No. 16/17 Ohio State (6-0) vs. Jacksonville (2-5)
Site: Value City Arena (19,049)
Game Time: 9 p.m. ET
Talent: Jim Barbar (Play by Play)
Mike Kelly (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)
December record 26-3 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 26-3 in the month of December. The Buckeyes are 21-4 under Matta’s direction in November.
Year December Rcd.
Buckeyes Crack Top 25
Following wins over No. 21 Miami and No. 7 Notre Dame and a home win vs. Butler, Ohio State enters the Jacksonville game ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press and No. 16 in the ESPN/USA Today polls this week. The Buckeyes are 331-95 all time when ranked among the Top 25 teams (AP). Ohio State is 8-1 as the No. 17 team in the Associated Press Poll.
Top 25 Buckeyes at the VCA
Ohio State is 39-3 all-time at Value City Arena when ranked among the Top 25. The Buckeyes have won their last 26 games as a ranked team at VCA. The last lost was a double-overtime setback (62-59) to No. 14 Michigan State Jan. 15, 2006. Ohio State entered that game as the No. 19 team nationally.
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 come-from-behind 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).
Ohio State remains undefeated
Ohio State is one of 14 schools with unblemished records following the win over Butler last week. The Buckeyes are on an 11-game win streak as well, the longest nationally. Following a loss to Michigan State in the 2008 Big Ten Tournament, the Buckeyes rattled off five-consecutive wins to claim the 2008 National Invitation Tournament before earning wins in each of six games to date this season. BYU, Clemson, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh all have 10-game win streaks. Six other schools have won nine-consecutive games.
Rk. Team Next Streak
1 Ohio St. vs J’ville 12/17/2008 11
2 BYU Arizona St. 12/20/2008 10
Clemson vs North Fla. 12/16/2008 10
Oklahoma VCU 12/20/2008 10
Pittsburgh vs Siena 12/17/2008 10
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 125-208 all time vs. ranked opponents. The Buckeyes have won four of the last five 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.
Buckeyes in the Big Ten, NCAA
Sophomore Dallas Lauderdale leads the Big Ten with 4.7 blocks a game. Marcus Landry of Wisconsin is No. 2 with 2.00 a contest (20 in 10 games). Lauderdale’s total of 28 (in 6 games) tops his total of 15 rejections recorded as a freshman. Evan Turner leads the league in steals with 3.17 a game (19) and is No. 2 in defensive rebounds (5.83 drpg.) with 35 to date. He is No. 4 in scoring (16.2 ppg.) and No. 5 in rebounding (7.3 rpg.). As a team, Ohio State is No. 1 in blocked shots (8.0 bpg.) and field goal percentage defense (.345), No. 2 in defensive rebounds (26.17 drpg.), scoring defense (50.3 ppg) and No. 4 in scoring margin (+13.7 ppg.). Lauderdale is No. 3 in blocked shots nationally.
Noting the Buckeyes…
Sophomore Jon Diebler reached 50 career 3-pointers made (63-202) with three made vs. Delaware State Nov. 20 … he is connecting on 41.7 percent of his treys (15-36) this season, up from 28.9 percent (48-166) as a freshman … he set a career mark with six made 3s in the win vs. Miami, Fla. (Dec. 2) … Diebler has played in 43 games to date with 14 starts … he reached 100 career rebounds with three vs. Butler Dec. 13 … for his career and his scoring average is up from 5.9 ppg. as a freshman to 10.2 ppg. this season.
Sophomore Dallas Lauderdale made his first career start vs. Delaware State (Nov. 20) … he has rejected 28 shots this season in six 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 60.7 percent from the field (17-28) and is a career 60 percent shooter (29-49) … he leads the conference in blocked shots per game and is No. 3 nationally (as of 12/15). David Lighty started his 43rd-consecutive game in the win vs. Butler Dec. 13 … he has 50 career starts to his credit … Lighty reached 500 points for his career (523) with 11 at Miami–in 82 games he has averaged 6.4 points a game.
Junior Kyle Madsen appeared in his 16th game as a Buckeye in the most recent outing vs. Butler … he logged 12 minutes of court time and grabbed a career-best six rebounds vs. Samford.
Sophomore Evan Turner has been a consistent contributor so far this season … 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 (118) 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 20.
Freshman William Buford’s 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 … 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.
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 … he has 10 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 each game this season and along with Turner, has at least one assist in all six games to date.
Center B.J. Mullens spent most 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.
Rookie point guard Anthony Crater played 17 minutes in his debut and recorded one assist and a steal vs. DSU … he played 11 minutes vs. Notre Dame and recorded two assists and a steal.
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.
Jacksonville Series Information
Ohio State is 1-0 in the series with Jacksonville. The teams met for the only time previously Dec. 19, 1986, a 85-74 Ohio State victory in Jacksonville.
