Feb 10, 2013, 4:12 PM EDT
You can’t fault Deshaun Thomas Sunday. The 6-7 junior scored 26 points, including going 8-of-9 from the free throw line in Ohio State’s 81-68 loss to No. 1 Indiana.
The cause for concern, though, is the point distribution.
Thomas will get his points, as those who lead a major conference in scoring will, but it is the complementary pieces like Aaron Craft, Lenzelle Smith, Jr., Sam Thompson, and LaQuinton Ross who need to step in and produce.
To Craft’s credit, he had 16 points, but Thomas still accounted for 38.2 percent of Ohio State’s total offensive output, even higher than his usual 27 percent portion of production. Thompson was just 2-of-8 from the floor. Smith, Jr. had six.
Ohio State should be pleased with the progress of Ross, who had 11 points, but the Buckeyes need more of a split like they had in their overtime loss to No. 3 Michigan earlier this week if they want to make a run in the NCAA tournament.
In that loss to Michigan, Thomas accounted for just 22.9 percent of the offensive, helped along by Ross, Craft, and Smith, Jr. in double figures, along with strong single-digit production from Amir Williams and Sam Thompson. It’s that balance that keeps the defensive-minded Buckeyes able to compete.
That is why it may be difficult for some to pick Ohio State to advance deep into March because it’s unclear whether the Buckeyes can string together a series of games against high-level competition with Thomas as the lone go-to scoring option and defense as the focus. This also hurts when Ohio State begins to slip behind, as it did Sunday against Indiana.
Thomas can only do so much. It would be asking a lot of a single player to dig a team out of a 10- or 15-point hole in an NCAA tournament game.
The Buckeyes return to the floor Thursday against Northwestern.
- Looking Forward: The eight most intriguing coaching hires of 2015 1
- John Calipari: ‘If you ask me if I’m ever going to platoon again, my answer is NO’ 6
- Looking Forward: Potential Breakout Stars in 2015-16 8
- How Jaylen Brown’s commitment made a huge impact on the finalists recruiting him 5
- UPDATED: 2015-2016 College Basketball Way-Too-Early Preseason Rankings 5
- Five-star wing Jaylen Brown commits to California 0
- With Billy Donovan headed to Oklahoma City, where does this leave Florida? 5
- Derek Anderson could not have been more wrong in his Calipari critique (12)
- CBT Roundtable: What rule would you change in college basketball? (11)
- Looking Forward: Potential Breakout Stars in 2015-16 (8)
- Report: Five-star small forward Jaylen Brown cuts list to four (6)
- John Calipari: ‘If you ask me if I’m ever going to platoon again, my answer is NO’ (6)