Feb. 20, 2007

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Date: Feb. 21, 2007
Opponent: Penn State (10-15, 1-11)
Site: Value City Arena (18,500)
Game Time: 8 p.m. ET
Television: ESPN Plus
Local TV: WBNS Ch. 10
TV Talent: Tom Hamilton (P-by-P), Bill Hosket (Expert Analysis)
Radio: OSU Radio Network (60 stations)
Local Radio: WBNS FM-97.1 AM-1460
Radio Talent: Paul Keels (P-by-P), Ron Stokes (Expert Analysis)

The recent win over Minnesota was the 10th-consecutive victory in Big Ten play for the Buckeyes. The league win streak is the longest since 1971. A win vs. Penn State would give Ohio State the most consecutive victories in league play since a 12-game streak in 1962. Ohio State was 13-1 in conference play that season, winning the Big Ten title and advancing to the NCAA title game, where it lost to Cincinnati 71-59. The Buckeyes have won 10-consecutive regular-season league games six times in history.

Yr. Strk. Big Ten Rcd. Overall NCAA
1950 10 12-1 (1st) 22-4 Regs.
1960 12 13-1 (1st) 25-3 Champs
1961 14 14-0 (1st) 27-1 Title gm.
1962 12 13-1 (1st) 26-2 Title gm.
1971 10 13-1 (1st) 20-6 Regs.
2007 10 12-1 (1st) 24-3  

Note: OSU record for consecutive Big Ten wins is 27 over the 1960-62 conference seasons: 1960 (1), 1961 (14), 1962 (12).

Jamar Butler has recorded 104 assists to date this season after dishing out five in the win at Minnesota Sunday. Freshman Mike Conley Jr. is the team and Big Ten leader with 173 assists on the year. The last time Ohio State had two players with 100+ assists in a season was the 1996-97 season when Damon Stringer (120) and Shaun Stonerook (101) accomplished the feat.

Ohio State ended the 2006 season ranked No. 6 in the final Associated Press Poll and No. 13 in the last ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. This year, after losing four senior starters from 2005-06, the Buckeyes currently are ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll and No. 2 in the AP Top 25. The Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 earlier this season in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll when playing at North Carolina Nov. 29. The current No. 2 ranking in the AP poll is the highest since Ohio State was No. 2 during the 1991 season during a stretch of seven games from Feb. 14 to March 10 that year.

Ohio State is 46-39 all-time when playing in a game in which both teams are ranked. The Buckeyes are 219-54 (.802) when playing with an AP Top 10 ranking and 318-94 (.772) when playing with an AP Top 25 rating. Ohio State has been ranked among the AP’s Top 10 in each of the last 34 games dating back to March 1, 2006 (No. 9 at Northwestern). The Buckeyes are 29-5 during that stretch with losses to No. 10 Iowa (76-70, 3/12/06), vs. No. 23 Georgetown (70-52, 3/19/06), at No. 3 UNC (98-89, 11/29/06), at No. 5 Florida (86-60, 12/23/06) and at No. 3 Wisconsin (72-69, 1/9/07). Ohio State has been a Top 25 squad for the last 52 games (43-9) since Dec. 23, 2005 as the No. 24 team in a win vs. Tennessee St. (75-65).

Mike Conley Jr., the Big Ten’s leader in assists, steals and assist-to-turnover ratio, earned co-Big Ten player of the week honors (Feb. 12) after he led Ohio State to a pair of home wins last week to remain unbeaten at home (16-0) and tied for the top spot in Big Ten Conference play with a 12-1 record. Conley, a freshman point guard from Indianapolis, averaged 18.5 points and five assists while connecting on 61 percent of his shots from the field, 75 percent of his 3-point attempts and 86 percent of his foul shots. He scored a career-high 23 points in the win over Michigan (Feb. 6) while making 9-of-12 shots from the field and handing out six assists with just one turnover. He shared the award with Wisconsin senior forward Alando Tucker.

Ohio State has won 10 or more games in Big Ten Conference play 25 times in history. The Buckeyes are 12-1 vs. league competition to date with three regular-season conference games to play. Ohio State, 12-4 in 2005, has posted back-to-back double-digit wins in conference play for the first time since 1990-92 when Ohio State reached at least 10 conference wins over three-consecutive seasons.

Thad Matta has directed the Buckeyes to a 48-3 record in Columbus in three seasons as head coach of the Buckeyes. He is 46-3 overall at Value City Arena, which includes a 27-0 record vs. non-conference foes. Ohio State defeated Chattanooga in November of 2005 at St. John Arena on the OSU campus and Youngstown State at Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus earlier this season. The 32-1 mark over the last two seasons at VCA is the best two-year record in the facility since Ohio State began play in 1998-99. The Buckeyes set the building record with 16 victories in 2005-06 and have tied the mark this year with two home games remaining.

