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Jan. 9, 2009
Ohio State (10-3) vs. Houston Baptist (1-15)
Site:                      Value City Arena (19,049)
Game Time:           7 p.m.
Television:             Big Ten Network
Talent:                   Tom Hamilton (Play by Play)
                              Bill Hosket (Expert Analysis)
Radio:                   OSU Radio Network (60 stations)
Local Radio:         WBNS FM-97.1 AM-1460
Radio Talent:        Paul Keels (P-by-P)
                            Ron Stokes (Expert Analysis)

2008-09 Non-conference record among Matta’s best
 Since Thad Matta took over the Ohio State men’s basketball program at the start of the 2004-05 season, the Buckeyes have a record of 52-10 in regular season non-conference play. The 9-1 record heading into the final non-Big Ten game of the regular season this year is the second best effort during Matta’s tenure. The 2005-06 team was 11-0 in non-conference play before postseason play.
Year            Non-Conf. Rcd  Overall Rcd. Postseason
2004-05                  11-3             20-12     Not eligible
2005-06                  11-0             26-6       NCAA 2nd Rnd.
2006-07                  12-2             35-4       NCAA Title Game
2007-08                    9-4            24-13      NIT Champs
2008-09                    9-1            10-3        —
Totals                      52-10         135-38

Turner, Sophomores, Lead Buckeyes
 Sophomore Evan Turner has been the constant for Ohio State to date this season. He is the team’s leading scorer with 16.0 ppg. His 7.3 rebounds a game, 33 assists, 31 steals, 208 points, 446 minutes, 71 field goals and 59 free throws all lead the Buckeyes this season. Classmate Jon Diebler is second in minutes (446), field goals (46), free throws (22), steals (18) and points 148/11.4 ppg.). Diebler is the leading 3-point shooter with 34 makes on 85 attempts (.400). Another sophomore, Dallas Lauderdale, is one of the nation’s top shot blockers with a team and Big Ten leading 38 swats on the year. He also leads the team in field goal percentage at 66 percent (33-50).
 
Diebler Heats up in Big Ten Play
 Sophomore Jon Diebler has made 15-of-33 field goals in the three Big Ten games to date. He has connected on 13-of-27 3-pointers (.481) in those games, including a 7-of-10 outing from long range in the win vs. Iowa in the league opener Jan. 3. Diebler leads Ohio State with 16.3 points a game vs. Big Ten foes this year. He leads the team in assists (10) and steals (8) against league opponents.
 
Kecman ready to return
 Sophomore transfer Nikola Kecman missed the first 12 regular-season games to satisfy an NCAA penalty for playing on a team in his native Serbia before coming to the United States. The NCAA determined the team provided some players (not Kecman) with benefits above necessary expenses. Kecman, who did not benefit for playing for the team, was required to sit out two games for every one he played (6) for the foreign team. He was eligibile for the Michigan State game Jan. 6 but did not play.  

A look at Houston Baptist
 Houston Baptist, a member of the Great West Conference, defeated Howard University Dec. 31 for its first win of the season. The Huskies (1-15) traveled to Iowa State last Tuesday (L 64-56) before making the trip to Columbus for the game Friday. The Huskies are led by guards Gordon Watt (17.8 ppg.) and Baron Sauls (16.9 ppg.). Watt also leads the team in rebounding with 8.8 a contest. Sauls leads the team in 3-pointers made (38 of 92) and assists (57).

The Great West Conference
 The Great West took a giant leap in the collegiate athletic world when the conference expanded to include several additional sports and several new members. Joining the league July 10, 2008 were Houston Baptist University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of North Dakota, University of South Dakota, Texas-Pan American and Utah Valley University. Championships conducted during the 2008-09 academic year will be men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and men’s and women’s golf. Team sports in baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball will begin league play in 2009-10.
  
Buckeyes Compete in 97th Season as Big Ten Conference member
 This is the 97th season of Big Ten membership in men’s basketball for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is 673-647 all-time vs. Big Ten Conference opponents.
Illinois                 59-97
Indiana               68-99
Iowa                  64-73
Michigan            83-70
Michigan State  48-57
Minnesota         73-54
Northwestern  105-44
Penn State         21-12
Purdue               73-79
Wisconsin          79-62
Totals               673-647

Matta Owns Top Win Percentage among Ohio State Coaches
     Thad Matta, now in his fifth season as head coach of the Buckeyes, has an overall win percentage of .759 (217-69) after 286 games. His record at Ohio State is 115-38 (.751) after 153 games in Columbus. That winning mean is the highest among the 11 head coaches in the history of the Ohio State men’s basketball program with three or more seasons on the sidelines. Matta’s 46-23 record in Big Ten regular-season play (.667) also has produced the highest winning percentage in conference play among any previous Ohio State coach. Fred Taylor (1959-76) is second in both overall win percentage (.653/297-158) and Big Ten win percentage (.608/158-102) in 18 seasons.

