Preview: #23 Ohio State vs. Iowa

By Corey Carpenter on December 31, 2008 at 2:00p
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Ohio State Buckeyes #23 Ohio State 9-1, 0-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 4:00 PM ET - BTN —— The Schott Columbus, OH Iowa Hawkeyes Iowa 10-3, 0-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule

Big Ten season opened up last night with Illinois shocking Purdue 71-67 in overtime, once again proving that anything can happen when it comes to conference basketball.

Ohio State put the smack down on Iowa by 31 in Columbus last year, only to lose by 5 in Iowa City. The Hawks are coached by Todd Lickliter, who was an assistant for Thad at Butler and will bring a similar style of play to the Schott.

Both teams come into the Big Ten opener in a little bit of turmoil. OSU's problems have been well documented and Iowa's leading scorer recently was picked up for public intox. and didn't play in their last game. As someone who went to Univ. of Iowa, getting picked up for anything in that town is difficult, so Anthony Tucker must have been acting a damn fool.

#NamePTSREBASSTPOS#NamePTSREBASST
2 Jeremie Simmons 7.5 2.5 2.4 G 30 Jeff Peterson 9.7 2.2 3.6
33 Jon Diebler 9.9 3.2 1.8 G 23 Jermain Davis 6.1 2.6 1.8
21 Evan Turner 16.2 7.2 2.9 F 5 Matt Gatens 10.2 3.9 2.9
44 William Buford 7.8 3.4 0.6 F 32 Jake Kelly 9.5 2.5 2.9
32 BJ Mullens 7.4 4.0 0.2 C 44 Cyrus Tate 7.1 6.8 0.1

Opponent

Iowa comes in scoring 64.6 points a game on 47.3 percent shooting, including 40 percent from deep. They may not score too much, but they hang their hat on the defensive end, allowing just 54.6 points a game, good for 4th in the nation. They are allowing only 9.2 assists a game and teams are shooting 40.4 percent against them.

Iowa's only win against a BCS conference thus far is Kansas State, pretty much playing cupcakes in the rest of their victories. Iowa has also faced WVU, losing by 19 in late November, while their other losses came against Boston College and Drake.

Lickliter will run about 8 players at the Bucks, but has only one senior that sees significant time. Both of their leading scorers from last year are gone and like Ohio State, they are still looking for their offensive chemistry.

Buckeye Breakdown:

I really don't know what to write here. Two weeks ago, after the ND win, I thought this team was bound for a top three B10 finish and a guaranteed NCAA tourney berth. Now after Lighty's injury, Nappy's transfer and the WVU loss, no one can predict what is going to happen.

I don't know what happened to Crater and quite frankly, I don't care anymore. Nappy is obviously getting some bad advice from his mom/camp and it follows a sad trend in college hoops. I know he is an up and down PG, but when you have a young team, you are not going to consistently win with the run and gun. The youngsters must learn to value each possession with good shots before they can push the tempo. Plus Crater showed no ability to break down his defender from the perimeter.

Can you imagine that introduction to his new team? Fellas, here is our new teammate, the one who quit on his last team after 10 games, when they were ranked 13th in the country, because he didn't get enough playing time and promises were broken, which prompted his mom to call the coach after a 28 point loss and tell him her son was taking his ball and going elsewhere. And after reading this Bucknuts article, it sounds like Mom may have been behind the entire ordeal...good life lesson Mom.

With that said, the rest of the offense was horrible last game and the need for a second and third scorer is critical. Buford is making strides to get there, but it goes back to that youngster theory of taking good shots every time. Diebler is 3 for 15 from deep his last three games, dropping him 5 percentage points to 36.2 percent and hasn't attempted a free throw since going 11-12 against Iona. Mullens has been inconsistent, scoring in double digits just twice this year and has only three games where he has grabbed 7 or more rebounds.

Hopefully you have the ability to tune into this game for the 4pm start, but don't be surprised if your eyes are sore after watching it. How will this young team respond to the recent adversity? What adjustments does Matta make? Will a second or third scorer emerge? We should have a better feeling about these questions over the next week or so, as the Bucks will travel to Minneapolis and East Lansing on Saturday and Tuesday. Unfortunately, I think a 1-2 start in the B10 is staring them right in the face.

Etc

  • OSU is 53-41 all-time in Big Ten openers.
  • Iowa leads the overall series 73-63.
  • The Buckeyes fell to #23 in the coaches and #24 in the AP this week, 3 spots ahead of West Virginia.
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