Matta at Value City Arena…

Current win streak 23
vs. the Big Ten 19-3
vs. non-conference 27-0
in 2004-05 14-2 (6-2 in Big Ten)
in 2005-06 16-1 (7-1 in Big Ten)
in 2006-07 16-0 (6-0 in Big Ten)
as OSU head coach 46-3
Total in Columbus 48-3*

* Includes 1 win each at St. John and Nationwide arenas in Columbus.

MATTA REACHES 7TH 20-WIN SEASON AS HEAD COACH Thad Matta does not know what it’s like to end a season with fewer than 20 wins during his head coaching career. The third-year Ohio State coach came to the Buckeyes with a streak of four 20+ win seasons at Butler (24 wins in 2001) and Xavier (26 in all three years from 2002-04). With 20 victories in 2004-05, 26 a season ago and 24 this year at Ohio State, Matta is one of two coaches nationally to record 20 or more wins in the first seven seasons of his coaching career. Mark Few of Gonzaga is the other with 20+ in all seven years with the Bulldogs (18-10 to date in 2006-07). Matta has the Buckeyes off to a 24-3 record this season. Overall, Ohio State has enjoyed 18 20-win seasons. The first was a 22-4 campaign in 1950 under the direction of head coach William H.H. Dye. Legendary Ohio State coach Fred Taylor recorded six 20-win campaigns. Eldon Miller directed four while Gary Williams and Randy Ayers each coached two teams to 20 or more wins in a season. Matta became the only Ohio State coach to guide his first three Buckeye teams to 20 or more victories. Bruce Weber is the only other current Big Ten head coach to reach 20+ wins in the first three seasons in the conference. Weber was 26-7 in 2003-04, 37-2 in 2004-05 and 26-7 in 2005-06.

ODEN NAMED TO WOODEN AWARD TOP 30 LIST The John R. Wooden Award Committee announced the Wooden Award Midseason All-American list in late January. Composed of the Top 30 players who will compete for the player of the year award this season, the midseason list is based on individual player performance and team records during the first half of the season. The midseason list includes Ohio State freshman center Greg Oden, who leads the Buckeyes in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. He earned Big Ten player of the week Jan. 29 after leading the Buckeyes to a pair of wins over Northwestern and Michigan State. Oden was one of 10 newcomers added to the list of preseason candidates for the award.

ODEN CLAIMS OHIO STATE’S SECOND BIG TEN WEEKLY HONOR Greg Oden, a freshman center, averaged a double-double in a pair of wins for the then-fifth-ranked Buckeyes to earn the Big Ten’s Player of the Week honor, which he shared with Wisconsin’s Alando Tucker Jan. 29. Oden’s 18 points per game and 11.5 rebound average led Ohio State to victories at Northwestern and at home against Michigan State. He connected on 59 percent of his field goals (10-17) and 67 percent of his foul shots (16-24). Oden continues to shoot with his off hand, his left, from the foul line as his natural shooting right wrist heals from offseason surgery.

Against Northwestern, Oden recorded a career-high 17 rebounds. Northwestern had 19 rebounds as a team. His 11-of-14 shooting from the foul line against Michigan State was instrumental in Ohio State’s 66-64 victory over the Spartans.

CONLEY’S NUMBERS MOUNT DURING BIG TEN SEASON Ohio State freshman Mike Conley Jr. has orchestrated 11-consecutive wins for the Buckeyes from his point guard position. In wins vs. Northwestern (1/17) and Iowa (1/20), Conley handed out 10 assists in each game, was credited with eight steals, became Ohio State’s all-time leader in assists by a freshman (173), posted back-to-back games with 10 assists for the first time since 1988, averaged a double-double with 12.5 points and 10.0 assists, recorded a career high with 17 points (vs. Northwestern), shot 63 percent from the field (10-16) and played 66 minutes with just four turnovers. In 13 Big Ten games, Conley averages 6.7 assists, 2.2 steals and a +3.6 assist-to-turnover ratio (87/24). Four of his five 10-assist games this season have come against Big Ten foes (Indiana, Northwestern, Iowa and Minnesota).

OSU FRESHMEN SETTING RECORDS Ohio State freshmen are setting rookie records this season with several games still to come. Point guard Mike Conley Jr. has five games this season in which he has handed out 10 assists, which set an OSU record for double-digit assist games in a season. Conley’s 10-assist games rate No. 2 in the freshman records book behind the 11 handed out by Damon Stringer against Central Connecticut State in 1995. In the single game steals category, Conley is tied for the top spot among freshmen all-time at OSU with five thefts three times this year. He also has six of the Top 7 games for a rookie with four or more steals. His 173 assists are a freshman record as is his 65 steals on the year. Greg Oden is No. 4 among OSU freshmen in scoring average (15.5 ppg.), No. 2 in field goal percentage (.611/116-190), No. 2 in rebounding (9.5 rpg.) and No. 2 in blocked shots (71). Daequan Cook is No. 1 in 3-point shooting pct. (.465/47-101) and No. 1 in 3-pointers made (46).

