Preview: #16 OSU vs. Iona

By Corey Carpenter on December 19, 2008 at 7:00a
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william-buford-goes for-a-finger-rollWill Buford step up in his expanded role? (AP: Jay LaPrete)
Ohio State Buckeyes #16 Ohio State 7-0, 0-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 12:00 PM ET - BTN —— The Schott Columbus, OH Iona Gaels Iona 4-6, 0-2 MAAC Roster | Schedule

Wow, things can change in a hurry. No sooner does Ohio State run their winning streak to 12 and they are hit with the news David Lighty will be out 6-12 weeks, due to a broken bone in his foot.

Lighty is clearly the leader of this team and is coming off perhaps his finest game as a Buckeye, going for 21 points and 7 boards on Wednesday. I think he probably hurt it when he avoided the charge on a fast break in the second half, dropping a four foot tear drop instead. He fell on a Dolphin when he came down and limped back down the court.

This is definitely a temporary set back for Thad's young team, but it excites me to potentially have William Buford out there for 30+ minutes. The Bucks have two games to work out the kinks before Bob Huggins and WVU stumble into the Schott.

#NamePTSREBASSTPOS#NamePTSREBASST
2 Jeremie Simmons 7.6 2.4 2.4 G 11 Milan Prodanovic 6.7 1.4 1.8
33 Jon Diebler 10.7 2.4 1.9 G 15 Jermel Jackson 4.8 2.6 2.2
21 Evan Turner 16.3 7.4 3.1 F 5 Rashon Dwight 6.4 3.0 2.6
44 Willaim Buford 5.9 2.3 0.7 F 1 Kashif Pratt 8.7 2.1 0.9
52 Dallas Lauderdale 7.7 5.0 0.1 C 30 Jonathan Huffman 6.6 3.3 0.3

Opponent

Due to production deadlines, the numbers used for the Gaels do not include their 68-55 loss to 2-8 Western Michigan on Thursday and their starting lineup in the preview box is a wild guess, considering they have used about 10 different combinations.

The Gaels have 11 freshmen and sophomores on their roster, thus the many lineups, but coach Kevin Williard will run 10 players, as 9 of them log more than 13 minutes a game. Due to constant fresh legs, Iona will use an in your face defense, allowing teams to score just 60.7 points and shoot only 40.9 percent this season.

Iona's best player Gary Springer was hurt a few games ago, so they don't have a regular that averages in double digits, but they do have 8 players that score between 5-9 points a contest. As a team, they rank 240th in the country with 65.4 points on 43.4 percent shooting.

I don't think Iona will pull the upset, but they did take Wisconsin to overtime earlier this year and have lost 4 games by a total of 6 points. The shock of losing Lighty may still be lingering on Saturday, so don't be surprised to see another close game.

Buckeye Breakdown:

The good news for Ohio State was the performance of Jeremie Simmons and Jon Diebler on Wednesday. Simmons scored in double figures for the first time since the opener, also adding 4 dimes and 3 boards, while Diebler scored 14 to go along with 4 assists. Diebler is really squaring up his body on the jumper and it is starting to show in his confidence, connecting on 41.9 percent from deep thus far.

I'm still concerned with the lack of inside scoring from Dallas and BJ, but they simply don't get enough opportunities. The two combined for only 3 shot attempts against Jacksonville, after getting just 11 in the Butler game. Mullens has now had 3 games with only 1 FG made and has only 4 FT attempts in the last two. I still don't think we will see them at the same time, but the Bucks have to get inside touches if they are going to have success in the Big Ten.

As mentioned, William Buford should start logging heavy minutes, with spells from Walter Offut and perhaps Kyle Madsen. I like Buford's scoring touch and he could turn out to be more of an offensive threat, but he has to step it up on the defensive end. Lighty is OSU's second leading rebounder and one of the reasons the team is cleaning the glass better this year, Buford is grabbing 2.3 in his 15 minutes, but has to continue Lighty's pace.

The keys for tonight will be tightening up the defense, limiting offensive rebounds and continue to drive the ball on offense. As mentioned, don't be surprised to see a close game, especially with a guaranteed slow start, but expect OSU to pull this one out.

Etc

  • Thad Matta is now 101-4 when leading with 5 minutes left. Incredible!
  • Seven players have scored in double figures for the Bucks this season.
  • OSU has won their last 27 at the Schott as a ranked team.
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