Ohio State’s Best Starts
 Ohio State has opened five seasons at 9-0 or better after the Buckeyes downed Asheville Dec. 22, 83-59 in Columbus. Thad Matta has guided Ohio State in two of those seasons. The four previous 9-0 or better starts have resulted in NCAA tournament appearances for Ohio State.
Yr. Start Final Rcd. Post Season
1960-61  27-0       27-1      NCAA (title game)
1961-62  22-0       26-2      NCAA (title game)
1990-91 17-0        27-4      NCAA (reg. semifinals)
2005-06  11-0        26-6      NCAA (2nd Rnd.)
2008-09 9-0  —  —

Home win streak ends at 12
 The Asheville win (Dec. 22/83-59) was the 12th-consecutive in Columbus for the Buckeyes after ending the 2007-08 season with five home victories and starting the 2008-09 campaign 7-0 in the capital city. Two of the wins in the streak were at St. John Arena, a 73-56 victory over California in the second round of the 2008 National Invitation Tournament (March 24) and a 70-42 victory over Delaware State to open this season (Nov. 20).

Lighty Suffers Setback
 Junior David Lighty, a guard from Cleveland, Ohio, will miss six-to-12 weeks following surgery Dec. 18 to repair a break in his left foot. Lighty underwent a procedure on the fifth metatarsal in which a screw was inserted by Dr. Grant Jones at the OSU Medical Center. Lighty is the most experienced Buckeye with 83 career appearances and 51 starts. In seven games this season, all wins, Lighty averaged 9.7 points and 5.7 rebounds. 

January record 22-14 for Matta
 Since Thad Matta took over the Ohio State men’s basketball program at the start of the 2004-05 season, the Buckeyes have a record of 22-14 in January. He is 30-4 in the month of December and 21-4 in November.
Year           Nov.   Dec.  Jan.
2004-05       5-1    6-1    3-5
2005-06       3-0    7-0    5-3
2006-07       6-1    5-1    8-1
2007-08       4-2    5-1    6-3
2008-09       3-0    7-1    0-2
Totals           21-4 30-4  22-14

Turner Earns Big Ten POW
 Sophomore Evan Turner earned his first weekly laurel after leading Ohio State to a pair of victories against ranked opponents. Turner scored a career-high 28 points in the win vs. No. 7 Notre Dame (Dec. 6) at the Hall of Fame Showcase in Indianapolis, earning game MVP honors. Against No. 21 Miami (Dec. 2) in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Turner scored 19 points, all in the second half, to give the Buckeyes a win on the road. Against the Irish, Turner also played all 40 minutes and connected on 11-of-16 field goal attempts, all career highs. In those two games, Turner averaged 23.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He connected on 57 percent of his shots (17-30) and 86 percent of his foul shots (12-14).

Ranked foes Fall vs. Buckeyes
 No. 21 Miami (W, 73-68/Dec. 2) and No. 7 Notre Dame (W, 67-62/Dec. 6) fell to the unranked Buckeyes. The Hurricanes played host to Ohio State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge while the Fighting Irish and Buckeyes met on a neutral court in Indianapolis. Ohio State is 125-210 all time vs. ranked opponents. The Buckeyes have won four of the last seven outings vs. ranked opponents, including back-to-back home wins last March vs. No. 15 Purdue (80-77 in overtime, 3/4) and No. 17 Michigan State (63-54, 3/9). Ohio State wins vs. the Hurricanes and Fighting Irish matched the two-consecutive wins vs. ranked opponents away from Columbus vs. No. 5 Memphis (92-76) in San Antonio, Texas, and No. 9 Georgetown (67-60) in Atlanta during the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