CONLEY AMONG TOP 5 NATIONALLY IN ASSISTS Freshman Mike Conley Jr. averages 6.4 assists a game for the Buckeyes this season. He leads the Big Ten with 173 assists and is No. 5 nationally. Conley’s 65 steals leads all conference players. His steals average (2.4 spg.) is No. 21 nationally.

CONLEY JR., BUTLER ON POINT Ohio State’s point guard tandem of Mike Conley Jr. and Jamar Butler rate Nos. 1 and 8, respectively, in assists and Nos. 1 and 3 in assist/turnover ratio among all Big Ten players. The pair has combined to hand out 277 assists while committing 101 turnovers (+2.7 a/t ratio). Conley’s 173 assists this season has him on pace to break Ohio State’s single season record for assists (188) currently held by Curtis Wilson (1984-88) as a senior. Conley is on pace for a 199-assist season with a minimum of four games remaining on the OSU schedule. Butler recorded 144 assists as a sophomore, good for the No. 9 spot all-time at OSU in single-season assists. With 322 to date, Butler needs five to take over the No. 10 spot all time for career assists currently held by Carter Scott (1978-81) with 326.

FIVE BUCKEYES RECORD DOUBLE-DOUBLES Five Ohio State players have recorded a double-double this season to date after freshman Mike Conley Jr. scored a then-career-high 17 points to go with 10 assists in a 73-41 win over Northwestern Jan. 17. Freshmen Daequan Cook and Greg Oden, junior Othello Hunter and senior Ron Lewis each have scored 10 or more points while grabbing at least 10 boards in a game already this year. The last time an Ohio State team had five different players record double doubles was in 1994-95 (Antonio Watson, Kevin Martin, Carlos Davis, Rickey Dudley and Doug Etzler). Ohio State is 514-246 (.676) in games when at least one Buckeye has a double-double. Oden is the latest to hit double digits in scoring (15) and rebounding (10) in a game. He did so at Penn State (2/14).

ODEN’S DOUBLE-DOUBLE IN DEBUT MATCHES WILLIAMS’ EFFORT IN 1977 When Ohio State freshman Greg Oden took the court for the first time Dec. 2 little did he know he would be on his way to matching one of Ohio State’s all-time great’s career-opening efforts. With 14 points and 10 rebounds Oden became the first freshman to reach double digits in scoring and rebounding in his freshman debut since Ohio State Hall of Famer (HOF Class of 1999) Herb Williams did so in his first game as a Buckeye in 1977. Williams, who finished his career No. 2 in career scoring with 2,011 points, rebounding with 1,111 career boards and blocked shots with 328, scored 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 99-82 victory against California-Hayward Nov. 25, 1977. Williams went on to record 59 double-doubles for his career, second only to Jerry Lucas’ 78 in 82 career games.

OHIO STATE TOPS BIG TEN IN SEVERAL AREAS The Buckeyes have put together a successful season with 24 wins in 27 outings. The effort to date also has the team leading the 11 Big Ten schools in several statistical areas. Ohio State leads league institutions in scoring (75.8 ppg.), field goal shooting percentage (.481), 3-pointers made (8.11 pg.), rebounding (36.3 rpg.) and defensive rebounds (24.89). Ohio State is second in scoring margin (+14.6), blocked shots (5.93), assists (16.11), field goal pct. defense (.402) and assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.29 apg.).

YOUNG BUCKS LEAD BIG TEN Mike Conley Jr. finds himself leading the Big Ten Conference in three statistical categories. He leads the league with 65 steals (2.4 spg.), has the best assist/turnover ratio (+3.09) and the highest assists per game average (6.4 apg.). Classmate Daequan Cook is No. 2 in 3-point shooting percentage (.465/47-101).

BUCKEYES DO WELL OUTSIDE THE LINE UNDER MATTA Thad Matta’s Buckeyes shoot the 3-point shot and shoot it well. In three seasons as the Ohio State head coach the Buckeyes have made 10 or more 3-point shots in 28 games. The Buckeyes are 23-5 in those contests, which includes a 5-2 record this season. Ohio State had a streak of 17-consecutive wins with 10+ made 3s snapped at North Carolina (Nov. 29) earlier this season when Ohio State connected on 13 of 26 treys but fell to the Tar Heels 98-89 in Chapel Hill. All-time, the Buckeyes have made 10+ 3-pointers 45 times, with wins in 38 of those games (.844). Matta’s teams have been involved in 62 percent of all games with 10 or more made 3s by the Buckeyes (28 of 45). Opponents have made 10+ treys 65 times with a record of 29-36 against OSU in those games.

