March 2, 2010

No. 9/9 Ohio State (23-7, 13-4) vs. Illinois (18-11, 10-6)
Site: Value City Arena (19,049)
Game Time: 9 ET
Television: ESPN
Talent: Dave O’Brien (play-by-play); Steve Lavin (expert analysis)
Radio: OSU Radio Network (60 stations)
Local Radio: WBNS FM-97.1 AM-1460
Radio Talent: Paul Keels (play-by-play); Ron Stokes (expert analysis)

 Ohio State will share in the Big Ten title with a win vs. Illinois in the regular-season finale Tuesday. Ohio State is 13-4 in league play after winning 12 of its last 13 games following a 1-3 start to the league schedule. A win vs. the Illini will ensure Ohio State at least a share of the conference crown, the third in six years for head coach Thad Matta at Ohio State. He led the Buckeyes to the top spot in both 2006 and 2007.
        Not since Coach Fred Taylor led Ohio State to five-consecutive titles from 1960-64 has an Ohio State coach led the Buckeyes to three titles in a six year span. Matta has led Ohio State to a school record six-consecutive seasons with at least 20 wins and five years in a row with at least 10 conference wins, which ties Taylor’s stretch from 1960-64. Overall, Ohio State has won 17 Big Ten titles, 12 outright.
       Matta has coached five previous teams to regular season conference championships. His 2000-01 team claimed the Midwestern Collegiate Conference title in his only season at Butler. While coaching Xavier (2002-04), Matta earned the Atlantic 10 regular season title in 2002 and 2003. Since joining Ohio State, Matta’s teams won the Big Ten in 2006 and 2007. Matta teams also have won four conference titles (2001, 2002, 2004, 2007 and have made the league title game six times (2006, 2009).

 Before the Illinois game, the Ohio State men’s basketball program will recognize five seniors who have helped accumulate several lofty achievements during their tenures. Kyle Madsen, P.J. Hill, Jeremie Simmons, Danny Peters and Mark Titus will be in uniform for the final time as Buckeyes in Value City Arena. Peters and Titus have been part of 104 victories during their four years in uniform. The four-year victories record for scholarship players is 105.
        Madsen started his career as a Buckeye on the sidelines following a transfer from Vanderbilt. He worked against three first-round NBA draft choices during his time in Columbus (Greg Oden, Kosta Koufos, B.J. Mullens) and is seeing the benefits this year as one of Ohio State’s most valuable reserves. Hill helped the Buckeyes to the 2008 National Invitation Tournament Championship and to the 2009 NCAA Tournament a year ago. Simmons played a key role in Ohio State’s 2009 Big Ten Tournament Title game appearance as well as the NCAA tournament qualification. All five will end their careers in NCAA tournament play as well in 2010, Ohio State’s 22nd appearance in the event.

 Thad Matta will be going for Big Ten title No. 3 in the game vs. Illinois. Ohio State also will be going for league titles in the sports of football and men’s and women’s basketball for the third time in five years. No Big Ten school has accomplished the feat other than Ohio State. Three sports won outright titles in all three sports in 2007. Football shared in 2006 and the 2010 men’s basketball team is playing for at least a share of the title.  

 Evan Turner collected his second weekly laurel in as many weeks after leading the Buckeyes to a pair of wins in Big Ten action while averaging 21.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists last week. Against Penn State, the junior lit up the scoreboard with 25 points on 8-of-17 (.471) shooting while registering an unblemished 9-of-9 mark from the foul line. The 6-7 swingman showcased his versatility by adding seven rebounds, seven helpers and three steals in the road win in State College, Pa. The Chicago native carried that momentum into Saturday’s home victory over Michigan, posting his 13th double-double of the season, and 24th overall, with 11 rebounds and 18 points while connecting on eight-of-11 from the floor.  Turner also added a career-high four blocked shots against the Wolverines while dishing seven assists. For his career, Turner is currently No. 22 in scoring (1,357), No. 16 in rebounding (620), No. 10 in assists (370) and No. 7 in steals (150). With 79 minutes of court time last week, Turner has now played more than 3,000 minutes while donning the Scarlet and Gray.  The selection marks the seventh Player of the Week laurel for Turner this season, and his 10th overall. 
 Evan Turner is among the Top 30 finalists and among the leading candidates to earn the 2010 Naismith Trophy, giving annually to the player of the year in collegiate basketball. The honor will be announced at the 2010 Final Four in Indianapolis. The four finalists for the award will be announced March 21 by CBS during first round coverage of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The Naismith Award has been presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club since 1969 when UCLA’s Lew Alcindor claimed the first honor. No previous Ohio State player has been awarded the Naismith Trophy. Glenn Robinson of Purdue is the last Big Ten representative to earn the award. He did so in 1994. Indiana’s Calbert Cheaney (1993) and Scott May (1976) are the other Big Ten winners of the award. 

