Skip to content

No. 11 Illinois blows out No. 8 Ohio State at home

Jan 5, 2013, 4:50 PM EST

Brandon Paul, Aaron Craft

Brandon Paul led four players in double figures with 19 points as No. 11 Illinois beat up No. 8 Ohio State 74-55 in Champaign.

The Illini jumped all over Ohio State early, opening up a 25-13 lead in the first nine minutes and never looking back. At one point early in the second half, Illinois was up 56-31. This wasn’t just a win; Illinois thoroughly dominated in every aspect of the game. Calling the Buckeyes embarrassing would be an understatement.

Perhaps the most significant part of the win, however, is that the Illini were able to grow their lead without the benefit of the three-ball. Tracy Abrams hit a three on the second possession of the game, but it wasn’t until the Illini already had a double-digit lead that they hit their second three of the game. Instead, Illinois was able to put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim, both in the half court and in transition. Teams know that John Groce’s club likes to shoot threes, meaning that the defense isn’t going to be as likely to help off of the shooter. Taking advantage of those driving lanes will be key for Illinois this season.

And it should be noted that the Illini didn’t struggle from deep the entire game; they did hit seven of their last 16 after a 1-10 start.

As far as the Buckeyes are concerned, this performance should be very, very troubling.

Losing by 19 on the road is one thing. Losing as a top ten team that looks like they didn’t care about the fact that they were getting embarrassed on national television is a much bigger issue. Which is why this tweet from Mark Titus, a former walk-on with the Buckeyes, caught my eye:

Isn’t that supposed to be Aaron Craft’s job? Isn’t he the one that’s on the floor for his defense and his leadership? Isn’t that one of the biggest reasons that he’s considered by most to be one of the nation’s elite point guards?

Now I’m mostly spitballing here, but I am curious to see how people feel: If Craft isn’t going to be the kind of vocal and emotional leader that can get this group to snap out of a funk on the road, should Thad Matta start playing Shannon Scott more minutes as the primary ball-handler?

Calling Craft a liability offensively is unfair, but it is fair to say that the Buckeyes are going to have problems when he is the second-best scorer on the floor. Craft is a guy you want to be a facilitator and an opportunity scorer, not a guy that should be hunting shots.

Ohio State does not have a ton of offensive firepower outside Deshaun Thomas. Scott is a much more dynamic offensive player than Craft, and while few are as good as Craft is defensively, Scott is not that much of a drop-off.

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Latest Posts
  1. Lauren Hill surprises teammates, fans with another layup in her second college game (VIDEO)

    Nov 22, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

    Lauren Hill AP

    A tremendous story continues to get better as Lauren Hill surprised teammates and fans by checking into her second college basketball game and scoring again on Friday night.

  2. Late Night Snacks: No. 10 Texas wins the 2K Classic without Isaiah Taylor

    Nov 21, 2014, 11:55 PM EST

    AP AP

    Here is everything you need to know from Friday night hoops.

  3. The ‘Chaminade Crew’ and how Jonathan Holmes has changed the culture of Texas hoops

    Nov 21, 2014, 11:05 PM EST

    AP AP

    Like the rest of the 2011 recruiting class, Jonathan Holmes could have left Texas. Instead he made the decision to stay, and he and the Longhorns are better because of it.

  4. Early struggles of Syracuse, Kaleb Joseph example of the downside of early entry

    Nov 21, 2014, 8:48 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Syracuse is in this position because Tyler Ennis turned out to be better than anyone expected.

  5. UPDATE: Texas loses starting point guard to left wrist injury, out 4-6 weeks

    Nov 21, 2014, 8:00 PM EST

    Anthony Clemmons, Isaiah Taylor Anthony Clemmons, Isaiah Taylor

    Isaiah Taylor injured his left wrist on a hard fall with just over two minutes remaining in Texas’ win over Iowa Thursday night.

  6. UConn advances to Puerto Rico Tip-Off championship game with 75-64 win over Dayton

    Nov 21, 2014, 4:45 PM EST

    AP AP

    UConn will play the winner of Boston College-West Virginia.

  7. Burning Questions: If you could change one on-court rule in college basketball, what would it be?

    Nov 21, 2014, 4:30 PM EST

    ncb_g_shot_clock1x_600x600 Getty Images

    Let’s just say that we aren’t too fond of the current shot clock or the rules regarding hanging on the rim.

  8. Four-star power forward becomes Mississippi State’s second 2016 commitment

    Nov 21, 2014, 3:43 PM EST

    Rick Ray Rick Ray

    Mississippi State’s taken steps forward when it comes to improving the depth and talent in their program.

  9. Burning Questions: Who’s poised to surprise (or disappoint) people in the Big Ten?

    Nov 21, 2014, 1:53 PM EST

    Tom Izzo Tom Izzo

    Two of the four writers picked Indiana as a team that can surprise people in the Big Ten.

  10. Texas A&M receives good news regarding transfer guard

    Nov 21, 2014, 1:02 PM EST

    Danuel House Danuel House

    Less than a week after TaShawn Thomas was cleared to play, Danuel House received the good news regarding his waiver request.

  11. New Mexico point guard out indefinitely with left ankle injury

    Nov 21, 2014, 12:13 PM EST

    Cullen Neal Cullen Neal

    Cullen Neal leads the Lobos in scoring and is second in assists, so this is a big loss.

  12. Friday’s Pregame Shootaround: Ten ranked teams, including No. 1 Kentucky, in action

    Nov 21, 2014, 11:10 AM EST

    South Carolina State v Virginia Getty Images

    Also of note is George Washington’s trip to Charlottesville, and Dayton facing UConn in Puerto Rico.

  13. Minnesota, Temple included in next year’s Puerto Rico Tipoff field

    Nov 21, 2014, 9:52 AM EST

    Richard Pitino AP

    Both Miami (2007) and Minnesota (2010) have won the event in the past.