Ohio State (23-13) vs. UMass (25-10)
2008 MasterCard National Invitation Tournament Championship Game, April 3, 2008
Madison Square Garden, New York
Opponent: No. 2 Massachusetts (25-10)
Site: Madison Square Garden (19,763)
Game Time: 7 p.m. ET (est.)
TV Talent: Ron Franklin (P-by-P), Fran Fraschilla, Bill Raftery (Expert Analysis), Allen Hopkins (Sideline)
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 will be playing in its third NIT title game in program history. The Buckeyes won the event in 1986 with a 73-63 win over Wyoming. Ohio State fell to Connecticut in the 1988 title game 72-67. Ohio State is 17-7 all-time in NIT games.
Thad Matta has led the Buckeyes to a 23-13 record this season after a 35-4 mark a year ago. The record of 58-17 is the most games (75) played over a two-year span in school history. It’s also the most wins over consecutive years.
Senior Jamar Butler knocked down 4 of 12 3-point attempts to give him 101 made treys on the year. That total is the school record for makes in a season and marks the first time a Buckeye has made 100+ 3s in a season.
Freshman Kosta Koufos reached 500 points for the season with a 16-point effort vs. the Rebels. He and Butler both accomplished the feat this season. Koufos is the 26th Ohio State player to reach 500 points in a season (512). Those 26 players have combined for 38 seasons with 500 or more points all-time in Ohio State history.
Two players have reached 500 or more points in a season seven times in Ohio State history. Bill Hosket (584) and Steve Howell were the first tandem to do so in the 1967-68 season. Scoonie Penn (609) and Michael Redd (709) were the last to do so in 1998-99.
The Buckeyes are 17-3 this season when leading at the half and 21-0 when leading at the 5:00 mark of the second half. With 81 points vs. Mississippi, Ohio State is 14-1 this season when scoring 70 or more points.
Butler and classmate Matt Terwilliger have won 104 games over their Ohio State careers, the most of any four-year senior class in Ohio State history.
Ohio State is 30-13 all-time vs. teams representing the Atlantic 10 Conference, which includes the 74-63 victory over Dayton March 26 in the third round of the 2008 MasterCard NIT in Columbus. Ohio State does not have a record vs. Massachusetts.
A total of 19 teams on the 2007-08 Ohio State schedule qualified for postseason competition. Ohio State is 12-11 vs. teams who made the postseason (8-1 vs. NIT teams and 4-10 vs. NCAA qualifiers).
Butler’s 17 points give him a career total of 1,294. He passed Clark Kellogg (1,285) to take over the No. 23 spot on the Ohio State all-time scoring list. Jim Cleamons is No. 22 with 1,335 from 1969-71.
Butler has played in an Ohio State record 138 games … his 116 games started is tied for the No. 4 spot all time with Perry Carter (1988-91) … Butler made his only foul shot in the Mississippi game to give him a streak of 23-consecutive makes … he owns the school record with 38-consecutive makes, which he accomplished earlier this season … Butler’s 572 career assists are a school record … his 212 helpers this season is second only to Mike Conley’s 238 in 2006-07 … with 239 career made 3-pointers after four makes vs. Mississippi, Butler added to his Ohio State record total for made 3s in a career.
Thad Matta improved his career record to 206-66 in eight seasons as a head coach … he is 104-35 in four years at Ohio State … in postseason competition, Matta is 16-6 with a 12-6 record in NCAA tournament play and a 4-0 mark in the NIT.
Ohio State’s 50 rebounds in the Mississippi game is the second-highest total of the season. Eight players had three or more rebounds but none reached double digits.
Four Buckeyes are averaging in double figures offensively over the four postseason NIT games to date. Butler (17.5 ppg.) and Koufos (17.3 ppg.) lead the way with David Lighty (11.5 ppg.) and Othello Hunter (10.3 ppg.) also in double figures. Hunter is the top Ohio State rebounder with 7.5 rebounds per game. Hunter, with five rejections Tuesday, has 10 blocks in the tournament as well.
Koufos is shooting 70 percent from the field (32-46) in the NIT and is contributing 5.5 rebounds a game. He also has five assists and five blocks.
Lighty and freshman Evan Turner each have 10 steals in the NIT with Lighty adding 14 assists, second only to Butler’s 23 helpers over the last four games.
As a team, Ohio State averages 78 points a game in NIT competition while opponents are being held to 63.5 ppg. The Buckeyes are shooting 51 percent from the field (124-242) and lead in assists (69-52), blocks (23-10) and steals (34-22).
Ohio State is 1-1 all-time in the month of April with the win over Mississippi. The Buckeyes fell to Florida in the NCAA title game April 2, 2007 in Atlanta.