OHIO STATE VS. THE ATLANTIC SUN
Ohio State is 9-0 all-time vs. teams representing the Atlantic Sun Conference. Ohio State last defeated an ASC team Dec. 28, 2005, an 87-58 victory over Gardner-Webb in Columbus. Like this season, Ohio State entered the Associated Press Poll just prior to playing an ASC school in 2005-06. The Buckeyes were rated No. 21 in the Gardner-Webb game, the second game as a ranked team for head coach Thad Matta at Ohio State.
East Tennessee State 2-0
Gardner Webb 1-0
Noting the Butler Game
Ohio State is on an 11-game win streak after five-consecutive victories to end the 2007-08 season and victories in the first six games this year. Ohio State won the 2008 National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Thad Matta improved his career record to 213-66 in his ninth season as a head coach … He is 111-35 in his fifth year at Ohio State … Matta has started the season 6-0 in three seasons at Ohio State (2005-06, 2006-07, 2008-09).
Matta is 2-1 when facing his alma mater. Ohio State travels to Indianapolis next year to complete the four-game series with the Bulldogs.
Ohio State is 331-95 all time when ranked in the AP Top 25. The Buckeyes are 2-1 when ranked in the No. 21 position and 23-6 when playing in their first game as a ranked team.
Ohio State is 39-3 at VCA when ranked among the AP Top 25. The Buckeyes have won the last 26 games at VCA as a Top 25 team.
David Lighty made his 50th start at Ohio State vs. Butler.
Ohio State is 31-9 vs. Butler in the all-time series and 53-10 vs. teams representing the Horizon League.
Ohio State has a record of 56-4 vs. non-conference teams at Value City Arena and is 94-19 overall.
The Buckeyes held Butler without a field goal for the last 3:58 of the game.
Seven different players have scored in double figures at least once this season. Evan Turner leads the team with five games, while David Lighty has tallied 10 or more points in three games.
With four blocks, Dallas Lauderdale has 28 on the season and leads the Big Ten.
Lauderdale averages 4.6 blocks per game, third-most in the nation.
With a 3-point basket in the first half, Jeremie Simmons continued his streak of a made 3-pointer in every game this season. Simmons also went 1-for-5 from 3-range and is now 10-for-30 on the year.
With a 29-23 halftime lead, the Buckeyes led at the half for the fifth time in six games. Ohio State is now 5-0 when leading at the half this season.
Ohio State is 100-4 under Thad Matta when leading with five minutes to play in the second half.
Butler’s Gordon Hayward made 7 three-point baskets to tie an opponent record in Value City Arena. His 25 points ties the most by an individual player against Ohio State this season (Luke Harangody, Notre Dame).
Opponents ranked in preseason
Michigan State (No. 20 in ESPN/USA Today and No. 18 in the AP polls), Notre Dame (13/12), Purdue (17/14), Miami, Fla., (25/RV) all are ranked among the Top 25 teams nationally. Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern, West Virginia and Butler are receiving votes for Top 25 consideration.
Kecman to miss 12 games
Sophomore transfer Nikola Kecman will miss the first 12 (6 more) 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, is required to sit out two games for every one he played (6) for the foreign team.
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.
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 director. 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), Anthony Crater (Flint, Mich.), 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. J.J. Grycko, a freshman forward from Cincinnati, Ohio, was added to the roster as a walk-on at the start of Ohio State’s fall quarter.
Lighty to Provide Experience
It was not long ago it seems that David Lighty was a newcomer alongside one of Ohio State’s finest recruiting classes of all-time. He was one of Matta’s first complete recruiting classes in 2006 along with Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Daequan Cook and Othello Hunter. Three of those players (Oden, Conley and Cook) played in the National Basketball Association after their freshman year. Hunter achieved that goal with the Atlanta Hawks after two terrific seasons at Ohio State (2007-08). Lighty returns for his junior year as Ohio State’s top returning scorer (9.0 ppg.) from last season. He also has the most career games played (76) and starts (44) of any returning Buckeye. He continues to improve and is expected to lead a young Ohio State team, with no scholarship seniors this season. Eleven of the 12 players on scholarship who are eligible to play in 2008-09 have just one year of playing experience or are newcomers in Columbus. Lighty has two. Transfer Zisis Sarikopoulos is on scholarship but will sit out the 2008-09 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.
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, full roster provide 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 three 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. Freshman Anthony Crater, junior college transfer Jeremie Simmons and returnee P.J. Hill all will vie for playing time. Crater is closest to a true point guard with the ability to create shots for others while finding openings to get to the basket. 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 travels to Indianapolis to face Notre Dame, one of four schools from the state of Indiana on the 2008-09 schedule. The ND game will be part of a doubleheader at Lucas Oil Stadium, the new home of the Indianapolis Colts. Indiana and Gonzaga make up the first game of the event. Butler University, alma mater of both Ohio State head coach Thad Matta and assistant coach Brandon Miller, travels to Columbus for the third game of a four-game series with the Bulldogs. West Virginia, coached by longtime Cincinnati coach and former Ohio State assistant Bob Huggins, begins a home-and-home series with the Buckeyes at Value City Arena in late December. Conference play begins in early January. 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. In the last three years, Matta’s Buckeyes have 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