HIGH PERCENTAGE SHOTS PAY OFF The Buckeyes enjoy success from long range but the team still takes advantage of its opportunities down low as well. In the last three years under head coach Thad Matta the Buckeyes have made at least half their shots in 31 games, which includes 13 of 27 games this season. Ohio State is 28-3 under Matta when shooting 50 percent or better from the field, including a 12-1 record this season.

BUCKEYES COMPLETE TOUGH STRETCH 3-1 VS. 2006 NCAA TEAMS Ohio State completed one of the more difficult stretches of its 2006-07 schedule with games vs. Indiana Jan. 2 (W 74-67), Illinois Jan. 6 (W 62-44), Wisconsin Jan. 9 (L 72-69) and Tennessee Jan. 13 (W 68-66). All four games were against teams that qualified for the NCAA tournament a year ago. After playing at then-No. 3 Wisconsin, Ohio State has played each of the Top 3 teams nationally on the road. Ohio State played at No. 1 Florida, at No. 2 Wisconsin and at No. 3 North Carolina earlier this year.

MATTA’S BUCKEYES HIT DOUBLE DIGITS BEFORE NEW YEAR FOR THIRD TIME Ohio State opened Big Ten play against Indiana with 11 wins. Thad Matta’s teams have recorded 10 or more victories before ringing in the new year in each of his three seasons at Ohio State. His first team was 11-2 in 2004-05 and the 2005-06 squad was 10-0 before Jan. 1. Matta’s teams never have failed to reach 20 victories in each of his six previous seasons as a head coach, which includes a one-year stint at Butler and three seasons at Xavier.

BUCKEYES GO 4-0 VS. OHIO TEAMS The game with Cincinnati was the fourth against a school from Ohio this year for the Buckeyes. Kent State (W 81-59), Youngstown State (W 91-57) and Cleveland State (W 78-57) all played in Columbus this year with the Buckeyes meeting Cincinnati (W 72-50) in Indianapolis Dec. 16. The last time Ohio State faced four in-state schools was in 1992-93 when Ohio University, Bowling Green and Wright State played in Columbus during non-conference play and Miami (Ohio) took on the Buckeyes in the National Invitation Tournament in March.

BUCKEYES REACH NO. 1 IN FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL FOR 2ND TIME Three schools, Ohio State, UCLA and Notre Dame, have been ranked No. 1 in both football and men’s basketball at the same time, according to research performed by Tim Bourret, Clemson sports information director, who sought the information for a book project. Ohio State (24-3) has managed the feat twice after it moved to the No. 1 spot in men’s basketball Nov. 27 of this year in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll and to the No. 3 spot in the Associated Press writers poll that week. The Buckeyes were the first to reach No. 1 in both football and men’s basketball on Nov. 28, 1961 after the football Buckeyes defeated Michigan 50-20 (11/25/61) to claim the No. 1 spot in the United Press International poll. The basketball team was No. 1 the entire 1961-62 season until a loss to No. 2 Cincinnati in the title game March 24, 1962. The 2006 Buckeye football team (12-1) finished No. 2 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls, after spending the entire 2006 regular season ranked No. 1. UCLA was No. 1 in both sports the week of Nov. 13-19 in 1967. The Bruins were No. 1 in the AP and UPI football polls that week and had won the national championship in men’s basketball the previous March. The first poll of the college basketball season that fall was on Dec. 5, 1967. UCLA was No. 1. The Bruins then lost to USC in football, 21-20, the next Saturday (Dec. 9, 1967) to drop from the No. 1 spot in football. Notre Dame won the national championship (football) in the AP poll with a 24-23 win over Alabama in the Dec. 31, 1973 Sugar Bowl. The Fighting Irish basketball team then defeated UCLA 71-70 in basketball to end the Bruins’ 88-game winning streak and move to No. 1 in both basketball polls. That game was played Jan. 19, 1974 and Notre Dame was ranked No. 1 the next Monday. The Irish stayed No. 1 in basketball for just that week before traveling to UCLA for a rematch the following Saturday (Jan. 26, 1974, where they lost to the Bruins. Both UCLA (Nov. 13, 1967) and Notre Dame (Jan. 21, 1974) were No. 1 for just one week in both football and men’s basketball.

MATTA REACHES 50 WINS AT OSU Thad Matta coached game No. 200 in his seven-year head coaching career in the contest vs. Kent State Nov. 12. He recorded win No. 50 as a Buckeye vs. Eastern Kentucky the next time out Nov. 17. Matta is 172-52 overall, which includes a record of 70-21 at Ohio State. He needed just 68 games to win 50 as a Buckeye, the third fewest total games to record win No. 50 as a Buckeye head coach. Fred Taylor (1959-76) won his 50th game in his 64th contest as a Buckeye while Randy Ayers (1990-97) was the second-fastest to 50 wins, doing so in 67 Ohio State games.

