Ohio State (9-0) vs. West Virginia (9-2)
Site: Value City Arena (19,049)
Game Time: 4 p.m.
Talent: Verne Lundquist (Play by Play)
Clark Kellogg (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)
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 reaches 12
The Asheville win 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. 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.
December record 29-3 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 29-3 in the month of December. The Buckeyes are 21-4 under Matta’s direction in November.
Year December Rcd.
Buckeyes climb in Top 25 polls
Following wins over No. 21 Miami and No. 7 Notre Dame and a home win vs. Butler, Ohio State enters the West Virginia game ranked No. 15 in the Associated Press and No. 13 in the ESPN/USA Today polls this week. The Buckeyes are 334-95 all time when ranked among the Top 25 teams (AP). Ohio State is 12-3 as the No. 15 team in the Associated Press Poll.
Top 25 Buckeyes at the VCA
Ohio State is 42-3 all-time at Value City Arena when ranked among the Top 25. The Buckeyes have won their last 29 games as a ranked team at VCA. The last loss 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 several schools with unblemished records following the win over Asheville last Monday. The Buckeyes are on a 14-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 eight games to date this season.
Rk. Team Next Streak
1 Ohio St. vs W.Va 12/27/2008 14
2 Pittsburgh at Rutgers 12/31/2008 12
Oklahoma at Arkansas 12/30/08 12
Clemson at S. Carolina 12/30/2008 11
4. Illinois St. at Missouri St. 12/28/08 11
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
Sophomore Dallas Lauderdale leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage at 69.2 percent (27-39) and with 3.33 blocks a game. Lauderdale’s total of 30 (in 9 games) tops his total of 15 rejections recorded as a freshman.
No. 1 steals 2.89 spg.
No. 4 defensive rebounds 5.6 drpg.
scoring 16.9 ppg.
No. 1 blocked shots 7.44 bpg.
No. 2 field goal pct. def. .364
scoring defense 53.6 ppg.
No. 3 scoring margin +15.2 ppg.
turnover margin +3.33
defensive rebounds 25.56 drpg.
No. 4 steals 7.78 spg.
No. 5 rebounding off. 35.0
Noting the Buckeyes…
Sophomore Jon Diebler reached 50 career 3-pointers made (68-217) with three made vs. Delaware State Nov. 20 … he is connecting on 39.2 percent of his treys (20-51) 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 46 games to date with 17 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 10.4 ppg. this season … 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.
Sophomore Dallas Lauderdale made his first career start vs. Delaware State (Nov. 20) … he has rejected 30 shots this season in nine 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 69.2 percent from the field (27-39) and is a career 65 percent shooter (39-60) … he leads the conference in blocked shots per game (3.3).
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 6-12 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 19th game as a Buckeye in the most recent outing vs. Asheville in his first career start … he logged 14 minutes of court time and grabbed four rebounds while scoring 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 … 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 (126) 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 28 … closing on 500 career points (465) after scoring 17 points in the Asheville (Dec. 22) win … has 2 or more steals in 8-of-9 games this season … 20 career games with 2 or more thefts … Ohio State is 20-3 when Turner scores 10 or more points.
Freshman William Buford’s made his first career start in the Asheville win Dec. 22 … responded with 16 points, a career high … also added a career-high seven rebounds … 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.
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 13 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 nine games to date … 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 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 … played a career-best 21 minutes in Asheville win Dec. 22 … dished out five assists vs. Asheville.
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.
West Virginia series information
Ohio State is 9-5 in the series with West Virginia. The teams last met Nov. 28, 1995 in Columbus, a 77-68 Ohio State victory which snapped a five-game Mountaineers win streak. Ohio State won the first eight meetings in the series that began Dec. 10, 1940. The game this year is part of a two-game series that will end next season in Morgantown, W.Va.
Ohio State vs. The Big East
Ohio State is 70-46 all-time vs. teams representing the Big East. Ohio State has won the last four meetings vs. Big East foes. The Buckeyes defeated Cincinnati (72-50) and Georgetown (67-60) in 2006-07 and then knocked off Syracuse 79-65 last year in the preseason NIT. The Buckeyes defeated Notre Dame (67-62) earlier this season in Indianapolis.
Notre Dame 7-4
St. John’s 4-2
Seton Hall 3-2
South Florida 0-2
West Virginia 9-5
Noting the Asheville Game
Ohio State extended its lead in the all-time series at 3-0 against UNC Asheville and is now 8-0 against teams from the Big South Conference. The last meeting between the Bulldogs and the Buckeyes was March 18 of last season when the two teams met in the opening round of the NIT. Ohio State won the game 84-66 and went on to win the NIT for the first time since 1986.