 Thad Matta coached his 100th Big Ten Conference regular season game at Penn State Feb. 24. His overall win percentage in conference games among Ohio State coaches is No. 1 overall but will be second to Fred Taylor after the first 100 regular season league games. Taylor won 75 percent of the first 100 games vs. conference foes.

 For each of the last 10 seasons, all as a head coach, Thad Matta has guided teams to at least 20 victories. Only Mark Few, among active coaches, has more consecutive 20-win seasons to start a career (11). Matta set the Ohio State record for consecutive 20-win campaigns last year with a 22-11 record. He now has led six-consecutive Buckeye teams to 20+ wins. The previous record was four held by the 1960-63 teams under legendary head coach Fred Taylor.
 Matta also has won at least 10 Big Ten regular-season games in each of the last five seasons,  tying Taylor’s mark of 10+ league wins in each of the seasons from 1960-64. Those were during 14-game regular-season slates. The Big Ten played a 16-game schedule in Matta’s first three seasons (8, 12, 15 league wins) and an 18-game schedule the last two (10, 10, 13).
     Ohio State enters the game vs. Illinois with a 23-7 overall record and a 13-4 record in league play. The game vs. Purdue Feb. 17 also was the 200th for Matta as head coach of the Buckeyes. He enters the game vs. Illinois with a record of 150-53 at Ohio State. He recorded career win No. 250 with a 74-67 victory at Michigan State Feb. 21. 

 Ohio State recruits Jared Sullinger (2010) and Deshaun Thomas (2010) were selected Feb. 11 to represent the East Team in the 2010 McDonald’s All-America game. The game will be played March 31 at Value City Arena in Columbus. 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 (2003), Greg Oden (2006), Mike Conley Jr. (2006) and Daequan Cook (2006), all former McDonald’s All-Americans, played for the Buckeyes in 2006-07. William Buford (2008), B.J. Mullens (2008), Kosta Koufos (2007), Clark Kellogg (1979), Perry Carter (1987), Treg Lee (1987), Jim Jackson (1989), Charles Macon (1992) and Greg Simpson (1992) all played for Ohio State after playing in the McDonald’s All-America game before joining the Ohio State program for a total of 15 all-time.
 Sullinger and Thomas make up one-third of Ohio State’s 2010 recruiting class, which has been rated No. 1 or 2 nationally. The pair also are among six finalists for the Naismith Boys’ High School Player of the Year.

 Thad Matta tied an Ohio State record for win percentage at 200 games coached with the Buckeyes. Matta is 150-53 in 203 games at Ohio State for a win percentage of 73.9. Fred Taylor, who recently had a banner in his honor unfurled in Value City Arena, set the 200-game win percentage record at 73.5 (147-53). Only four previous Ohio State coaches have reached 200 games on the Buckeye sidelines.

   The 1960 Ohio State men’s basketball team was honored at halftime of the Minnesota game Jan. 31 at Value City Arena. The squad won the NCAA and Big Ten titles that season with a 25-3 record and a 13-1 mark in the Big Ten. Nearly the entire team returned for the weekend, including three-time All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year Jerry Lucas, All-American and two-time All-Big Ten selection John Havlicek and Bob Knight, the NCAA career leader in coaching victories (Army, Indiana and Texas Tech) with 902. All three are members of the Basketball Hall of Fame. A fourth member of the team, its head coach Fred Taylor, also is a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. His name will forever be memorialized in the rafters of the Schottenstein Center after a banner acknowledging his accomplishments was unfurled during the weekend festivities.

 David Lighty has 914 career points in 113 career games (8.1 ppg.). He joins classmates Evan Turner (1,357 career pts./94 games) and Jon Diebler (957/100) on the Ohio State roster in the 900 club. With another three points, the Buckeyes will add William Buford (63 games) to the group of 800+ scorers on the Ohio State roster.

