Preview: Ohio State vs. Samford

By Chris Lauderback on November 28, 2008 at 5:49p
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Expect extended minutes for Mullens
Ohio State Buckeyes Ohio State 2-0, 0-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 12:00 PM ET - BTN —— The Schott Columbus, OH Samford Bulldogs Samford 3-1, 0-0 Southern Roster | Schedule

Ohio State welcomes the 3-1 Samford Bulldogs to Value City Morgue for a nooner that will serve as a final tuneup before tough contests next week against Miami, Fl and Notre Dame.

Matta's squad comes in at 2-0 thanks to Jon Diebler's 17 point effort in a 61-57 win over Bowling Green this past Monday night.

The Buckeyes and Bulldogs have met just once prior with OSU recording an 80-63 win back in December of 2003.

#NamePTSREBASSTPOS#NamePTSREBASST
2 Jeremie Simmons 8.0 2.5 3.0 G 4 Josh Davis 11.0 2.8 1.6
33 Jon Diebler 13.0 4.5 3.0 G 1 Curtis West 6.0 4.0 2.5
21 Evan Turner 10.0 5.0 2.0 F 11 Trey Montgomery 9.3 6.3 1.6
23 David Lighty 8.5 3.5 1.5 F 13 Bryan Friday 9.3 2.5 0.5
52 Dallas Lauderdale 7.5 4.0 0.0 C 23 Matthew Friday 2.8 5.3 2.5

Opponent:

Samford, out of the Southern Conference, most recently beat Lipscomb 57-50 overcoming a three point halftime deficit to capture the W. I know. That sentence doesn't exactly strike fear in my heart either.

In any event, 6'6" junior Bryan Friday paced the Bulldogs with a career high 20 points as he apparently showcased a variety of moves in and around the paint.

Defensively, the Bulldogs held Lipscomb to 27% shooting and are allowing just 52 points per contest during their three game winning streak. The victims? Lipscomb, Campbellsville and Spring Hill. Not exactly bubble teams, right...

Regardless, Samford is shooting 40% from deep thanks to Josh Davis (64%, 9/14) and Josh Bedwell (48%, 10/21) but their assist to turnover ratio (1/1.3) is about as attractive as the mythical spawn of say Lyle Lovett and Kelly Osbourne.

Buckeye Breakdown:

As mentioned, this is the last layup before the Buckeyes take a huge step up in competition next week with the likes of Miami in the ACC/BigTen Challenge before a Saturday tilt with Notre Dame.

Considering the landmines ahead coupled with the fact nobody has stepped up to help Swatterdale in the post, I expect Matta will do all he can to give BJ Mullens as many minutes as possible. So far, Mullens has showed very little to get excited about looking even more tentative than Diebler a year ago. Getting Mullens into the flow to generate some points and rebounds would be huge for his confidence level, even if it is Samford.

Another focus of Matta's will be to shore up the zone defense with an emphasis on stopping penetration. Bowling Green seemed to get in the paint at will forcing the back line of the zone to rotate creating some easy looks for the bad guys. In fact, it appeared Matta even switched to a more conventional 2-3 zone at times to pinch the penetrator but to no avail. Considering Samford's A/TO ratio, I also expect another dose of full court 2-2-1 press.

Look for David Lighty to assert himself early after a subpar 4 point, 5 rebound, 2 turnover performance against BG. Interestingly, Lighty has attempted just five shots in each of the first two games. I can't figure out if he's still trying to carve his niche at the four spot and/or if Matta is purposefully asking him to defer a bit in hopes of developing some of the other guys faster. Either way, with all the talk of Lighty stepping up in the off-season both on and off the court, I thought we'd see him be a more focal point of the offense keeping in mind we're only talking about two games thus far.

Lastly, keep an eye on whether or not the Buckeyes do a better job of valuing the basketball. Against Bowling Green, the Buckeyes committed a ridiculous 15 turnovers against only 11 assists after turning it over just 6 times against 14 assists in the opener against Delaware State. Particularly, let's see if Turner fares any better after turning it over 5 times with just 1 assist Monday night. Yikes. I was hoping those stat lines were behind the supremely talented sophomore.

Etc

  • Personal favorite William Buford is actually second on the team in scoring through two games (11.0) even though he's getting just 19 minutes per game (6th). I'm also a fan of him turning it over just once in 38 minutes.
  • Besides Diebler's points, I think I'm more in love with the fact he's recorded 4 defensive rebounds and 3 assists in each of the first two games.
  • With a blowout expected, stay tuned until the final minute to see if Titus or Peters can register the allmighty Trillion.
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