Jan. 2, 2016

OSU Notes Illinois Notes Big Ten Notes 2015-16 Schedule

Preview: Coach Matta  |  Preview: Trevor Thompson & Keita Bates-Diop

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The Ohio State Buckeyes (9-5, 1-0) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (8-6, 0-1)

Date: Jan. 3, 2016
Site: Value City Arena (19,049)
Game Time: 5 p.m.
Television: BTN
Talent: Jeff Levering (Play-By-Play)
Shon Morris (Expert Analysis)
None (Sideline)
Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (56 stations)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 84/XM 84
Local Radio: WBNS-FM 97.1, AM-1460
Radio Talent: Paul Keels (play-by-play)
Ron Stokes (Expert Anelysis)

Starting Five, Plus One
•    Ohio State has shot better from the field than its opponent in 13 of 14 games this season and is 9-5 to date. Ohio State outshot 23 opponents a year ago and was 23-0 in those games. In the Matta era, the Buckeyes have outshot foes 299 times and are 271-28 in those games (.906).
•    Ohio State opponents have not blocked a field goal attempt in the the last three games. The Buckeyes have not had a shot rejected since the second half of the Kentucky game Dec. 19 in New York, a span of 127 minutes and 31 seconds of game time. Skal Labissiere of Kentucky is the last to block an Ohio State shot with 12:29 left to play in the second half of Ohio State’s 74-67 win over the No. 4 Wildcats. The last time three consecutive opponents failed to block an Ohio State field goal attempt was at the start of the 1996 non-conference schedule when South Florida, Louisiana-Lafayette and Kent State all failed to block a Buckeye shot. Ohio State has won the last nine games in which an opponent did not block a shot.  
•    Keita Bates-Diop scored a career-high 24 points to go with 10 rebounds vs. SCSU. Trevor Thompson added 10 points and 10 boards to mark the fourth time this season the Buckeyes posted a pair of double-doubles in a single game. Ohio State is 135-51 (.725) all-time when two players record a double-double. The last time an OSU duo recorded double-doubles in the same game four times was during the 2007-08 season. The last time Ohio State recorded double-doubles in five or more games was during the 1982-83 season when it happed five times. Granville Waiters and Tony Campbell were the two players with double-doubles in all five.   
•    Opponents are shooting 74.4 percent (174-234) from the foul line against the Buckeyes, the 14th best nationally. Tulsa foes are shooting 77.5 percent to lead the country. Only one power five conference team is among the Top 20 in free throw percentage defense–Ohio State at No. 14.
•    Thad Matta has coached 407 games at Ohio State, the third most in school history. Harold G. Olsen (1923-46) and Fred Taylor (1959-76), have reached 400 or more games at Ohio State. Olsen coached 456 (259-197) and Taylor 455 (297-158).
•    Currently, Matta has the second longest tenure in the Big Ten with 12 years on the sidelines in Columbus. Tom Izzo at Michigan State has been with the Spartans over the last 21 seasons.

Ohio State vs. Illinois Series
Illinois leads the series with the Buckeyes, 101-69. Ohio State is 44-40 in Columbus. The teams will twice this year. The Buckeyes are 24-60 in Champaign and 1-1 on neutral courts in the series. The Buckeyes have won the last four games vs. the Illini and 10 of the last 12. Ohio State has won the last six in Columbus after a 70-68 win for the Illini Feb. 22, 2009. Overall, Thad Matta is 15-5 vs. Illinois and is 9-1 in Columbus. Four returning Buckeyes have seen action in the Illinois series with junior Marc Loving leading the way with three games played against the Illini. He averages 7.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in the Illinois series. Jae’Sean Tate scored nine points a season ago in his lone matchup vs. Illinois.

Last Time vs. Illinois
D’Angelo Russell scored 22 points, including eight during a decisive 15-0 second-half run, to lead No. 20 Ohio State past Illinois 77-61 Jan. 3, 2015 in Columbus. The Buckeyes trailed by eight in the first half and by three in the early minutes of the second. They turned the tide with an attacking, opportunistic man-to-man defense. Sam Thompson and Marc Loving each added 13 points for the Buckeyes. The Illini didn’t score from Kendrick Nunn’s 3 at the 16:33 mark until Nnanna Egwu hit two foul shots with 11:06 remaining. After Russell hit a 3 to tie it, substitute big man Trey McDonald made two free throws for the Buckeyes’ first lead of the day. Loving scored three points and Thompson tipped in an inbounds pass before Russell saved a ball going out of bounds by flipping it behind his back to Loving, who then passed to Russell for an easy layup. Russell’s 3 after a five-second call on an Illinois inbounds play made it 56-44. Illinois never threatened again.

Scouting the Illini
Illinois enters the game with the Buckeyes with four Illini averaging 10 or more points a game. Junior guard Malcolm Hill (18.1 ppg.), junior guard Kendrick Nunn (19.0), graduate forward Mike Thorne Jr. (13.4) and freshman forward Michael Finke (10.1) lead a balanced Illinois offense. Thorne Jr. is the team’s leading rebounder with 8.4 boards a game. Illinois opened the season with a 3-6 record before recording wins in its last five non-conference outings. The Illini dropped its Big Ten Conference opener to Michigan last Wednesday in Champaign (78-68).  

Ohio State vs. The Big Ten
Ohio State begins its 104th season as a member of the Big Ten Conference in 2015-16. The Buckeyes own an overall record of 784-693 against current league members. Thad Matta, in 16 seasons as a head coach, owns an overall record of 159-70 vs. league members, including a mark of 156-67 while coaching the Buckeyes.  

For more on the Buckeyes click on the Ohio State Notes link above.