 Ohio State is 5-5 vs. ranked teams in the Associated Press Top 25 this season and 5-3 with a full roster. Evan Turner missed six games this season with a back injury. Ohio State was 3-3 in those games, including an 0-2 mark vs. ranked foes. Turner averages 23.5 points and 9.5 rebounds vs. eight ranked opponents this season (North Carolina, California, Florida State, Purdue (2), Wisconsin, Michigan State and West Virginia). He is connecting on 51 percent of his shots (69-135) and has 36 assists, five blocks and 11 steals.

     The Top 30 candidates for the John R. Wooden Award, the nation’s most coveted college basketball honor, were named Jan. 4 by The Los Angeles Athletic Club’s John R. Wooden Award Committee. Composed of the players who will compete for the player of the year award this season, the midseason list is based on individual excellence and team record during the first half of the season. Ohio State’s Evan Turner was added to the list despite missing six games with an injured back. Turner was averaging 17.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists a game before the injury. He currently leads the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding and is No. 2 is assists and steals.

   Against Purdue Jan. 12, the veteran of the Ohio State roster reached 100 games played in his fourth season in the program. David Lighty, who missed the majority of the 2008-09 season with a broken foot, is a junior this year after receiving a medical redshirt after playing just seven games a year ago. Lighty has appeared in 113 games to date, starting 81. With another year of eligibility, Lighty has a chance to play in more games than any Ohio State player previously and finish among the Top 10 in career starts. The career leader in games played is Jamar Butler with 139 from 2005-08. Jamaal Brown (1989-92) and Jerry Francis (1986-89) own the record for career starts with 126. Jon Diebler played in game 100 for his career at Ohio State vs. Michigan Feb. 27. He has 71 career starts.

   Seniors Mark Titus and Danny Peters have been a part of Ohio State’s program for 104 victories over their careers. The four-year record for victories by scholarship players is 105 set by Jamar Butler and Matt Terwilliger from 2005-08. The four-year record for wins at Ohio State is 107 from 2006-09 but there were no four-year seniors on the 2009 team. Peters and Titus both started their Ohio State careers as managers and joined the team as players for the start of the 2006-07 season. Peters was a manager in 2005-06 and Titus was a manager briefly in the fall of 2006 before he and Peters were added to the roster. Peters will leave Ohio State with five varsity letters.

 Junior Jon Diebler has made 230 career 3-pointers to rank No. 2 all time at Ohio State behind Jamar Butler’s 242 career makes. Butler played from 2005-08 and averaged nearly 61 made 3s a season. Diebler has averaged 77 a season over three years. Butler’s career percentage from long range ranks No. 8 all time at 37.2 percent accuracy (242-650). Diebler is shooting 38.0 percent (230-605) for his career. This after connecting on just 29 percent (48-166) as a freshman. He shot 42 percent as a sophomore (96-231) and is making 41 percent this season (86-208). In just four seasons has a Buckeye made 80 or more 3s in a season. Diebler has two of those after knocking down 96 treys as a sophomore.

     Thad Matta, now in his sixth season as head coach of the Buckeyes, has an overall win percentage of .739 (150-53) after 203 games at Ohio State. 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 68-33 record in Big Ten regular-season play (.673) 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.

   Thad Matta has directed Ohio State to at least 10 wins during non-conference play in each of six seasons in Columbus and is 10-3 this season at the conclusion of non-Big Ten play. Matta is 75-16 vs. non-conference competition at Ohio State and 75-37 vs. Big Ten competition (regular season and Big Ten tournament games) for an overall record of 150-53.