Noting the Buckeyes…
  Sophomore Jon Diebler reached 50 career 3-pointers made (82-251) with three made vs. Delaware State Nov. 20 … he is connecting on 40 percent of his treys (34-85) this season, up from 28.9 percent (48-166) as a freshman … he set a career mark with seven made 3s in the win vs. Iowa (Dec. 31) … in three Big Ten games this season, Diebler has made 13-of-27 treys (.481) and is leading Ohio State in scoring with 16.3 a game  … Diebler has played in 50 games to date with 21 starts … he reached 100 career rebounds with three vs. Butler Dec. 13 … his scoring average is up from 5.9 ppg. as a freshman to 11.4 ppg. this season and 7.3 ppg for his career … he connected on a career-best 11-of-12 foul shots to finish with 16 points in the win vs. Iona (Dec. 20) … also contributed four steals in the Iona victory … 82 of 109 career field goals are 3-pointers.
  Sophomore Dallas Lauderdale made his first career start vs. Delaware State (Nov. 20) … he has rejected 38 shots this season in 13 games after blocking 15 in 32 games as a freshman … Lauderdale is the first Buckeye to reach seven blocks (vs. DSU) in a game since Greg Oden swatted seven Michigan attempts at Value City Arena in 2007 … Lauderdale is shooting 66 percent from the field (33-50) and is a career 63 percent shooter (45-71) … he leads the conference in blocked shots per game (2.9). 
  David Lighty started his 44th-consecutive game in the win vs. Jacksonville Dec. 17 … he suffered a broken bone in his left foot in the JU game and will be out six-12 weeks … he has 51 career starts to his credit … Lighty reached 500 points for his career (544) with 11 at Miami–in 83 games he has averaged 6.6 points a game … he tied his career high with 21 points vs. Jacksonville.
  Junior Kyle Madsen appeared in his 23rd game as a Buckeye in the most recent outing at Michigan State … vs. Asheville Dec. 22 he made his first career start and logged 14 minutes of court time, grabbed four rebounds and scored four points in the win … he recorded a career-best six rebounds vs. Samford Nov. 29.
  Sophomore Evan Turner has been a consistent contributor so far this season … he reached 500 career points  (521) in the Minnesota game (Jan. 3) with 21 … in the Notre Dame win, Turner scored a career-high 28 points while playing all 40 minutes, a career best … he was named the MVP of the Hall of Fame Showcase game vs. the Irish and was the Big Ten player of the week (Dec. 8) … against Samford, Turner recorded a double-double with a game-high 16 points and a career-best 13 rebounds … he also had a career-high five steals and added four assists in the Samford game … against Miami, Turner scored 19 points, all in the second half, to help rally the Buckeyes to a 73-68 win … Turner reached 100 career assists (131) in the win vs. DSU with three … he led the team with 14 points in the Butler win Dec. 13 while also adding four steals … has at least one assist in every game this season and leads the Buckeyes in helpers with 33 … has 2 or more steals in 9-of-13 games this season … 21 career games with 2 or more thefts … Ohio State is 21-6 when Turner scores 10 or more points … has four double-doubles on the season and six for his career after scoring 14 points and recording 10 rebounds at Michigan State Jan. 6.
  Freshman William Buford made his first career start in the Asheville win Dec. 22 … he responded with 16 points, a total he tied in win vs. Iowa Dec. 31 … also added a career-high seven rebounds vs. Asheville … tallied a career-high 17 points at Michigan State Jan. 6 … debut was effective with 13 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the field in 22 minutes, he also added a 3-pointer and a couple assists vs. DSU (Nov. 20) … he was credited with three steals in the win vs. Bowling Green … against Notre Dame, Buford sparked the Buckeyes with nine first-half points to help knock off the No. 7 ranked Irish … added eight in the Jacksonville game (Dec. 17) … played 32 minutes vs. Iona (Dec. 20) and scored 10 points to go with five rebounds … double figure points in five of the last six games … has six double figure outings this season. 
  Junior transfer Jeremie Simmons was one of three Buckeyes in double figures with 10 points in the season opener vs. Delaware State … Simmons knocked down 3 of 6 3-point attempts and 1 of 2 foul shots … has 17 made 3s on the year, including the go-ahead trey in the road win vs. No. 21 Miami Dec. 2 … his two foul shots late vs. Notre Dame helped secure the 67-62 win for the Buckeyes … he has made a 3-pointer in 12-of-13 games this season … was presented with his 2008 NJCAA Division II National Championship ring before JU game Dec. 17 … earned back-to-back national titles at Mott Community College before joining the Ohio State program.
  Center B.J. Mullens started his first-career game vs. Iona (Dec. 20) … responded with nine points and four rebounds … led Ohio State with 19 points and eight rebounds in Asheville win Dec. 22 … spent most of his freshman debut vs. DSU at the foul line knocking down 5 of 6 charity tosses … against Samford, he contributed eight points in 18 minutes to go with two steals … his 11 points vs. Notre Dame was a career high effort … he also added seven boards vs. the Irish … tied career high with 8 field goals made at Michigan State (16 pts.) … grabbed six boards and blocked two shots vs. the Spartans Jan. 6 … has 99 points on the season.

