One of the best things about college basketball is the early season power conference match-ups. The Ohio State basketball team gets their first test of the college basketball season tonight as they welcome in No. 15 Texas A&M to the Schott in a Big Ten vs SEC clash.
This match-up with Texas A&M will be one of Ohio State’s toughest games all season. The Aggies returned 88.4% of their scoring from a season ago, which makes up four out of five starters that came back for this season.
Texas A&M returned one of the best guards in all of college basketball, and Preseason SEC Player of the Year in Wade Taylor IV. The Aggies were also predicted to finish second in the SEC according to their preseason rankings.
The Buckeyes have a chance to pull off a major upset in the first week of the college basketball season, and being on their home floor helps. Let’s break down what they need to do to pull off the upset tonight.
First, the Buckeyes need to pressure the Texas A&M backcourt.
Pressure the Texas A&M Backcourt
In Ohio State’s first true test of the season, they will have to go against one of the best backcourts in college basketball. Texas A&M returned their two best scorers from a season ago who just so happened to take up their backcourt spots.
Wade Taylor IV averaged 16.3 points per game on 39.6% shooting from the field. As mentioned earlier he is the Preseason SEC Player of the Year, he will be a tough match-up for the Buckeyes tonight. His backcourt running mate, Tyrece Radford, averaged 13.3 points per game on 38.6% from the field.
One important thing that these two guards do is they take care of the basketball. Last season they averaged a combined 4.4 turnovers a game, while the Aggies turned it over 12.3 times as a whole. With that said, Ohio State needs to force the ball out of Wade Taylor IV and Tyrece Radford’s hands.
My biggest key for the Buckeyes to win tonight is to intensify the pressure on Texas A&M’s backcourt. I think we’ll see Bruce Thornton and Roddy Gayle Jr take on the responsibilities of guarding the Aggies’ backcourt. They are two excellent defenders and can cause these two guards to either get rid of the ball or turn it over.
Next, the Buckeyes need to force turnovers on defense and take care of the ball on offense.