 Ohio State is 16-1 at home to date and shooting well on familiar ground. The Buckeyes are shooting 53 percent as a team at home this season and 40 percent from 3-point range. The team has reached 100 or more points three times and average a margin of victory of +22.4. Four Buckeyes average more than 10 points a game, led by Evan Turner’s 19.1 ppg. Jon Diebler contributes 13.4 points per game. David Lighty (12.3 ppg.) and William Buford (13.6 ppg.) follow Diebler. Turner is making 59 percent of his field goals (109-185) and Diebler tosses in 47 percent of his 3-point attempts (55-116). Six Buckeyes are shooting 50 percent or better at home. Dallas Lauderdale has missed nine shots on the VCA court this season. He is 49-60 overall (.817). Jeremie Simmons has connected on 34 of 63 FG attempts (.540) and Kyle Madsen is 22 of 33 (.667). 
LAST TIME vs. ILLINOIS: Ohio State 72, Illinois 53 , Feb. 14, 2010
CHAMPAIGN – No. 13 Ohio State used a barrage of 3s, most of them from Jon Diebler, to take an early 21-10 lead before finishing off Illinois, 72-53. The Buckeyes were 11 of 22 from 3-point range, including a 6-for-11 performance from Diebler, who led Ohio State with 18 points. David Lighty hit a trio of 3-pointers and scored 17. The Buckeyes held onto a piece of first place in the Big Ten, along with Michigan State. They’ve won nine in a row in the conference and six straight overall. After trailing by one early, the Buckeyes used an 18-6 run to finish the Illini off early.
      Illinois’ first and last lead (4-3) came just over two minutes into the game on a Mike Davis basket on a fast break. A single free throw from Evan Turner with 17:40 to play in the first half started the Buckeyes on an 18-6 run that gave them a 21-10 lead. Diebler ended the run with a 3-pointer – his second during that span – and the Buckeyes hit five of six shots from the field. From there, the Buckeyes coasted into halftime with a 36-20 lead.
      Demetri McCamey led Illinois with nine points – nearly seven short of his average. The much talked-about matchup between high school teammates McCamey and Turner turned into, for the most part, Turner’s show. Both went to St. Joseph High school in Bellwood, a Chicago suburb. Turner’s 16 points came mostly in the second half, but eight of his 11 rebounds were in the first 20 minutes and were a big piece of why the Buckeyes led by 16 at the half.

 Illinois leads the overall series with Ohio State 99-60 and the Illini are 40-37 in Columbus. The Buckeyes have won six of the last eight games, including three of the last four in Columbus. The Buckeyes are 17-9 overall when ranked in games vs. the Illini, including the most recent 72-53 victory vs. Illinois in Champaign Feb. 14. Ranked Ohio State teams are 10-1 vs. Illinois in Columbus. Three Buckeyes average 10 or more points vs. the Illini in the series. Evan Turner tops the scoring list with 11.2 points a game with William Buford (10.7 ppg.) and David Lighty (10.3 ppg.) also contributing double figures. Turner grabs an average of 7.2 rebounds a game in the series.


