of their last 10, including wins over ranked teams Rutgers, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa
The spectacular and somewhat shocking run helped Ohio State advance to the Big Ten regular season title with an 11-4 record with five games to go. The homestretch starts tonight at Penn State before things get wild at home against No.3-ranked No.1 Michigan and Big Ten leader on Sunday afternoon.
Ohio State’s superb run hinges on an offense that scored ranked in the nation’s top five in adjusted offensive efficiency A fairly modest three-player average in double-digit points per game with EJ Liddell leading the charge (151) followed by Duane Washington (146) and Judge Sueing (107)
Digging a little deeper, here are five more steps that lead Ohio State to a possible Big Ten title and No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Freshman pivot Zed Key has been nothing short of sensational fulfilling his role, averaging 6 3 points and 39 rebounds in just 128 minutes per game He’s playing on his own, as evidenced by his 649% shooting from the floor , and apparently still comes off the bench and grabs an automatic two after using his bottom to create space for an entry pass straight under the hoop He then, ho-hum, spins back and forth to finish with the one or the other hand to announce his presence
Beyond opportune points and energy, Key is already the team’s most productive rebounder Yes, EJ Liddell (67), Kyle Young (59) and Judge Sueing (58) average more rips per match, but no Buckeye comes close to Key when it comes to measuring rebounds per minute, which is a necessary way to watch his production given the trio average between 26-28 minutes per game while Key saves less than half
Across 21 games, Key is pulling down 30 rebounds per minute, well ahead of the pace set by Liddell (24), Young (22) and Sueing (21)
Better yet, Key dominated the offensive glass, averaging 14 offensive rebounds per minute compared to 06 each for Liddell, Young and Sueing.In fact, Key’s comparators are actually Kofi Cockburn of Illinois and Trevion Williams of Purdue, aka the top two rebounders in the league per game Williams edges the key with 15 offensive boards per minute while Cockburn sits behind him at 12 per minute No bad company
Senior forward Kyle Young has been playing like a cautious vet for years.He doesn’t usually try to do things the team don’t need him and he has really developed some choice moves around the basket, especially a small soft hook when it turns to its left of the lower right block / baseline area
He willingly does the dirty work, typically leading to at least one ugly spill per game, and ranks second on the team in rebounds per game at 59
Another thing Young does that isn’t often talked about is rarely making a bad decision with the ball Young hasn’t returned it once in the last three games (91 minutes) and hasn’t returned it for more than ‘once in any of the 21 games this season In thirteen different games so far this year, his stats line has shown no revenue
In fact, Young has returned it two or more times in a game only twice in his last 51 games dating back to March of the 2018-19 season.
Look, I get it, he’s not the playmaker so it’s not like he has the ball in his hands a ton, but Young has just eight turnovers against 22 assists so far. this season For comparison, his base colleague Liddell has achieved 27 turnovers against 23 assists at this point in the season
Almost every game the announcers remind us that CJ Walker is a sniper from the free throw line and rightly so, as the main point guard buried 952% of his attempts (59 of 62) Perhaps more mind-blowing is that 41% of his total points come from the strip so far this year
But Walker isn’t the only one shooting well from the free throw line and collectively the Buckeyes have done a great job winning trips to the charity strip.
Four different Buckeyes in Holtmann’s rotation shoot over 80% of the line, including Walker, Seth Towns (889%), Duane Washington (879%) and Kyle Young (826%) EJ Liddell shoots a respectable 759% and leads the team with 82 points from the line
Throw it all in a pot and Ohio State ranks No.6 in the country with 174 free throws per game and no.2 with 251 free throws made per 100 possessions Team 77’s 2% accuracy from the ranks of No 24 band in the country
It’s crazy to think of how Justin Ahrens was apparently fighting for his place in the pecking order among the Reserves as recently as last summer. Now the junior from Versailles, Ohio is a starter on the No 4 ranked teams
Similar to Walker’s free-throw prowess, the reality that Ahrens has only made two 2-point field goals so far this year is a fact announcers can’t wait to share. This is indeed a savage statistic, but what’s more savage is the fact that Ahrens shoots 469% of the city center in 46 out of 98 shoots so far this season.
If he can keep his current pace, he will come right behind Jon Diebler in the Ohio State record books for a three-point accuracy in a single season. Diebler buried 502% of his tries in 2010-11 Currently in second place, William Buckets has drained 442% of his three-point tries alongside Diebler that same season
Ahrens has at least one three points in 12 straight games and 18 of 21 games so far this season He has made at least three triples in nine different games
His precision trajectory is also Diebler-esque Ahrens makes 388% as a rookie, increased that number to 404% in sophomore and now sits at 469% in 21 games this season Diebler shooting 289% in freshman, 416% a year later, 420% as a junior and finally 502% as a cunning senior
I still can’t believe how much Ahrens has contributed to the success of this current team Confidence (and preparation of course) is one hell of a medicine
Valuing basketball was not a hallmark of Holtmann’s top three teams at Columbus, but this year things are turning in a different direction
After ranking anywhere from No 72 to No 139 in turnover per game in Holtmann’s first three years, the 2020-21 Buckeyes are averaging just 103 turnovers per contest, good for No 8 in the country and not 3 in the Big Ten
Likewise, the Ohio State locations No 8 nationally in revenue per offensive play at 132% with just 113% over the last three games Last year? No 179 to 166%
Taking care of basketball at an elite level certainly plays a role in Ohio State’s overall offensive effectiveness.
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Men’s basketball Ohio State Buckeyes, Chris Holtmann, Penn State Nittany Lions football, Big Ten Conference, Basketball
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