Ohio State-West Virginia: Lessons from the Buckeyes' Blowout Loss

Richard DeLanceyCorrespondent IDecember 28, 2008

"We weren't very good; it's just that simple."

In one sentence, Ohio State’s Thad Matta summed up his team’s uninspired performance Saturday in a loss to unranked West Virginia University.

The previously unbeaten Buckeyes laid a big egg on national television and in front of the home crowd at Value City Arena losing by a final score of 76–48.

Now the question arises: Were the Buckeyes overrated, or was West Virginia underrated? I think it was a little of both. 

Ohio State has quality wins against Butler, Notre Dame, and Miami spread around cupcakes such as Samford, Jacksonville, and Iona. 

Looking back, we may have seen the seeds of a giant “egg laying” were sewn in the Bowling Green game where they eked out just a four-point victory at home.

Bob Huggins' West Virginia Mountaineers have been hot and cold all season, blowing out cupcakes like Miami of Ohio and Samford and losing quality games to Kentucky and Davidson.

Additionally, they have wins over Mississippi and a Cleveland State squad that beat Syracuse.

If Ohio State’s win over Notre Dame propelled them into the top 25, West Virginia’s loss to Kentucky propelled them out. So in the end, what can we truly learn from yesterday’s game?

  1. Ohio State is not as good as many of us thought. If they play like they did yesterday against Michigan State, Minnesota, or Purdue they will get hammered.
  2. BJ Mullins has not lived up to the hype surrounding his freshman season. Yesterday’s four-point performance is indicative of his struggles.
  3. West Virginia can make some noise in the Big East this year. They are behind UConn, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh in terms of talent but on par with Notre Dame, Marquette, Louisville, and Villanova.
  4. West Virginia is a much better team with Alex Ruoff in the lineup. The loss to Davidson may have had as much to due with his DNP for injury than anything special Davidson did.


Game Notes

Ohio State hosts Iowa on New Year's Eve...West Virginia plays at Seton Hall next Saturday...Ohio State still leads the series with West Virginia, 9-6...Evan Turner had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Ohio State...The Buckeyes shot just 31 percent from the field, compared to 47.7 percent by West Virginia.