  • Ohio State leads the all-time series with Michigan 86-71 and has won 10 of the past 12. The Buckeyes are 50-26 in Columbus and have won the past six. Michigan won the season’s first meeting in Ann Arbor, 73-64, on Jan. 3. Evan Turner sat out the game with a back injury.
  • Under Jim Tressel (8-1), Jim Foster (11-0) and Thad Matta (10-2), Ohio State has a combined record of 29-3 vs. Michigan.
  • The Buckeyes are 14-2 in games when ranked ninth in the Associated Press Top 25.
  • Ohio State is 3-4 this season when trailing at the half.
  • Ohio State is 21-0 this season when leading with 5 minutes left in regulation and 14-0 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
  • Ohio State’s starting lineup of Evan Turner, David Lighty, Jon Diebler, William Buford and Dallas Lauderdale is 18-3 this season.
  • When ranked in the AP Top 25, Ohio State is 28-5 against Michigan. They have won seven of the past eight.
  • Ohio State has never lost at home to Michigan when ranked. The Buckeyes are 12-0 in such games.
  • Michigan is 1-7 all-time in Value City Arena.
  • After scoring a season-high 28 points in Michigan’s Jan. 3 win over Ohio State, the Buckeyes held DeShawn Sims to 11 points.
  • The Buckeyes have won 77 of their last 78 games against unranked opponents in Columbus (73 in Value City Arena, 3 in St. John Arena and 1 in Nationwide Arena). Their last loss to an unranked team was vs. West Virginia, Dec. 27, 2008 (76-48).
  • Ohio State held Michigan scoreless until the 15:45 mark of the first half, building a 9-0 lead.
  • Ohio State shot 63.6 percent (14-of-22) from the field in the first half and 60 percent (3-of-5) from behind the arc.
  • The Buckeyes are 16-1 in Value City Arena this season.
  • The team is shooting 52.7 percent from the field (479-of-908) and 40.1 percent from behind the arc (136-of-339) at Value City Arena this season.
  • Thad Matta’s record is now 252-84 in his 10th season all-time as a head coach. He is 150-53 in his sixth year at Ohio State.
  • Matta’s .738 winning percentage is tops in OSU history (Fred Taylor, .653).
  • Matta is 68-33 (.673) in Big Ten games, also the highest percentage all-time at Ohio State.
  • Under Matta, Ohio State is 123-20 overall against unranked opponents, 18-2 this season.
  • At home against unranked opponents under Matta, Ohio State is 86-2 overall and 14-0 for the 2009-10 campaign.
  • Evan Tuner has now played over 3,000 minutes in an Ohio State uniform.
  • Turner was 5-of-5 from the field and scored 11 points in the first half.
  • He finished 8-of-11 for the game, scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the season.
  • Turner had a career-high four blocked shots. He also recorded 7 assists.
  • With 11 rebounds, Turner passed Jim Smith for 16th all-time on the OSU career rebounds list (620).
  • William Buford made his 300th career field goal in the second half.
  • Buford led all scorers with 24 points. He also had nine rebounds and four assists.
  • Buford made nine field goals in the game.
  • Jon Diebler has made 230 career 3-pointers to rank No. 2 all-time at Ohio State behind Jamar Butler’s 242 career makes.
  • The game against Michigan was Jon Diebler’s 100th as a Buckeye.
  • Diebler has hit at least one 3 in 36 of last 37 games (minus Iowa, 1/27/10).
  • Dallas Lauderdale leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage, making 76.9 percent (90-of-117).
  • In homes games, Lauderdale is shooting 81.6 percent (49-of-60).
  • With a thunderous alley-oop dunk assisted by Evan Turner, Dallas Lauderdale scored his 400 career point as a Buckeye. 
  • Lauderdale tied a career-high with 14 points.

 Winter Olympics

  • All five Ohio State athletes in the Winter Olympics earned a medal.
  • In women’s hockey, Tessa Bonhomme won a gold medal competing for Canada, Lisa Chesson, a team USA member, won silver and Emma Laaksonen and Minttu Tuominen won bronze medals for Finland.
  • Ryan Kesler and his American teammates took home the silver after falling to Canada in the gold medal game, 3-2, in overtime. 
  • The equipment manager for the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team was Jim Jeans, equipment manager for the Ohio State women’s hockey team.

 Junior Evan Turner fell hard to the floor on a dunk attempt early in the first half vs. Eastern Michigan Dec. 5. He left the game and tests revealed a fracture in his lower back. He missed a little more than four weeks recovering from the injury. He returned to face Indiana Jan. 6, a 79-54 Ohio State victory. In that game Turner recorded eight points, four rebounds and a game-high five assists in 20 minutes of action.
 Evan Turner became just the second player in recorded history to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists with eight helpers vs. Northwestern Jan. 19. Jim Jackson is the only other Buckeye to do so with 1,785 career points, 552 career rebounds and 372 career assists from 1990-92. The pair also are the only Buckeyes to score more than 1,000 points, grab more than 500 rebounds and be among the Top 10 all-time in assists and steals.

 Only 21 players in Ohio State history have scored more than 1,000 points and collected 500+ rebounds. Evan Turner has 1,357 career points and 620 career rebounds at Ohio State. The most recent addition to the list was Terence Dials, who from 2002-06, scored 1,566 points and grabbed 876 rebounds. He was the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2006. Just 27 Ohio State players have recorded 500 or more career rebounds. J.J. Sullinger was the last to join the list in 2006 in his third season in Columbus. He finished his career with 535 career rebounds. 

 Ohio State has five opponents currently in the Top 25 nationally in the ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press weekly polls. Purdue, West Virginia, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Butler appear in both polls. Illinois is receiving votes on one.