Opponents ranked nationally
 Six opponents on the Ohio State schedule in 2008-09 are ranked among the Top 25 nationally in either the Associated Press or ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. No. 8 (AP) Michigan State is the highest ranked opponent in the most recent polls.
Team                       AP       ESPN/USA Today
Michigan State         8                 12
Notre Dame            13                 13
Purdue                   14                 14
Butler                     21                 20
Minnesota              22                 19
West Virginia         25                 22
Michigan                RV                RV
Wisconsin             RV                RV
Illinois                    RV                RV
Miami, Fla.             RV                —

Buckeyes Open Season at St. John
 Ohio State returned to the longtime home of the Buckeyes (St. John Arena) in the season opener because of a conflict at Value City Arena, Ohio State’s home court since the 1998-99 season. The Buckeyes have an all-time record of 430-151 (.740) over 42 seasons (1957-1998) at St. John plus four games played there since the move to the VCA. Ohio State played two games last year at St. John, a regular-season win vs. Virginia Military (90-57/Nov. 25, 2007) and a victory vs. California (73-56) in the second round of the 2008 NIT March 24. More than 6.6 million fans have attended games at the 13,276-seat venue.

NOTING THE MICHIGAN STATE GAME
Michigan State leads the all-time series 57-48 and is 36-15 in East Lansing vs. the Buckeyes. Ohio State is 5-14 vs. ranked MSU squads all-time.
Ohio State is 2-2 vs. ranked opponents this season and 125-210 vs. opponents ranked in the Top 25 all time. The Buckeyes are 1-1 vs. Top 10 teams this year and 53-109 all-time vs. Top 10 squads.
Sophomore guard Evan Turner recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds. He has six career double doubles and is the only current Buckeye with a double-double to his credit.
Matta’s career record is 217-69 in his ninth season as a head coach. He is 115-38 in his fifth year at Ohio State.
Freshman William Buford scored a career-high 17 points on 7 of 13 shooting from the field. He knocked down 3 of 6 3-pointers as well in 32 minutes of court time.
Freshman B.J. Mullens contributed 16 points on 8 of 14 shooting from his center spot. He also blocked two shots and had six rebounds in 22 minutes.
Ohio State freshmen accounted for 33 points. Underclassmen scored 56 of the 58 Ohio State points in the game. Junior Jeremie Simmons scored 2 points on foul shots. Underclassmen also recorded 24 of 32 rebounds in the game for Ohio State.
Ohio State’s 9 blocks in the game tied the Buckeye record for rejections in the MSU series. The 2006-07 team blocked 9 shots as well Feb. 3, 2007.

Redd Represents Ohio State at 2008 Olympics
 Michael Redd, who played for the Buckeyes from 1998-2000, represented Ohio State and his native Columbus on the United States senior national team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Redd is the third Buckeye to play on the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team. Jerry Lucas (1960-62) played on the 1960 squad and Bill Hosket (1966-68) represented Ohio State on the 1968 team. Lucas, Hosket and Redd all helped the United States earn gold medals. Redd and the 2008 U.S. squad claimed gold with a win over Spain.

Miller Returns
 Thad Matta added another “M” to his coaching staff with the addition of Brandon Miller, who left his alma mater, Butler, to return to the Ohio State staff as an assistant coach. Miller was the Buckeyes’ director of basketball operations for two seasons (2005, 2006) and the Ohio State video coordinator (2007) before returning to Butler, where he graduated in 2003, as a full-time assistant for the 2007-08 season. Miller replaces John Groce, who left for the head coaching job at Ohio last summer. The entire Ohio State coaching staff is listed under “M” in the athletics department staff directory. Alan Major is in his fifth season in Columbus and Archie Miller, no relation to Brandon, is in his second season as a Buckeye assistant coach.

Newcomers Dominate Ohio State Roster in 2008-09
 Thad Matta is no stranger to retooling when it comes to his roster. In the last three years his teams have had four new starters each season with point guard Jamar Butler being the only mainstay. With Butler gone after a remarkable four-year career, Matta welcomes eight new faces to the Ohio State program this season. Four scholarship freshmen, two junior college transfers, another transfer from a four-year NCAA Division I school and a walk-on join eight returnees from the 2007-08 campaign. As has been the case over the last four years, Matta recruited some of the nation’s most talented high school student-athletes in William Buford (Toledo, Ohio), B.J. Mullens (Columbus, Ohio) and Walter Offutt (Indianapolis). From the JC ranks, the Buckeyes welcome junior Jeremie Simmons (Chicago) and Nikola Kecman, a sophomore from Belgrade, Serbia. Zisis Sarikopoulos, a transfer from Alabama-Birmingham and native of Athens, Greece, will join Ohio State for the start of fall camp in September.