Coach Date gms to 50 50th win, Score
Taylor 1/28/61 64 Purdue, 92-62
Ayers 12/18/91 67 @Santa Barbara, 82-75
Matta 11/17/06 68 Eastern Ky., 74-45
Miller 12/2/79 76 Tennessee, 91-65
Williams 1/7/89 79 Wisconsin, 73-70
Olsen 2/22/27 80 @Indiana, 27-18
Dye 2/27/50 83 @Michigan, 69-58
St. John 1/1/17 92 @ Elyria, 33-25
O’Brien 2/25/04 104 @Minnesota, 70-59
Stahl 12/19/55 106 @Tulane, 72-66

JAMAR BUTLER: The junior from Lima, Ohio, reached 600 career points (658) at Purdue (1/31) with 16 vs. the Boilermakers … he has averaged 7.3 points over 90 career games, which includes 69 starts … Butler is a career 83 percent foul shooter (131-157) and averages 3.6 assists a game for his career … he reached 300 career assists (322) at Purdue (1/31) after handing out three helpers … when Butler hands out four or more assists, Ohio State is 32-7 during his tenure … moved to the shooting guard position this year after spending his first two seasons as Ohio State’s primary point guard … second on squad with 104 assists and 28 steals.

Butler in the Big Ten:

Assists 8th (3.85 apg.)
Asst./TO 3rd (+2.31)
3 FGs made 8th T (2.04)

IVAN HARRIS: A senior from Springfield, Ohio, Harris has played in 115 career games for the Buckeyes … reached 600 career points (667) with nine vs. Tennessee (1/13) … in 27 games this season, his scoring average is up to 8.8 points a contest (5.8 career ppg.) … a career 40 percent shooter from 3-point range (117-293), Harris is nicknamed “Microwave” by his teammates for his ability to quickly heat up the Ohio State offense from long range … knocked down five 3s at UNC to tie a career high for made treys in a game … connected on five treys again at Wisconsin (1/9/07) to lead Ohio State with 17 points vs. the Badgers … reached double figures in a game for the first time in the rebounding category with 10 boards vs. Cleveland State (12/9) … current long range shooting percentage (.399) ranks No. 3 all-time at Ohio State.

RON LEWIS: The Columbus, Ohio, native eclipsed the 1,500 career point mark (1,544) with 11 in the win at Michigan State (2/3) … with a career scoring average of 13.0 points a game in 119 appearances at Bowling Green (60 gms.) and Ohio State (59 gms.), his scoring average of 11.2 ppg. this season rates third among the Buckeyes … scored an Ohio State career high of 30 points at North Carolina Nov. 29 on 11 of 16 shooting from the field.

MATT TERWILLIGER: The junior from Troy, Ohio, has scored 149 career points in 69 career appearances for the Buckeyes … recorded a career-high 12 points in the win vs. Youngstown State (11/24) … knocked down his first career 3-point attempt against the Penguins while connecting on 5 of 6 FG attempts … played 18 quality minutes at Purdue in Ohio State’s 78-60 victory over the Boilermakers (1/31) … moved to the center spot to start the season and returned to his natural power forward spot when center Greg Oden returned from injury.

MIKE CONLEY, JR.: The freshman point guard from Indianapolis leads the Buckeyes with 173 assists and 65 steals this season, both freshman records at Ohio State … earned Big Ten Player of the Week (2/12) after home wins vs. Michigan (23 pts., 6 asts.) and Purdue (14 pts., 4 asts.) … opened career with 10-assist game against VMI Nov. 10 and added another 10-assist outing in his first Big Ten game (vs. Indiana 1/2/07) and then again vs. Northwestern (1/17), Iowa (1/20) and Minnesota (2/18) … the 10-assist total is tied for the second-most assists in a single game by a freshman at Ohio State and is tied for the No. 9 spot all-time for assists in a game … handed out nine helpers against San Francisco Nov. 20 … his five steals vs. VMI Youngstown State and Minnesota is tied for the most in a game by an OSU rookie … starts in all 27 games … averages 30.1 minutes a game … connected on all six FGs vs. Eastern Kentucky … shooting percentage is .532 (101-190), 4th among Big Ten players … made all seven foul shots in win vs. Iowa State … scored career-high 23 points in win vs. Michigan (2/6).

Conley Jr. in the Big Ten:

Assists 1st (6.41 apg.)
Steals 1st (2.41 spg.)
Asst./TO 1st (+3.09)
FG Pct. 4th (.532/101-190)

DAEQUAN COOK: First career start vs. Minnesota (2/18) … six outings of 20 or more points in his young career, including his first game as a Buckeye with 22 in the season opener vs. VMI and most recently in the win vs. Coppin State (12/30) with 23 … second on team with 11.9 points per game and is third with a 5.1 rebounds per game average … the Dayton, Ohio, native plays 21.5 minutes a game off the bench … has the ability to score both inside and from long range … connecting on 49 percent of his field goals (123-249) and 47 percent from 3-point range (47-101) … owns Ohio State freshman record for made 3-pointers in a season (47) and is the career leader in 3-point shooting percentage among OSU freshman (.465)