 Evan Turner opened the season with five-consecutive double-doubles for the first time since Clark Kellogg did so in 1980-81. Turner reached 10 or more points and rebounds vs. Alcorn State (14/17/10 assts.), James Madison (24-17), North Carolina (23/11), California (26/14) and Lipscomb (16/10/11 assts.). Kellogg began the 1980-81 campaign with double-doubles in five-consecutive games vs. Cleveland State (23/14), at Kentucky (12/13), Colgate (16/17), South Alabama (18/18) and at Arizona State (18/10).
 The Buckeyes have an all-time record of 134-220 vs. ranked opponents in the Associated Press Top 25. That includes a mark of 55-112 vs. Top 10 foes. The Buckeyes are 3-4 in the last seven games vs. Top 10 teams. As a ranked team, Ohio State is 353-104 all-time. In games when both teams enter with a Top 25 ranking, Ohio State is 54-46. When ranked among the Top 10 nationally, Ohio State is 234-55 with wins in 25 of last 26 outings.

 Evan Turner has scored 1,357 points over 94 Ohio State games in his career for an average of 14.4 points a game. His 16 points vs. St. Francis (Pa.) Nov. 28 made him the 44th player in Ohio State history to reach 1,000 career points. With 25 points at Penn State Feb. 24, Turner moved to No. 22 all-time on the career scoring chart at Ohio State. Brent Darby is next at No. 21 with 1,368 career points. Two others on the current roster are on pace to reach 1,000 points. Junior David Lighty has 914 career points over 113 career games. Jon Diebler has 957 points (100 games) in his three seasons at Ohio State. William Buford is well on his way as a sophomore as well (797/63 games).

 Ohio State has had a player record a double-double (10+ points, rebs, assists, steals or blocks) in 802 games. The Buckeyes are 545-257 in those contests (.680). Evan Turner has 24 career double-doubles and the Buckeyes are 17-7 in those contests, including wins in 15 of his last 18 games with a D-D. Turner is among the Top 15 players in OSU history with 24 career double-doubles at No. 13. William Buford became the 100th Ohio State player to record a double-double with 16 points and 10 assists in Ohio State’s win vs. Eastern Michigan Dec. 5. He added his third D-D with 17 points and 10 rebounds at Michigan State Feb. 21.

 Ohio State has scored 100 or more points 69 times all-time and has a record of 68-1 in those games. The Buckeyes are 49-0 at home when reaching the century mark, 3-0 on neutral courts and 16-1 on opponent courts. The last win with 100 or more points was a 111-60 victory vs. Eastern Michigan Dec. 5. The only loss for OSU when scoring 100 points was a double-overtime thriller at LSU Jan. 15, 2005. The Buckeyes battled the Tigers but fell 113-101.

 Ohio State has made 10 or more 3-pointers in a game 65 times since the shot was instituted for the 1986-87 season. The Buckeyes are 54-11 in those games after knocking down 11 of 22 treys against Illinois Feb. 14. Opponents have made double-digit 3s 85 times and are 34-51 in those games vs. the Buckeyes. Matta’s Ohio State teams are 38-9 when making 10 or more 3s in a game.   

 The first four games of the regular-season made up the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer event on the Ohio State schedule. Alcorn State (Nov. 9) and James Madison (Nov. 12) traveled to Columbus before the Buckeyes played at Madison Square Garden in New York vs defending national champions North Carolina Nov. 19 and California Nov. 20.

 Mark Titus, senior walk-on from Brownsburg, Ind., has been writing and publishing his blog – –  for the last two years on college basketball from an “end-of-the-bench” perspective. Surpassing 2,000,000 hits, the blog is somewhat popular in college basketball circles. To take advantage of the interest in the site, Titus has teamed with “A Kid Again,” a local charity for children with life-threatening illnesses, to help support the charity’s efforts. For a $25 donation fans of the blog will receive a Club Tril T-shirt. All the proceeds will then go to support “A Kid Again.” Get your shirt today by placing an order at Almost 2,500 have been sold, raising nearly $30,000 for charity.
 Evan Turner was tabbed a preseason first team All-Big Ten selection by league media at the annual media day in Chicago. Turner is the league’s top returning scorer (17 ppg.). He led the Buckeyes in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals as a sophomore last year. Thad Matta’s Buckeyes were selected No. 3 in the preseason media poll behind Michigan State and Purdue.

