Jared Sullinger's key role for OSU
It's hard to replace a national POY (Evan Turner), but the Buckeyes are doing just fine
If you ever thought it was easy to replace a national POY, go ask Oklahoma Sooners head coach Jeff Capel about life after Blake Griffin. The same could have been said for Thad Matta and the Ohio State Buckeyes this year -- Evan Turner was national POY as a junior, and is now a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Turner did everything for the Buckeyes last year: He was their point guard, their featured scorer and far and away their best defensive rebounder. The ball was more or less always in his hands. Take every cliché about the difficulty of replacing your point guard and add every stock phrase about the challenge of losing your leading scorer. Then multiply by five. That was the task facing Thad Matta this year.
And yet, here we are: The Buckeyes are 10-0 and No. 2 in the country; they trail only the Duke Blue Devils in the polls.
To be sure, it's still December. Ohio State's schedule has been, for lack of a better term, uneven. That 18-point win on the road at Florida in mid-November seemed like a big deal at the time. But now that Jacksonville has also beaten the Gators in Gainesville, maybe a convincing win at the O'Connell Center's not such a great measuring stick after all.
To read Gasaway's full take, you need to be an ESPN Insider.
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John Gasaway's 'Poll Position'
John Gasaway has written for Basketball Prospectus since its inception in 2007. His college hoops commentary appears weekly on ESPN Insider. John's writing has also appeared at SportsIllustrated.com, as well as in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Playboy.