|#18 Ohio State 8-2, 0-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule||December 19, 2009 4:00 PM ET - ESPNU —— The Schott Columbus, OH||Delaware St. 4-4, 0-1 MEAC Roster | Schedule|
The Hornets return to Columbus for the second straight season, after taking a 70-42 loss to open the Buckeye season last year. They haven't fared much better since then, going 12-28 over the last 2 seasons, including losing their last 3 games.
The Buckeyes are coming off their 72-42 win over Presbyterian on Wednesday night, but their second half effort was slowed by PC's imitation of Dean Smith's 4-corner offense and they got outscored by the Blue Hose, 27-25.
Delaware State will bring a similar talent level to the Schott Saturday, so the Buckeyes will have to guard against another lackluster effort when they open a substantial lead.
|4||PJ Hill||4.9||1.6||1.6||G||4||Jay Threatt||6.9||2.6||3.8|
|33||Jon Diebler||15.6||2.9||2.3||G||1||Trevor Welcher||2.9||1.9||1.0|
|44||William Buford||12.0||3.8||3.4||F||30||Marcus Neal||14.0||4.1||1.8|
|23||David Lighty||13.1||5.5||3.0||F||55||Frisco Sandidge||12.4||6.4||0.9|
|52||Dallas Lauderdale||7.8||4.9||0.4||C||42||Greg Smith||3.5||2.4||0.4|
Delaware State hasn't played in a week, after getting whooped 76-34 at Arizona St. and come in scoring just 56.8 points a game, which is 10th worst in the nation. The rest of their numbers aren't any better, shooting 39.3 percent from the floor, slightly better than their 34.5 percent from deep. The Hornets only grab 27.5 boards a game and register 10.2 assists against 12.2 turnovers. The lone statistical bright spot is their 10 steals, which ranks them 15th nationally.
Coach Greg Jackson will use at least 9 players, lead by Neal, Sandidge and Threatt, who all average over 31 minutes a game. Alibaba Odd, a 6'2" freshman, leads the way off the bench, scoring a 8.3 PPG in 19 minutes. While Amir Bell and James Marcellus each play over 10 minutes and combine to score just over 5 points.
Their leading scorer Marcus Neal likes to take most of his shots from behind the arc, attempting 58 of his 92 shots from there, connecting on 45 percent of them. Sandidge is the opposite, taking just 2 of his 72 shots from deep, which explains his team leading 41 FT attempts. No one else has more than 25.
This is going to be another laugher for the Bucks and as I mentioned before, their toughest challenge maybe keeping up the effort throughout. While their PPG average has dipped to 84.7, good for 10th nationally, their shooting has held steady at 52.3 percent, which still ranks them second behind Syracuse. Their achilles heel continues to be at the charity stripe, where the Buckeyes are connecting on 64.6 percent. Ohio State has been above 68.2 percent from the line just once this year, hitting 19 of 22 over St. Francis and bring a 22 for their last 37 stretch into Saturday's game.
OSU leads the conference in winning margin, at 23.2 points, which is helped by holding the opposition to 38.9 percent from the floor, putting them behind Minnesota, Northwestern and Purdue. The Buckeyes also lead the conference in A/T ratio, coming at at 1.65, dishing out 17.8 dimes and turning it over 10.8 times per contest. William Buford has 29 assists against 12 TO's on the season.
There really isn't much to discuss in terms of strategy for tomorrow's game, but it will be interesting to see if the Buckeyes can keep the defensive pressure up until the starters sit for the day. They also need to dominate points in the paint and the boards. I'm still waiting for Lauderdale to get his first career double digit rebounding effort, as he came close on Wednesday with a career-tying high 8.
This one can be chalked up as a victory already, as the Buckeyes flash their growing number of scoring options and flex their defensive muscle for the first 36 minutes of the game. I think the lead could get as large as 40 before Thad pulls his starters and lets Titus lead the last 4 minutes for a 86-51 win.
- Matta is 78-2 at OSU against unranked opponents.
- Dallas Lauderdale has hit 29 of 33 shots this year.
- This season at home, Diebler has made 33 of 60 tries from beyond the arc.