 Ohio State will play five of the preseason Top 10 ranked teams (ESPN/coaches poll) in the country by year’s end. Preseason No. 2 Michigan State, No. 4 North Carolina, No. 7 Purdue, No. 9 West Virginia and No. 10 Butler all dot the Ohio State slate in 2009-10. Five Big Ten teams were ranked among the Top 20 with No. 15 Michigan, No. 18 Minnesota, and No. 17 Ohio State all slated among the top teams nationally. Ohio State also faced No. 12 California at the 2K Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer in New York, defeating the Bears 76-70. Illinois was just outside the preseason Top 25 at No. 27.
 Ohio State leads all Big Ten teams with seven players on current NBA rosters. The Big Ten started the season with 33 players on NBA active lists. Nine Big Ten teams have at least one player competing in the NBA. Michael Redd (Milwaukee Bucks) is the longest-tenured Buckeye in the NBA. Greg Oden (Portland), Michael Conley (Memphis), Daequan Cook (Miami), Othello Hunter (Atlanta), Kosta Koufos (Utah) and B.J. Mullens (Oklahoma) represent Ohio State in the NBA.
 The Ohio State roster grew by two in late October when Thad Matta added walk-on juniors Eddie Days and Dustin Reynolds. Days is the nephew of Buckeye great Jim Cleamons, a current assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers. Reynolds is the younger brother of former Ohio State women’s basketball player DiDi Reynolds. Dustin will sit out the 2009-10 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules (from Hillsdale College in Michigan). Days started his career vs. Presbyterian College Dec. 16, playing one minute in the victory over the Blue Hose. The Buckeyes now have four walk-on players on the roster. Danny Peters is a fifth-year senior and Mark Titus is in his senior campaign as well. Peters will end his career with five varsity letters, one as a manager (2006) and four as a student-athlete (2007-10).
 Junior Evan Turner averaged 4.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and led Team USA with 18 assists at the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia. The United States finished with a 6-1 record at the early-July event with Turner making three starts and averaging 16.3 minutes a game. He connected on 52 percent of his shots (12-23) and 4 of 5 free throws.

 Evan Turner led Ohio State and the Big Ten in scoring last season with an average of 17.3 points a game. He was No. 3 in rebounding as well with 7.1 and was among the Top 10 league players in steals (4th/1.8 spg.) and assists (8th/3.97). He was a finalist for Big Ten Player of the Year honors a season ago and will be among the favorites entering his junior season. His name has also garnered All-America consideration after earning a spot among the Top 15 finalists for the 2009 Oscar Robertson Award, given annually by the United States Basketball Writer’s Association to the player of the year in college basketball.   

 Jon Diebler, the all-time leading scorer in Ohio High School history, started slow in the college game from behind the arc, where he made a name for himself as a prep at Upper Sandusky High School. After shooting 29 percent from long range as a rookie (48-166), Diebler responded with a breakout sophomore season. He knocked down 96 of 231 treys for 41.6 percent accuracy. That effort was second in the Big Ten for makes and is the second-most single season 3s made in Ohio State history. He already is second all-time at Ohio State in 3s made in a career (230) and his eight 3s made at Northwestern last year rates No. 2 in Ohio State’s record book for 3s made in a game.

 With nearly the entire roster returning from the 2008-09 season, Matta and the Buckeyes took a preseason international trip to Canada. The excursion allowed the Buckeyes 10 practices and a few competitions before the official start of practice Oct. 16. The Buckeyes played three games between Aug. 27-31 in Canada vs. teams from the Windsor area. Ohio State last left the country for competition during the summer of 2001 when the squad traveled to Italy, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands.

 Ohio State was again one of the top draws in college basketball in 2008-09. The Buckeyes drew nearly 280,000 fans to home games last season to rate No. 14 nationally in home attendance. The Buckeyes have been among the Top 20 in home attendance in each of the last 11 years, all while playing at the Jerome Schottenstein Center (19,049). Ohio State games both home and on the road drew 477,000 fans last year, No. 16 nationally. The Buckeyes have been a Top 20 draw nationally in 10 of the last 11 years and led the nation in all-game attendance in 2007. The Big Ten led the nation in attendance for the 33rd-consecutive season in 2008-09. An average of 12,519 fans attended 193 Big Ten games a season ago. 

 Matta added Jeff Boals to the staff after the departure of assistant coach Archie Miller, who left to coach alongside his brother Sean, the new University of Arizona head coach. Boals, a 1995 graduate of Ohio University, left Akron to join the Buckeyes. His tenacity as a player with the Bobcats is expected to transfer to the Ohio State roster, especially the post players.