It was clear from the starting lineup that Ohio State’s game at Iowa on Saturday wasn’t going to be like any other this season. Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann juggled his lineup, resulting in the most varied game of the season.
It didn’t produce a win, but it was a marked change from what we’d seen in the first 15 games. Here’s what the analysis tells us about the lineups Holtmann used against the Hawkeyes.
*First, the starting lineup of Luther Muhammad, Keyshawn Woods, Andre Wesson, Kyle Young and Kaleb Wesson has not been heavily used this year. That group had appeared together in only two games, totaling 2:43 and scoring six points while also allowing six. This lineup would only play for the first 2:04 and get a Woods basket – his only of the game – to take a 2-0 lead before Musa Jallow was the first substitution of the game, replacing Young.
*That lineup only saw 32 seconds of playing time, though, because Kaleb Wesson picked up his second foul with 17:24 to go and was lifted for Jaedon LeDee. This lineup of Jallow, LeDee, Muhammad, Andre Wesson and Woods hadn’t played together since the Minnesota game, and in 2:39, it was outscored 8-5.
*C.J. Jackson first checked in with 14:45 left in the half and the Iowa lead at 10-7. Young returned to the game, too, giving the Buckeyes a never-before-used lineup of Jackson, Jallow, LeDee, Muhammad and Young.
*Duane Washington Jr. replaced Muhammad with 13:07 to play. The lineup of Jackson, Washington, Jallow, Young and LeDee had totaled 1:10 of playing time in the win against Cleveland State, but it played for 2:54 and outscored Iowa 8-2 to build a 17-13 lead. Jallow hit back-to-back threes and LeDee scored in the paint before freshman Justin Ahrens replaced Jallow with 10:13 left in the half. This lineup had never been used before, and it allowed a 5-0 run during the next 2:44 before the Wesson brothers replaced LeDee and Young with 7:29 left in the half.
*A lineup of Jackson, Muhammad, Ahrens, Young and LeDee played the final 1:54 of the half and had a 4-2 run to take a 26-24 lead into the break. That lineup, too, had never been used before.
*Ohio State used three new lineups during the first half alone. It had used zero against Rutgers and two against Michigan State. The two starting lineups that had rotated through the prior seven games were not used at all.
*The same starters opened the second half, where they scored four points and allowed six in the first 2:37 before LeDee replaced Kaleb Wesson.
*Iowa’s Luka Garza got rolling with a personal 7-0 to give the Hawkeyes the lead for good. The final five points of that came against a new Ohio State lineup of Woods, Muhammad, Jallow, Young and LeDee, which was outscored 5-0 in only 1:17.
*With 14:35 left and Iowa leading 38-33, Ohio State went with a lineup of Jackson, Muhammad, Jallow, LeDee and Kaleb Wesson. This new lineup, which featured LeDee and Wesson on the court together for the first time this year, got the Buckeyes within four with a modest 5-4 run during the next 2:11 to make it a 42-38 Iowa lead.
*None of them saw lengthy shifts, but the Buckeyes used six straight new lineups during the second half.
*Down 55-45 with 6:56 left, a lineup of Muhammad, Woods, Jallow, Young and Kaleb Wesson was outscored 6-0 as Iowa pushed it out of reach to take a 16-point lead with five minutes to play. During that stretch, the Buckeyes turned it over three times and had Muhammad and Wesson miss jumpers.
*This was the first time the lineup of Jackson, Muhammad, Andre Wesson, Young and Kaleb Wesson appeared together: down 16 with 4:49 to play. The group had started the Rutgers game. Against Iowa, it had a 6-2 run to pull the Buckeyes within 63-51 with 2:37 to play.
*Down the stretch, Holtmann was swapping Young and Ahrens to go offense-defense: the freshman on offense, the sophomore on defense.
*Then it expanded: Young and Jallow in for defense, Ahrens and Kaleb Wesson in for offense.
*In all, Ohio State used 24 different lineups. Ten of them had not been used this season. Both figures are season-high totals for the Buckeyes.