Ohio State (3-0) vs. Texas A&M (5-0)
NIT Preseason Tip-Off Championship
7 p.m. Nov. 23, ESPN2
Madison Square Garden, New York
Noting Ohio State
Freshman Kosta Koufos, a 7-0 center from Canton, Ohio, tallied a career-high 24 points in the 79-65 victory over No. 21 Syracuse Wednesday. Koufos leads Ohio State in scoring (20.3 ppg.), rebounding (8.0 rpg.), shooting percentage (.605/26-43) and is tied for the top spot with seven blocks on the season.
Jon Diebler, another Ohio State rookie, also recorded a career high with 12 points. He connected on 7 of 8 free throws, handed out two assists and was credited with two steals in 36 minutes of game action.
Ohio State improved to 4-1 in the all-time series vs. Syracuse. The Buckeyes are 69-46 all-time vs. teams currently representing the Big East Conference.
With the win over the Orange, Ohio State is 19-14 against the 2007 NIT field.
Thad Matta is 12-12 vs. ranked teams as the Ohio State head coach and 1-0 this season. Ohio State is 3-0 when leading at the half and when leading with 5:00 to play in games this season.
Senior Jamar Butler moved to the No. 7 position in career assists with five in the Syracuse game. He has 378 as a Buckeye. He passed Brian Brown (374/1999-2002) and trails No. 6 Larry Bolden (401/1974-77) by 23 helpers.
Butler also moved closer to taking over the career lead in 3-pointers made. He has 151 after knocking down 4 of 6 3-point attempts against Syracuse. Brent Darby (2000-03) and Scoonie Penn (1999-00) are tied for the top spot with 153 career made treys. Butler is No. 6 all-time in career 3-pointers attempted with 403. Tony Stockman (2004-05) is No. 6 with 404.
Butler is moving closer to career point 1,000. He eclipsed the 800 mark with 14 vs. the Orange. He has contributed 808 points over his career for an average of 7.7 points a game. His scoring average this season of 16.7 points a game nearly doubles his 8.5 ppg a season ago.
Senior Othello Hunter, who had 15 points with three assists, two blocks and a steal against SU, improved his career rebounding total to 199 with eight boards Wednesday.
Against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, Ohio State has an all-time record of 121-209 after the 79-65 victory over No. 21 Syracuse. The last time an unranked Ohio State team defeated a ranked opponent was the 65-64 victory over No. 1 Illinois March 6, 2005 in Columbus.
The last time an unranked Ohio State team defeated a ranked opponent on the road was a 65-59 victory Jan. 31 2004 at No. 21 Purdue. A 58-50 victory over No. 18 Wisconsin serves as the last time the unranked Buckeyes knocked off a ranked foe at a neutral site (3/14/03) at the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago.
The last time an unranked Buckeye squad defeated a ranked non-conference foe on a neutral court was a 69-67 victory over No. 18 Boston College Dec. 23, 1993 at the Maui Invitational.
The Buckeyes and Texas A&M have not met since 1957. The teams have met twice in the all-time series with each team owning one victory. Ohio State won the first meeting 54-40 Dec. 20, 1947 in Columbus. The Aggies returned to Columbus Dec. 14, 1957 and downed the Buckeyes 72-69.
Ohio State has the slight edge in games played against Big 12 squads. Against 10 Big 12 teams, Ohio State is 22-21 all-time. The Buckeyes have not faced Baylor or Colorado. Missouri has played nine games vs. the Buckeyes, the most of any Big 12 team. The Buckeyes are 5-4 in that series.
Thad Matta is 4-3 during his eight-year tenure as a head coach vs. Big 12 competition. Since joining the Ohio State program in 2004-05, Matta owns victories against Iowa State and Texas Tech.
The Buckeyes and Aggies were on course to face one another in the 2007 NCAA Tournament in San Antonio, Texas but UTAM fell to Memphis before Ohio State knocked off Tennessee.
In the four seasons Matta has coached in Columbus, the Buckeyes have opened with at least four-victories. The 2004-05 team opened 4-0 before an overtime loss to Creighton in Kansas City, Mo., in the Guardians Classic. The 2005-06 squad opened 11-0 before dropping a road game to Indiana 81-79 in Bloomington. A season ago, Ohio State began the season 6-0 before a loss at North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Buckeyes are 3-0 heading into the NIT Preseason Tip-Off title game vs. Texas A&M Friday.
In three NIT appearances all-time, Ohio State is 3-2.
Ohio State returns to Columbus immediately after the game Friday and will have a day to prepare for a game against Virginia Military Institute at 8 p.m. Sunday (for tickets call 1-800 GO BUCKS or online at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com). The game will be played at Ohio State’s former home, St. John Arena. The Buckeyes then take on North Carolina Nov. 28 (9 p.m./ESPN) at Value City Arena, now in its 10th season as Ohio State’s home court on the Ohio State campus. That game is part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Butler, Thad Matta’s alma mater (1990) is next up Dec. 1 in Indianapolis. That game ends a stretch of five games in 11 days prior to finals week on the Ohio State campus.
During that stretch of games, the Buckeyes will play in some of the most storied venues in college basketball history. After two games at Madison Square Garden in New York, Ohio State returns to Columbus for a game at St. John Arena, where Ohio State owns a record of 427-151. Then, after playing host to North Carolina Nov. 27, the Buckeyes travel to Hinkle Fieldhouse to take on Butler Dec. 1.