Cook in the Big Ten:

FG Pct. 8th (.494/123-249)
3 FG Pct. 2nd (.465/47-101)

GREG ODEN: Missed first field goal attempt as a Buckeye in debut against Valparaiso then made 17-consecutive shots without a miss before misfiring his final attempt in a 6-of-7 shooting performance against Cincinnati (Dec. 16) … was a perfect 8-for-8 in first career start in win vs. Cleveland State (12/9) … that effort ties four others (including Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek) for the school record for best field goal percentage in a game … connected on 12 of 13 FGs (career high 29 points) vs. Iowa (1/20) for a single game shooting pct. of .923, which is tied for the No. 7 spot all time … then hit 6 of 7 shots at Northwestern (1/24) on his way to 17 points and a career best 17 rebounds … in back-to-back games vs. Iowa (1/20) and Northwestern (1/24) he knocked down 18 of 20 shots (.900) while grabbing 27 rebounds … has blocked 69 shots in 19 games … recorded 21 points in his Big Ten opener vs. Indiana (1/2) … posted an 18-point effort in 35 minutes vs. Iowa State (12/19) … tallied 18 points vs. Coppin State (12/30) on 7 of 8 shooting from the field … scored 24 points to go with 15 boards vs. Tennessee (1/13) … continues to regain flexibility in his right (natural shooting hand) wrist … shoots foul shots left-handed while right wrist recovers … made 9 of 10 lefty FTs vs. Indiana (1/2) and all six attempts vs. Tennessee (1/13) … made 16-consecutive foul shots before a miss at Northwestern (1/24) … first career point was a left-handed foul shot vs. Valparaiso (12/2) … has not played in enough games (75 percent of OSU total) to qualify for Big Ten individual overall statistical rankings (needs one more game played) … in league play, is No. 1 in rebounding (9.1 rpg.), blocked shots (46/3.5) and offensive (3.5 orpg.) and defensive rebounds (5.5 drpg.) and No. 2 in field goal pct. (.566/73-129).

OTHELLO HUNTER: Eight starts to date for the Winston-Salem, N.C., native … averages 7.0 points and is second on team with 5.3 rebounds a game … shooting 59 percent (73-123) from the field … also second on the roster with 33 blocks this season … has six double-digit games offensively.

Hunter in the Big Ten:

Blocks 8th (1.22 bpg.)
Off. Rebs. 3rd T (2.74 orpg.)

DAVID LIGHTY: Along with classmate Mike Conley Jr., David Lighty started his first game for the Buckeyes, the first true rookie to do so since Michael Redd in the 1997 season opener … Lighty, a Cleveland, Ohio, native, plays 17.0 minutes a game … contributed with 10 points, his fourth career game with 10 or more points, in Ohio State’s win vs. Coppin State (12/30) … his 17 minutes off the bench at Purdue (1/31) were instrumental in Ohio State’s 78-60 road victory.

Greg Oden had 19 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, Ron Lewis scored 16 points and Mike Conley Jr. finished with 10 assists and five steals for Ohio State in its 85-67 victory at Minnesota Sunday. The Buckeyes have won 11 in a row. Lawrence McKenzie scored 22 points for the Gophers, but he didn’t get near the help from his supporting cast that Oden did. The Gophers lost their fifth straight and 10th in their last 12. Ohio State took control early, scoring eight straight points to open a 14-7 lead in the first 6:30. But McKenzie came right back, scoring 13 points in a three-minute stretch to keep the Gophers in it. His three-point play pulled Minnesota within 24-23. Oden was able to get position easily throughout the first half, but foul trouble kept him from taking over the game until the second half.


