Monday, 3:42 p.m.: The Ohio State men’s basketball team is on the court at the Schottenstein Center preparing for the final time in Columbus before boarding a flight to Miami, Fla., to take on the Miami Hurricanes in the Big Ten/ACC challenge Tuesday. The game is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday and will be televised by ESPN. Dave O’Brien and Steve Lavin will provide the commentary while Allen Hopkins will report from the sidelines. This broadcast crew is familiar with the Buckeyes having called the games in New York during the preseason NIT last November at Madison Square Garden (a win vs. Syracuse and a loss to Texas A&M). Hopkins also was on the sideline when the Buckeyes returned to New York for the postseason NIT wins over Mississippi and UMass. The Buckeyes are schedule to depart Columbus at about 6:30 and should arrive in Miami and the team hotel by about 9 p.m. After a quick dinner, it’s lights out.
Monday, 10 p.m.-After a slight delay in Columbus to de-ice the plan at Port Columbus Airport, the Buckeyes landed in Miami after a two hour, 50-minute flight. The pilots battled a headwind of 170 miles per hour causing the trip to take a bit longer than expected. The players and basketball staff spent the flight watching movies, reading, studying game film and catching up on sleep. Temperatures in Columbus were in the mid 30s upon takeoff but when the team set foot on the tarmac in Miami the weather was mild with temperatures in the upper 70s. The bus ride to the hotel is expected to be less than 30 minutes. The team will arrive, grab room keys and luggage and find their rooms before gathering for a late dinner at the hotel. Wake up call is 9:15 Tuesday.
Tuesday, 10:03 a.m.-Wake up call for the Ohio State men’s basketball team came at 9 a.m. in overcast, 70-degree South Florida. The travel party gathered at 9:15 for breakfast and afterwards the team will spend about 90 minutes in study hall with Chad McClellan, a member of the Ohio State Student Athlete Support Services team who works with men’s basketball. McClellan travels with the team during weekday games when Ohio State classes are in session to run study table. The Buckeyes are scheduled to leave the hotel at 11:30 a.m. for their scheduled 60-minute shoot around at BankUnited Center, home of the Miami Hurricanes.
Tuesday, 2:10 p.m.-The team arrived back at the team hotel shortly before 2 p.m. after spending a little more than an hour working out at the BankUnited Center on the campus of the University of Miami. After shootaround, Thad Matta taped an interview with the Miami Heat video staff. Former Buckeye Daequan Cook was the topic of the discussion. Cook was the Heat’s first round draft pick in 2007. Now in his sophomore season in the NBA, Cook is playing a significant roll with the Heat this year. The Interview will be used for a feature story on Cook and will be shown on the video board during Heat home games. Matta also taped a radio interview with the Miami Radio Network before the Buckeyes boarded the bus for the return trip to the hotel. ESPN cameras were on hand setting up for the game later tonight. As shootaround ended, the camera crew shot some video of freshman B.J. Mullens and sophomore Dallas Lauderdale standing side by side under one of the baskets. The visual was shot to demonstrate Lauderdale’s wing span compared with Mullens’ height. The two are nearly the same height from floor to fingertips when their arms are stretched toward the basket. Mullens is 7-feet tall and Lauderdale measures 6-feet-8-inches. Look for that shot during the telecast. The team is off for an hour before gathering once again at about 2:45 p.m. for a brief video session. Pregame meal is set for 3 p.m.
Former Ohio State assistant rowing coach Robbie Tenenbaum, now the head women’s rowing coach at Miami, also attended Ohio State’s shootaround. Tenenbaum was an assistant from 1999-2006 at Ohio State, where he was named central region assistant coach of the year twice (2005, 2006).
Dave Richardson, Ohio State’s strength and conditioning coach for basketball, was hired away from Miami to work with the Buckeyes. Richardson, who will be the pregame interview on the Ohio State Radio Network tonight with Paul Keels on 1460 The Fan (locally in Columbus), stopped in his old weight room to reminisce.
The Buckeyes are schedule to check out of the hotel at 5 p.m. for the game tonight (7 p.m. ESPN). The drive to the arena should take less than 30 minutes, giving the team about 90 minutes to make the final preparations.
Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.-Both teams have warmed up a little and are now back in their respective locker rooms putting the finishing touches on the gameplan. The student section at the BankUnited Center is filling in and the 30-or-so member band is starting to get ready as well. The studnets are primarily dressed in Orange while the cheerleaders are clad in green, the same color as the empty chairs in the lower bowl of the 7,200 seat facility. Steve Lavin, who will be providing the color commentary for ESPN, spent a few mintues talking to the Ohio State assistant coaches in preparation for the broadcast. Lavin, the former UCLA head coach and Purdue assistant, is a Big Ten expert who will be working several Ohio State games this year. Alan Major, a former Purdue basketball manager, and Lavin are long time friends. The teams are back out on the court. We are less than 30 minutes away from tip.
Tuesday 8 p.m.-Halftime. It was a struggle the first 20 minutes for the Buckeyes with 22 points scored on 8 of 29 shooting. Evan Turner played just eight minutes with foul trouble and Dallas Lauderdale played just 10 minutes. Jack McClinton of the Hurricanes was ejected from the game after being called for a flagrant foul on Ohio State’s Anthony Crater. The officials ruled McClinton raked Crater’s face to earn the foul. Miami did make a 3-pointer on the play that was allowed. The Buckeye defense is keeping Ohio State in the game. There is still 20 minutes to play.
Wednesday 2:15 a.m.-A lot can change in 20 minutes and the Buckeyes proved that Tuesday night after trailing Miami 36-22 at the half. Evan Turner, limited to eight minutes in the first half, responded with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists, a block and three steals in the second half to help the Buckeyes steal a victory from the No. 22 ranked Hurricanes. Jon Diebler led Ohio State with a career high 20 points on a career best six made 3-pointers. Miami turned the ball over 10 times in the second half and the Buckeyes took advantage to score 14 points off those turnovers to claim the 73-68 victory. The lockerroom was buzzing after the win, an important road victory vs. a ranked team that could help the Buckeyes when March rolls around. Ohio State touched down at 1:06 a.m. Wednesday at Port Columbus and was back at Value City Arena by 1:45. The team will take the day off from practice Wednesday but will get back to work Thursday in preparation for another quality opponent, No. 8 Notre Dame Saturday in Indianapolis (4 p.m./ESPNU).