The Buckeye win streak now stands at 14-consecutive games, which is the longest streak in the nation. Ohio State has also won 12-consecutive home games. The win moves the Scarlet and Gray’s record to 29-3 in December under Thad Matta.
Kyle Madsen and William Buford made their first career starts for the Scarlet and Gray on Monday night. Madsen is in his third season in Columbus after transferring from Vanderbilt and Buford is a freshman from Toledo, Ohio.
Ohio State jumped out to an early 11-4 lead on the strength of consecutive 3-point baskets by Jon Diebler, Evan Turner and Buford.
Freshman B.J. Mullens posted a new season high for points on Monday night racking up 19. The freshman posted 13 in the first half, topping his previous high mark of 11 set against Notre Dame on Dec. 6. He also had a career-high three blocks.
Ohio State outscored UNC Asheville 40-20 in the paint and won the battle on the boards 44-32 over the Bulldogs. The Buckeye big men, Mullens and Dallas Lauderdale combined to go 13-of-17 from the field with 30 points and 15 rebounds.
The Bulldogs closed the gap to 27-21 with 4:09 remaining in the first half after a jumper by John Williams. Ohio State would stretch its lead with a 10-3 run over the final 3:44 of the first to give the Scarlet and Gray a 37-24 halftime advantage. The Scarlet and Gray rode that momentum into the second half and extend the run to 14-3.
The Buckeyes are undefeated in games that they hold a halftime lead (8-0) this season. Under Matta, Ohio State holds a record of 94-11 when leading at the break.
Buford had a career night in his first career start, setting career highs in points (16), rebounds (7) and blocks (2). Buford also tied his season high in 3-point baskets with two. The Toledo, Ohio, native connected on both of his free throw attempts and is now 9-of-10 from the line this season.
Ohio State posted 30-plus points in each half Monday. The Buckeyes have recorded 30 points or more in 13-of-18 halves this season.
The win Monday marks the 12th-consecutive victory in Columbus for the Buckeyes. This is the second-longest home win streak for Ohio State under head coach Thad Matta after his 2006-07 team won 29-consecutive home games.
Ohio State has won the last 54 games in Columbus vs. unranked opponents, 49 of which have been played at Value City Arena.
The Buckeye bench had their best night of the season posting 40 points against the Bulldogs. Ohio State also outscored UNC Asheville on the fast break 10-0. The Scarlet and Gary have only allowed 13 fast-break points in its last three games.
Matta is 65-1 vs. unranked opponents in Columbus since taking over the Ohio State program in 2004-05. The only loss was an overtime setback to Minnesota Jan. 19, 2005 (60-56).
Ohio State has not lost in Columbus as a ranked team to an unranked non-conference opponent since a 76-67 setback to South Alabama Dec. 16, 1980, a span of 41 games. The Buckeyes were ranked No. 7 in that game.
Matta improved his career record to 216-66 in his ninth season as a head coach … He is 114-35 in his fifth year at Ohio State … Matta has started the season 9-0 in two seasons at Ohio State (2005-06, 2008-09).
Ohio State is 334-95 all time when ranked in the AP Top 25.
Ohio State is 42-3 at VCA when ranked among the AP Top 25. The Buckeyes have won the last 29 games at VCA as a Top 25 team.
Ohio State has a record of 59-4 vs. non-conference teams at Value City Arena and is 97-19 overall at the VCA.
Seven different players have scored in double figures at least once this season. Turner leads the team with seven games, while Diebler and Lighty have tallied 10 or more points in four games. Buford now has two.
The Buckeyes are 5-0 this season when scoring 70 or more points.
Ohio State is 103-4 under Thad Matta when leading with five minutes to play in the second half.
Opponents ranked nationally
Michigan State (No. 18 in ESPN/USA Today and No. 11 in the AP polls), Notre Dame (11/8), Purdue (15/10), Minnesota (23/23) and Michigan (RV/24) all are ranked among the Top 25 teams nationally. Miami, Fla., Wisconsin, Illinois, 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 (3 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.
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 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. 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 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 win 54-51 this year). 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 Saturday (4 p.m./CBS). Conference play begins Dec. 31 vs. Iowa at Value City Arena (4 p.m./Big Ten Network). 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