Ohio State took a 43-31 lead at the half. The Buckeyes are 24-1record this season when leading at the break. With a lead of 76-54at the 5:00 mark of the second half, the Buckeyes improved to 24-0this season when holding a lead with five minutes to play. OhioState has won its last 11 games, including 10-consecutive Big Tencontests. The Buckeyes last won 10 straight conference games in the1962 season when the Buckeyes won 12 in a row. The Buckeyes startedthe season with an 11-0 record in 2005-06. Ohio State improved to72-52 overall in the series with Minnesota. The Buckeyes are 28-34in Minneapolis. The win gives Ohio State its sixth road victory inBig Ten play for the first time since the 1992 Big Ten season. With85 points, Ohio State is 24-2 in the series with Minnesota whenscoring 80 or more points and 15-2 when scoring between 80-89points. The 18-point road victory is the largest margin of victoryin Minneapolis since a 94-63 victory in 1992. Ohio State has wonthe last two games against the Gophers. With the win, Ohio State isnow 20-2 against Minnesota when the Buckeyes are ranked. FreshmanDaequan Cook, who made his first career start for the Buckeyes,knocked down 1 of 2 3-point attempts to claim the freshman recordfor 3-pointers made (47). Cook’s long range shooting percentage of.465 (47-101) is second among OSU freshmen all-time. With 10assists against Minnesota, Mike Conley Jr. moved into the No. 3spot in single season assists with 173. He moved past Mark Baker(165, 1992) and trails Kelvin Ransey (177) in 1980 and No. 1 CurtisWilson (188) in 1988. Conley also recorded five steals vs. theGophers to up his season total to 65, setting the OSU freshmanrecord. All-time, Conley is No. 7 in season steals behind ScooniePenn (2000) and Jay Burson (1988) at No. 5 with 66. Freshman GregOden led Ohio State with 19 points and nine rebounds. He also addedtwo blocks, a steal and one asssist. Oden has swatted 71 shots onthe year, good for the No. 2 spot among OSU freshmen. Herb Williamsblocked 79 as a freshman in 1978. Oden is now No. 10 on OhioState’s single season blocked shots list. Williams holds down theNos. 7 (81), 8 (79) and 9 (78). In career blocks, Oden is No. 9.Terence Dials is No. 8 with 103 (2002-06). As a team, Ohio Statehas made 219 of 584 3-point attempts on the year in 27 games. Thosetotals rate No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, for made and attemptedtreys in Ohio State history. As a ranked team, Ohio State improvedto 318-94 when ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 and 219-54when among the Top 10. The Buckeyes have been ranked in the Top 25the last 52 games (43-9) and among the Top 10 the last 34 games(29-5).

Ron Lewis led Ohio State with 18 points and three teammates joined him in double figures as the Buckeyes went 3-0 in the BCA Classic to claim the title with an 81-59 win against Kent State Nov. 12 at Value City Arena. Jamar Butler, the only starter back from last season’s Big Ten champions, added 14 points, junior-college transfer Othello Hunter had 13 and freshman David Lighty finished with 10. Lewis was the tournament MVP for the Buckeyes. He was joined on the all-tournament team by freshman Daequan Cook. Nobody hit double figures for Kent State, the defending Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament champions. Omni Smith had nine points and three others had eight. The Buckeyes hit half of their 26 3-point attempts and ended up shooting 55 percent from the field. Kent State had 20 turnovers and hit just 4-of-15 shots behind the arc. Sub Ivan Harris hit three big 3-pointers that helped turn the tide.

Big Ten Conference media selected Ohio State as its preseason favorite to win the league regular-season crown in 2006-07. The Buckeyes are looking to win back-to-back conference titles for the first time since 1991 and 1992 after winning the outright regular-season championship in 2006. Ohio State returns one starter from a year ago when the Buckeyes posted a 26-6 overall record and a 12-4 league mark.

Freshman center Greg Oden had yet to play a collegiate game while recovering from right wrist surgery in June when he appeared on the preseason All-Big Ten list turned in by the conference media Oct. 29 in Chicago. The preseason recognition is believed to mark the first time a true freshman has been so recognized in conference history. Oden missed the first seven games of the season. He made his debut against Valparaiso Dec. 2. He recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 78-58 OSU victory. His first start came against Cleveland State Dec. 9. He finished with 16 points on 8 of 8 shooting from the field, which tied an OSU record for single game field goal percentage.

Jamar Butler was the last true freshman to crack the starting lineup for the Buckeyes prior to the season opener vs. VMI when rookies Mike Conley Jr. and David Lighty earned starting nods for Thad Matta’s Buckeyes. Butler started his first game at Northwestern Jan. 29, 2005. He has been a mainstay in the first five ever since. The last true freshman to start the season opener prior to this season was Michael Redd vs. Kent State Nov. 19, 1997. Redd played 39 minutes and scored 21 points on 9 of 17 shooting from the field. He also had nine rebounds.

The Buckeyes will appear on national television at least 14 times this season with the possibility of additional exposures as the regular season concludes, during the Big Ten tournament and in postseason play-should Ohio State qualify. Fans across the country got their first look at Ohio State over national airwaves Nov. 29 when the Buckeyes traveled to North Carolina for a Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup on ESPN. Cincinnati and Ohio State renewed a rivalry at the Wooden Tradition in Indianapolis on CBS Dec. 16. Other CBS games include the matchup at No. 1 Florida Dec. 23, a home game vs. Tennessee Jan. 13, at Michigan State Feb. 3, at Minnesota Feb. 18 and vs. Wisconsin in Columbus Feb. 25. The regular-season finale at Michigan also could be picked up by CBS. ESPN televised the Buckeyes vs. their first three Big Ten foes vs. Indiana (W 74-67, Jan. 2), at Illinois Jan. 6 (W 62-44) and at Wisconsin Jan. 9 (L 72-69). Four other league games will be featured on ESPN or ESPN2 during regular-season play.

