Three Ways For Ohio State to Beat Marquette

Posted by Brendan Brody on November 15th, 2013

After starting off the season 2-0, Ohio State will get its first big test on Saturday afternoon when it travels to Milwaukee to take on #17 Marquette. The Buckeyes struggled at home against Ohio University on Tuesday night, and will be in for a tough contest in taking on the preseason Big East favorites in their gym. The game is winnable, though, and here’s the three ways in which they can come away with a victory that should look really good in March:

Aaron Craft will need to have a big day defensively if Ohio State wants to steal a road win at Marquette.  (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Aaron Craft will need to have a big day defensively if Ohio State wants to steal a road win at Marquette. (Joe Robbins/Getty)

  1. Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott need to be absolute pests on the defensive end: With the Buckeyes employing a dual point guard starting lineup early with Scott stepping in for Sam Thompson, Thad Matta has chosen to go with a lineup he used quite a bit last year at the end of games. What this does is allow for two of the best perimeter defenders in all of a college basketball a chance to harass the opposing team’s point guard into turnovers. This is especially important Saturday because Derrick Wilson is stepping in for the graduated Junior Cadoughan. Wilson has been a 10-minute per game bench player, and this will be his first real test in dealing with elite ball pressure. I haven’t really acquainted myself with the guards of Southern or Grambling but I can safely assume they aren’t as good as what Wilson will see Saturday in Craft and Scott. If Ohio State can turn Wilson over, the Buckeyes will be able to get easy buckets in transition and eliminate a potential mismatch on the inside trying to handle Marquette’s post players.
  2. Amir Williams needs to stay out of foul trouble: In Davante Gardner and Chris Otule, the Golden Eagles have two post players who have been extremely active early in the season. Between the two of them, they have shot a ridiculous 42 free throws combined. Williams needs to avoid silly fouls that will result in putting him on the bench. If Ohio State has to play Trey McDonald for a long spell, or if Marquette can get both McDonald and Williams into early foul trouble, then it will be a long day for the Buckeyes. Marquette has the advantage here, but if Williams can at a minimum just hold serve and stay on the floor, then this will go a long way toward eliminating the potential for easy points in the paint and trips to the free throw line.
  3. LaQuinton Ross needs to live up to the hype: Ross made the preseason Wooden Award watch list, but he’s started off the season quote cold. He’s at 33 percent from the field so far, and he needs to have a Deshaun Thomas type of effort here. Jamil Wilson and Steve Taylor both match up well physically with Ross and have the potential to cause him problems. If he can’t get things going, then it’s going to be up to Lenzelle Smith and Thompson to provide scoring, which is not something they’ve consistently done throughout their tenure in Columbus.

All in all this should be a great game, and if Ohio State can accomplish the three things mentioned, they will be off to another great start in the 2013-14 campaign. Barring a major upset, the only thing standing in their way of a 13-0 non-conference record with a win on Saturday would be games against Maryland at home and a neutral site clash with Notre Dame.

Brendan Brody (307 Posts)

Brendan Brody is in his fourth season covering the Big Ten for RTC. Email him at, or follow him on twitter @berndon4.

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