Dec. 14, 2015

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The Ohio State Buckeyes (4-5) vs. Northern Illinois (7-1)

Date: Dec. 16, 2015
Site: Value City Arena (19,049)
Game Time: 7:06 p.m.
Television: BTN
Talent: Tom Hamilton (Play-By-Play)
Shon Morris (Expert Analysis)
Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (56 stations)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 83/XM 201
Local Radio: WBNS-FM 97.1, AM-1460
Radio Talent: Paul Keels (play-by-play)
Ron Stokes (Expert Anelysis)

Starting Five
•    Ohio State has shot better from the field than its opponent in eight of nine games this season and is 4-5 to date. Ohio State outshot 23 opponents a year ago and were 23-0 in those games. In the Matta era, the Buckeyes have outshot foes 294 times and are 266-28 in those games (.905).
•    Opponents are shooting 76.6 percent (118-154) from the foul line against the Buckeyes, the sixth best nationally. Miami (Ohio) foes are shooting 81.3 percent to lead the country. Only three power five conference teams are among the Top 20 in free throw percentage defense–Ohio State at No. 8, Kansas at No. 13 (.756) and Illinois at No. 24 (.744).
•    Thad Matta has coached 402 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).
•    Streaks: Marc Loving has made at least one 3-pointer in eight of nine games this season … Loving has scored 10 or more points in all nine games this season and has recorded a double-double in two of the last three contests … JaQuan Lyle leads Ohio State with 45 assists with at least four helpers in six of the last eight games … Keita Bates-Diop has been to the foul line at least twice in eight of nine games … he leads the team making 92 percent on the year at the stripe (24-26)  … as a team Ohio State has rejected at least four opposing shots in eight of nine games this season.
•    Marc Loving scored 14 points at Connecticut to surpass the 600-point plateau for his career (6-6) …he’s averaged 8.0 points a game over the last three seasons but is leading the team with 16.8 points per game this season…he needs eight made field goals to reach 200 for his career (192-438/.438).       

Buckeyes Seldom Rejected
In nine games this season, opponents have blocked just 12 of Ohio State’s 504 field goal attempts, tied for the fewest in the country with University of Washington foes. Ohio State, which did not block a shot in its game vs. Connecticut, has blocked 52 of its 517 opponent shot attempts, tied for 25th most nationally. Ohio State opponents have rejected just 2.3 percent of the Buckeyes shot attempts while Ohio State swats 10 percent of its foes attempts. The Buckeyes are second in the Big Ten in average blocks per game with 5.8, trailing Minnesota’s 6.2 rejections a game.    

Ohio State in the Big Ten
Marc Loving is tied for sixth in scoring among Big Ten Conference players with 16.8 points per game, which leads the Buckeyes. He also is tied for the No. 6 spot in rebounding with 6.9 boards a game. Keita Bates-Diop leads the conference in foul shooting at 92.3 percent (24-26). JaQuan Lyle is No. 6 in assists per game with an average of 5.0 helpers a game. Daniel Giddens leads the league in blocks per game at 2.9 a game. He also is No. 6 in offensive boards a contest with 2.4. Loving is tied for No. 7 in defensive rebounds a game (4.9) and is fifth in minutes per game (35.1).   

Matta Reaches Career, Ohio State History
Thad Matta has made a habit of achieving records and milestones over his coaching career, which spans 16 years. After a season at Butler, three at Xavier and the last 12 in Columbus, Matta coached his 500th career game as a head coach Dec. 13 vs. Morehead State. As an Ohio State head coach, the 13th in the history of the program, Matta set the all-time wins record, surpassing Fred Taylor’s 297 career victories over 18 seasons from 1959-1976, with a 79-73 win vs. Minnesota March 12, 2015 in Chicago. The Minnesota victory also gave him his 400th career win (405-128). Matta teams have never failed to win at least 20 games. His Ohio State teams have averaged 27.2 victories over his 11 full years in Columbus. He coached in his 400th career game (303-98) at Ohio State when the Buckeyes defeated VMI Dec. 5 (89-62). 

Last Time vs. the Huskies
Ohio State and Northern Illinois are playing for just the second time. The previous meeting was Dec. 8, 1969 in Columbus. The No. 18 Buckeyes defeated the Huskies 106-99 in that meeting. Four Buckeyes were in double figures led by Jim Cleamons and Dave Sorenson each tallied 28 points. Jody Finney added 25 and Craig Barclay contributed 19 points. Sorenson and Cleamons were in double figures on the boards as well with 15 and 10, respectively.

Scouting Northern Illinois
The Huskies have been idle since a 78-71 loss at Missouri Dec. 4. Northern Illinois is 7-1 on the season with a 6-0 record at home and a 1-1 slate on the road. The Huskies are led by Aaric Armstead, a junior from Chicago, with 12.4 points a game. Freshman Marshawn Wilson, a guard from Oakdale, Minnesota, also is in double figures with 11.0 points a game. Marin Maric, a sophomore from Split, Croatia, is the squad’s top rebounder with 7.8 rpg.

Ohio State vs. the Mid-American Conference
The Buckeyes are 54-13 against the current alignment of Mid-American Conference members. Ohio State has met each MAC school at least once with the exception of Buffalo. Ohio State last faced a MAC school a season ago in Columbus, a 93-55 victory for the No. 21 Buckeyes at Value City Arena.

Akron    6-1
Ball State    2-1
Bowling Green    4-2
Central Michigan    2-0
Eastern Michigan    2-0
Kent State    5-0
Miami (Ohio)    6-2
Northern Illinois    1-0
Ohio    18-4
Toledo    5-3
Western Michigan    3-0
Totals    54-13

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