|#6 Ohio State 14-4, 23-7 Big Ten Roster | Schedule||March 2, 2009 9:00 PM ET - ESPN —— The Schott Columbus, OH||Illinois 10-6, 18-11 Big Ten Roster | Schedule|
Raise your hand if you thought the Buckeyes would be playing for the Big Ten title after their 1-3 start in league play. With a win over the Illini tonight, they will secure at least a share of the crown for the 3rd time in Thad's 6 years.
The Buckeyes moved up to 6th in the AP and 7th in the coach's this week, putting themselves in position to secure the 1 seed in the B10 tourney and more importantly, a 2 seed in the Big Dance.
Illinois is playing their 5th ranked team in the last 7 games and come in losers in 3 of their last 4. The first loss in that string of games was a 72-53 smack down against OSU, their worst home loss in 33 years. This is also their 7th road game in the last 11.
|21||Evan Turner||19.7||9.2||5.9||G||32||Demitri McCamey||15.0||3.2||6.9|
|33||Jon Diebler||12.3||2.9||1.6||G||1||D.J. Richardson||10.7||2.7||2.2|
|44||William Buford||14.2||5.5||3.1||F||30||Bill Cole||4.3||3.3||1.1|
|23||David Lighty||12.3||4.6||2.7||F||24||Mike Davis||10.5||8.8||1.0|
|52||Dallas Lauderdale||7.4||5.2||0.2||C||54||Mike Tisdale||11.5||6.2||0.7|
If Illinois can get one more win or a Minnesota loss, they can slide into the 5 seed next week in the tourney, avoiding that dreaded Thursday game. The Illini come in scoring 65.8 points a game during league play, on 43.4 percent shooting overall and 33.5 from deep. Illinois does lead the conference in FG defense, holding opponents to 38.5 percent from the floor and the 32 percent D from 3-land ranks second.
Weber will play 8 or 9 guys, with Brandon Paul and Dominique Keller leading the way off the bench. Paul, a 6' 4" freshman is scoring 8.1 points almost 19 minutes of action and Keller scores 5 points and grabs 3 boards in 12 minutes. Jeff Jordan will play, but he clearly is not blessed with his dad's talents, scoring less than 2 a contest.
For the starters, McCamey leads the conference and is second nationally in assists and enters the week needing 14 assists to break Eric Snow's B10 single season mark of 141. Mike Davis has had 3 straight double doubles, averaging 13 and 12 over that span, while Tisdale is second in FG percentage at 54 percent and Cole lead Illinois in scoring last game with 15.
OSU comes in scoring 68.2 points a game on 47.4 percent shooting in conference play, which both lead the Big Ten. Their +7.5 winning margin is good for second, as they give up 60.7 points per contest, holding opponents to 42.4 percent from the floor.
The Buckeyes will send off 5 seniors tonight, all of who have sacrificed more playing time some where else for the betterment of the Ohio State program. Simmons and Hill came here as emergency fill-ins and quietly have gone about their business as their minutes have decreased significantly. Madsen has done a nice job of coming back home and playing that role of "senior who does exactly what you need him to do" or also known as the Terwilliger Award.
And then there is Danny Peters and Mark Titus, who with a win tonight can set the all-time victories mark for scholarship players with 105. What more can you say about 2 guys who decided to follow a different path than that of their fellow freshmen classmates and help Thad build this program to what it is. The life of a bench player isn't easy and of course Titus has taken it to a new level, but without their services over the last 4 years, there would have been times when the Bucks couldn't have enough players to practice.
Though I don't expect the blowout we saw in the first game, I think OSU has more scoring punch and will come out with a win tonight. The Buckeyes made 11 bombs in Champaign (their most in B10 play) and shoot 53 percent in their home games, but their defense has been smothering and will be the difference tonight in their 67-57 win.
If the Buckeyes do pull off the win, we here at 11W get a slight bump in our street cred, as our preseason predictions for this team comes comes pretty damn close. Evan Turner turning in an AA type season was easy, but then we dropped this bombshell.
We feel OSU will do better than the predicted 3rd place finish and end with a 14-4 conference record, with an overall record of 25-6.
Not bad for a roster full of non-scholarship writers.
- With 27 points tonight, The Villian could jump Brent Darby and Brian Brown for 19th all-time.
- All 5 Buckeyes who participated in the Olympics (all in hockey) earned a medal.