|#16 Ohio State 6-0, 0-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule||December 17, 2008 9:00 PM ET - ESPNU —— The Schott Columbus, OH||Jacksonville 2-5, 2-0 A-Sun Roster | Schedule|
The mighty Dolphins of Jacksonville roll into Cbus tonight, to face OSU for the second time in history, with the Bucks taking the first game 85-74 back in 1986.
Don't take the Dolphins lightly though, they have been tested with close losses to Florida State (2), Georgetown (9), Baylor (8) and Georgia Tech (3). With the lethargic performance from OSU on Saturday, this one unfortunately could be close for a while.
The Buckeyes still sport the nation's longest win streak at 11 and jumped five spots this week in both polls. This is the second of a five game home stand, ending with tilts against WVU on the 27th and Iowa on NYE.
|2||Jeremie Simmons||7.2||2.3||2.2||G||3||Ben Smith||18.4||4.9||3.0|
|33||Jon Diebler||10.2||2.5||1.5||G||1||Travis Cohn||6.1||4.1||1.3|
|23||David Lighty||7.8||5.5||1.5||F||45||Marcus Allen||10.9||6.0||2.0|
|21||Evan Turner||16.2||7.3||3.3||F||10||Ayron Hardy||8.1||5.4||1.3|
|52||Dallas Lauderdale||7.7||5.3||0.2||C||41||Lehmon Colbert||8.3||4.7||1.6|
Jacksonville hasn't played since December 6th, after posting back to back Atlantic Sun victories against Belmont and Lipscomb, so perhaps they will be the rusty team. They are scoring 64 points a game, shooting 42% overall and connecting on only 29% of their attempts from downtown. They won't shoot many from behind the arc, attempting more free throws (147) than threes (131) and only Smith (39) has taken more than 20.
The Dolphins are giving up 70 points per game and allowing teams to shoot 47.5% against them, but the most surprising stat to me is their 41 boards a game. Looking at the starters, no one averages less than 4.1 caroms a game.
Coach Cliff Warren will only use 7 primary players, with Aric Brooks and Evan Jefferson seeing the most minutes off the bench. Brooks is a sophomore forward averaging 5.3 points and 3.1 rebounds a contest. Jefferson is a senior guard contributing 4.7 points and just over 1 assists.
The Bucks are coming off their lowest scoring output of the season, connecting on only 1 bucket and 7 free throws in the last 12:30. Their 64 points a game ranks them 262nd in the country and the lack of consistency beyond Evan Turner is becoming a bit unsettling.
Ohio State still ranks last in the Big Ten with 42.5% (131-308) shooting and seriously, are dishing out only 11.3 assists per game, including 6 against Butler. Since going 8-19 in their opener, Thad's boys have gone 27 of 94 from deep. On the upside, they are starting to drive the hoop more and getting to the line, but making them is still a problem.
Thankfully, Ohio State prides themselves on defense, still ranked 2nd nationally with 50.3 points given up per contest. Teams are only shooting 34.5% against them, which puts OSU fifth and no team has reached the 70 point plateau.
One thing to look for tonight is the continued development of the point guard. Simmons poor play as of late is concerning and has sparked a little debate. He has hit 7 of 24 threes over his last 5 games and has taken only 6 shots from inside the arc over the last three, but has taken care of the rock, turning it over only 5 times against 13 assists. Anthony Crater's minutes have suffered a bit recently and he has yet to take a shot that isn't a three, but he brings a different level of intensity on defense.
With another height advantage tonight, the inside game of Swaterdale and Mullens also needs to continue the steps forward. I have really liked Mullens attitude since he took one off the nuts in the Samford game and Dallas is quickly becoming a Buckeye Nation favorite.
- Thad Matta is now 26-3 in December at Ohio State
- Only Memphis, Kansas, UCLA, UNC, Floridia, and Duke have a higher winning percentage over the last three seasons. OSU is 85-23 in that span.