Buford, Mullens Add to Ohio State’s McDonald’s list
 William Buford and B.J. Mullens represented Ohio State and the nation’s top high school recruits March 29 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wis., in the 2008 McDonald’s All-American game. Buford played for the East team and Mullens for the West. Thad Matta has added a total of six McDonald’s All-Americans to the Buckeye men’s basketball program in his five years in Columbus. Thirteen Buckeyes have been associated with the annual event. Four McDonald’s All-Americans were a part of Ohio State’s 2006-07 squad that finished 35-4 overall, 15-1 in Big Ten Conference play, won the league regular-season title outright and played for the NCAA national title vs. Florida in April of 2007. Ivan Harris, Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., and Daequan Cook, all former McDonald’s All-Americans, played for the Buckeyes in 2006-07. Clark Kellogg (1979), Perry Carter (1987), Treg Lee (1987), Jim Jackson (1989), Charles Macon (1992), Greg Simpson (1992) and Kosta Koufos (2007) all played for Ohio State after playing in the McDonald’s All-American game. Harris played in the 2003 event while Oden, Conley Jr. and Cook played in the 2006 contest.

Depth provides options for Matta
 Jamar Butler ran the point for the Buckeyes exclusively as a sophomore and senior while sharing the post with Mike Conley Jr. in 2006-07. Butler averaged 36 minutes a game as a senior and more than 30 minutes over 139 career appearances, an Ohio State record for career games played. Matta hopes to rotate personnel more in 2008-09 at the guard position and throughout the lineup with a full roster of 13-scholarship players and the availability of two walkons. Only transfer Zisis Sarikopoulos will be unavailable this season as he sits out to satisfy NCAA transfer rules after playing one season at UAB last year.
 Inexperience will be prevalent at the point guard position but there are options. Junior college transfer Jeremie Simmons and returnee P.J. Hill will share playing time. Simmons was a scorer at the JC level but also has proven abilities at running the offense. Hill subbed for Butler a year ago and displayed the ability to get to the basket while creating chances for his teammates.
 At the wing position, Ohio State will feature its most experience. David Lighty, Evan Turner and Jon Diebler all return while freshmen William Buford and Walter Offutt bring impressive high school statistics to the table. The depth at this position will make for intense competition throughout the year.
 Inside play will feature the nation’s top recruit, freshman B.J. Mullens, a 7-0 skilled offensive player with rebounding and shot blocking abilities. He will battle alongside sophomore returnee Dallas Lauderdale, who has made strides physically over the summer and will likely make his presence felt defensively with his size, length and leaping ability. Newcomer Nikola Kecman, a sophomore junior college transfer, also provides size at 6-8 with outside shooting abilities. Another returnee, Kyle Madsen also will see time down low after spending two years in the program as a transfer from Vanderbilt.

Non-conference schedule to ready Buckeyes for Big Ten
 A young Ohio State team will be tested several times in non-conference action before opening a grueling 18-game Big Ten conference slate. The Buckeyes took on Miami (Fla.) on the road in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Later that week, Ohio State traveled to Indianapolis to face Notre Dame, one of four schools from the state of Indiana on the 2008-09 schedule. The ND game was part of a doubleheader at Lucas Oil Stadium, the new home of the Indianapolis Colts. Indiana and Gonzaga made up the first game of the event. Butler University, alma mater of both Ohio State head coach Thad Matta and assistant coach Brandon Miller, traveled to Columbus for the third game of a four-game series with the Bulldogs (Ohio State won 54-51 this year). West Virginia, coached by longtime Cincinnati coach and former Ohio State assistant Bob Huggins, began a home-and-home series with the Buckeyes at Value City Arena Dec. 27. Ohio State will face eight league teams twice with Wisconsin (in Madison) and Penn State (in Columbus) taking on the Buckeyes once this year.   

Buckeyes Among Nation’s elite teams with Matta at helm
 The Buckeyes have won at least 20 games in each of the four seasons with Thad Matta as head coach. The 2006-07 squad won a school-record 35 games on its way to the NCAA title game. The 2007-08 team won 24 games and claimed the 2008 National Invitation Tournament championship. Prior to this season, Matta’s Buckeyes had 85 wins against just 23 setbacks, the seventh best win total and win percentage (.797) nationally over the last three seasons.  

Best Winning Percentage, last 3 seasons (2006-08)
Memphis             104 10   .912
Kansas               95 16     .856
UCLA                  97 17     .851
North Carolina     90 18     .833
Florida                 92 23     .800
Duke                    82 21     .796
Ohio State           85 23     .787