Preview: #21 Ohio State vs. Butler

By Corey Carpenter on December 12, 2008 at 7:00a
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More drives, less threes please.
Ohio State Buckeyes #21 Ohio State 5-0, 0-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 12:00 PM ET - BTN —— The Schott Columbus, OH Butler Bulldogs Butler 8-0, 2-0 Horizon Roster | Schedule

After taking a week off for finals, the #21 Buckeyes return to the hardwood, seeking revenge on a Butler team that put a 65-46 ass whooping on them in Hinkle Fieldhouse last year.

Butler comes in 8-0 for the third straight year, but lost most of their fire power from a season ago. Coach Brad Stevens starts 3 freshmen and a sophomore and their toughest test thus far has been Northwestern, a 57-53 home win.

The Buckeyes come into the contest with the nation's longest winning streak at 10, dating back to last year's NIT run. They enter a game ranked for the first time since the end of the Oden/Conley era and are one of two B10 teams who remain undefeated.

#NamePTSREBASSTPOS#NamePTSREBASST
2 Jeremie Simmons 7.2 2.4 2.2 G 5 Ronald Nored 4.6 3.3 2.6
33 Jon Diebler 10.6 2.4 1.6 G 1 Shelvin Mack 13.1 3.9 2.8
23 David Lighty 7.4 5.0 1.8 F 21 Willie Veasley 7.8 4.4 1.1
21 Evan Turner 16.6 7.8 3.4 F 54 Matt howard 12.9 6.4 1.6
52 Dallas Lauderdale 7.4 4.8 0.2 C 20 Gordon Hayward 11.9 5.8 1.6

Opponent

Butler comes in scoring almost 70 points a game, while giving up just 55, good for 12th in the country. They are shooting 44 percent as a team, including 37 percent from downtown and outrebound their opposition by only 1.8 per game.

The Bulldogs are lead by 2 freshmen, Shelvin Mack and Gordon Hayward, who each went for 20 in the 87-75 win over Bradley on Wednesday. The 6'3" Mack added 8 boards and 6 assists, while 6' 8" Hayward hit 5 of 9 threes, to go along with his 6 rebs. and 4 dimes. 6' 7" sophomore Matt Howard will get his points inside or at the charity stripe, averaging over 6 attempts per game, including 15 in their win over Youngstown St. last week.

Butler will use a short bench of 7 or so players, with Avery Jukes and Zach Hahn leading the way. They are young, but they will bring the same tough nosed defense as teams of Butler past and will present the young Buckeye team with a great test.

Buckeye Breakdown:

Of course the hot words around town are Evan Turner and since Chris did a feature piece yesterday, we all know how important his role is.

Turner can't do it on his own though and he might see his first double teams of the season tomorrow, therefore this needs to be the game where the other guard/wing players reemerge. The Bucks are dead last in the conference, shooting only 42.9 percent overall and 31.3 percent from behind the arc. Lighty, Diebler and Simmons are a combined 41 for 116 (35%) on the season, including 24 of 71 from deep and they went 4-25 overall last game against ND. Throw in the fact Crater is only 2 for 8 and has yet to attempt a 2 point shot.

Luckily for Thad and Evan, the Bucks are starting to develop an inside presence. BJ Mullins seems to be getting more comfortable with each game and has even showed a bit of a nasty streak. He has played 18 minutes each of the last two games and has combined for 16 points and 16 rebounds. Meanwhile, Dallas Lauderdale has cooled just a touch, going for 12 and 8 over the last two. His presence is felt on the defensive side though, still fourth nationally with 4.8 blocks a game.

Until the offense develops, the defense is going to keep OSU in games. They are still ranked in the top 10 for points given up (50.2) and defensive FG (34.9). And as Bob Baptist of the Dispatch pointed out yesterday, this team has focused on rebounding over the last two weeks and limiting possessions. The Bucks will be bigger inside and expect to see a lot more press tomorrow against the young ball handlers of Butler.

Etc

  • Ohio State is 38-3 as a ranked team in Value City Arena.
  • Last week was the first time an unranked OSU team pulled off two straight wins against ranked opponents.
  • Thad's teams are 99-4 when leading with 5 minutes left.
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