The NCAA tournament will return to Columbus for the opening rounds of the 2007 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the organization announced in July 2004. Ohio State played host to the first and second rounds in March 2004, as it will in 2007. Games were played at Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus, which will again be the site of the event in 2007.

A 160-foot banner is on display in downtown Columbus recognizing two of the more prominent centers in college basketball. Two-time All-American Jessica Davenport, a senior on the Ohio State women’s basketball team, along with two-time National High School Player of the Year Greg Oden, a 7-0 freshman center for the Buckeyes, are featured on the larger-than-life display. The banner is part of Ohio State’s effort to publicize its outstanding student-athletes and coaches around the city of Columbus.

Thad Matta recruited one of the best classes nationally for the 2006-07 season. Four of the top freshmen in the country along with a talented junior college forward joined the Buckeyes for the 2006 fall quarter in Columbus.

The four Ohio State freshmen in 2006-07 all played for state championships during their senior high school seasons. Three won titles with the other finishing as runner-up.

Greg Oden (a 7-0 center) and 6-1 guard Mike Conley Jr., led Indiana’s Lawrence North High School to its third-consecutive state championship March 25, 2006, with a victory over Muncie Central (80-56). Oden led all scorers with 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field. He also was the game’s top rebounder with 11. Conley added 21 points and seven boards in the win.

Daequan Cook, a 6-5 guard, led Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar to its first state title in 19 years with a 73-46 victory over Triway in the Ohio Division II state championship game (3/25/06) at Value City Arena in Columbus. Cook scored 23 points in the victory.

David Lighty, a 6-5 guard/forward, led his Villa Angela-St. Joseph (Cleveland, Ohio) squad to the Ohio Division III state title game as well. Lighty scored 20 points in a loss to North College Hill.

All four incoming freshmen were named to their state’s first team all-state squads as seniors. Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr., were honored in Class 4A, the large school division in Indiana, while Daequan Cook (Ohio Division II) and David Lighty (Ohio Division III) made their respective teams. Cook, the Division II Ohio Player of the Year, and Lighty both made the Associated Press all-state tournament teams as well in their respective divisions.

With the addition of Oden, Conley Jr. and Cook, Ohio State has four former McDonald’s High School All-Americans on its squad in 2006-07.

Senior Ivan Harris played in the annual game (first played in 1977) in 2003. Ohio State has had a total of 10 current or former student-athletes compete in the McDonald’s game. Others were Clark Kellogg (1979), Perry Carter (1987), Treg Lee (1987), Jim Jackson (1989), Charles Macon (1992) and Greg Simpson (1992). Ohio State has had multiple players play in the game twice previously with Carter and Lee in 1987 and Macon and Simpson in 1992. Ohio State and North Carolina had three players compete in the 2006 game.

Greg Oden is one of the most recognized and honored high school student-athletes of all-time. His list of accomplishments grew when he was recognized in April 2006 as the Gatorade Boy’s Basketball Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season, a rare feat accomplished just once before when LeBron James was so honored in 2001 and ’02.

The only high school player invited to work out with the U.S. Senior National team July 19-26, 2006 in Las Vegas, Greg Oden was scheduled to practice against members from the national team who were selected to represent the United States at the 2006 World Championships in Japan and ultimately the 2008 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team. Oden was unable to participate after right wrist surgery in June ended his summer schedule.

Othello Hunter, a 6-9 forward/center, was the final player to commit to the five-player incoming class of student-athletes in 2006-07. He averaged nine points and six rebounds a game for Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla., as a freshman. He improved those numbers to 16.8 points and 11.4 rebounds a game as a sophomore.

Hunter had 15 games in 2005-06 with 10 or more rebounds with a season-high 20 boards vs. St. Petersburg College (1/21/06). For his career, he managed 10 or more rebounds 19 times and 10 or more points 32 times.

Hunter recorded 18 career double-doubles at HCC, including 14 during his sophomore season.

Hillsborough finished 24-6 in 2005-06 and 19-14 in 2004-05. The team lost in the 2006 Florida Community College Activities Association State Tournament opening round to River Community College (75-68). Hunter scored 22 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked six shots in the loss.

Ohio State opened the 2006-07 season as the host school for the 2006 BCA Classic. The Buckeyes earned the title with a 3-0 record.

The Buckeyes have taken on three of the nation’s top teams on the road to date in 2006. Ohio State traveled to North Carolina as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge Nov. 29 and faced Florida, the defending NCAA champions, in Gainesville Dec. 23 and faced then-No. 3 Wisconsin in Madison Jan. 9.

A neutral-site game vs. Cincinnati in Indianapolis at the Wooden Classic renewed a rivalry between the intrastate foes. Tennessee also began a home-and-home series with the Buckeyes with a clash in Columbus Jan. 13.

Ohio State played Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota once this season with home-and-home matches vs. the remaining league schools. Indiana and Iowa traveled to Columbus while Illinois and Minnesota played host to the Buckeyes this season.