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Advance look at Ohio State: An opposing coach assesses the Buckeyes

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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LaQuinton Ross will be key for Ohio State this year (Getty Images)

In the "Advance Look" series, Yahoo Sports will ask coaches who have faced some of the nation's top teams in preseason exhibition games to share their post-game thoughts and a scouting report. Up next: Walsh University coach Jeff Young on Ohio State

Walsh University coach Jeff Young has faced Ohio State in exhibition play each of the past seven seasons.

He believes this year's Buckeyes are every bit as good as any of the previous versions.

Ohio State impressed Young with its balanced offense and aggressive defense Sunday afternoon in roaring to a 93-63 victory. Five Buckeyes scored at least 12 points with forward LaQuinton Ross and guard Lenzelle Smith leading the way with 15 apiece.

Below are Young's thoughts on Ohio State. He addresses the Buckeyes' ability to find a go-to scorer to replace Deshaun Thomas, how Aaron Craft will fare with the new rules cracking down on hand-checking and whether LaQuinton Ross is poised to pick up where he left off in the NCAA tournament.

Walsh University coach Jeff Young:

1. The big question for Ohio State is whether they can replace [Deshaun] Thomas, but I think they'll be more well-rounded. The scoring will be distributed among five or six guys as opposed to counting so much on him. That was my impression after the game. I think they had seven guys in double figures. It can work both ways. It's nice to have a go-to guy who you know you can count on, but they were a little harder to guard because they had more scoring options than in the past.

2. Ross played well against us. He scored it in and out. He has good length. If he's consistent all year, he's going to make them pretty good. Last year was a good year for him and he certainly had a breaking out moment at the end of the season. He built some confidence and learned what it's going to take to be consistent. I certainly think he'll be much better from start to finish than he was last year.

3. The same things impress me about Craft now that impressed me when he was a freshman. He's a heck of a competitor, a great defender, a good leader. He can make a play when you need him to. He's not going to force anything. He'll turn the other point guard over five or six times a game and create easy scoring opportunities for his teammates. His game doesn't change. It just gets better and better every year.

4. It remains to be seen [how the new hand-checking rules effect Craft.] We've seen 100 free throws shot in an exhibition game and we've seen normally officiated games. It could effect him if they're going to call 100 fouls, but he's such a smart player and he'll adjust his game. I don't see it being much of an issue.

5. Lenzelle Smith has another year under his belt and understands a lot of what they do is going to go through Craft and him. He didn't force anything. He let the game come to him. I think he can be a 20-point scorer one night and settle into his role and have 12 to 13 another night and be good with that.

6. This team kind of reminds me defensively of the teams they had with [David] Lighty and Daequan Cook. They were so long on the wings, you had trouble getting into anything. They cover so much ground with their athleticism and they play above the rim. They take you out of things. Last year we were able to run offense. This year we never did get organized and that's a tribute to how they play. You might be able to make threes against them, but we didn't do a good job of that. For us, once we attacked the rim, our size was a little less than what they'll see in the Big Ten, so they were blocking shots. It's a different level, but if they can protect the paint, I think they're as good as anybody defensively.

7. Last year when they had Thomas, you tried to take away some things from him. This year, they have five guys out there who can score the ball at anytime. All we tried to do was try to get back in transition, try to keep them off the glass and limit their scoring opportunities in transition, but obviously we didn't do a very good job of that.

More from the Advance Look Series:

An opposing coach breaks down Louisville
An opposing coach breaks down Arizona
An opposing coach breaks down Michigan State
An opposing coach breaks down UCLA
An opposing coach breaks down Oklahoma State

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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