Preview: Illinois vs. #7 Ohio State

By Chris Lauderback on March 13, 2010 at 7:00a
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ET43=WTurner's dagger put OSU in the semi's (M. Conroy)
Ohio State Buckeyes #7 Ohio State 25-7, 14-4 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 1:40 PM ET - CBS —— Conseco Fieldhouse Indianapolis, IN Illinois Fighting Illini Illinois 19-13, 10-8 Big Ten Roster | Schedule

The Buckeyes earned a spot in the conference tournament semi-finals thanks to a 69-68 thriller capped by Evan Turner's 37 footer at the buzzer overcoming an insane 22 point second half performance from Michigan's Manny Harris.

In case you're counting, that's 11 wins in the last 13 meetings against Michigan (h)oops.

Turning the page, Ohio State faces an Illinois squad that held off a furious Wisconsin rally to record a 58-54 upset win which almost assuredly puts the Illini in the dance regardless of what happens today. Still, with buddies Turner and Demetri McCamey ready to square off, neither team will phone it in.

#NamePTSREBASSTPOS#NamePTSREBASST
21 Evan Turner 19.5 9.4 5.8 G 3 Demetri McCamey 14.9 3.2 6.8
33 Jon Diebler 12.6 2.9 1.6 G 25 D.J. Richardson 10.3 2.7 2.1
44 Wil Buford 14.3 5.5 3.2 F 5 Bill Cole 4.6 3.3 1.1
23 David Lighty 12.4 4.6 2.7 F 24 Mike Davis 10.3 8.8 0.9
50 Dallas Lauderdale 7.2 5.2 0.3 C 50 Mike Tisdale 11.6 6.1 0.8

Opponent

Illinois took control early against Wisconsin jumping out to an 11-3 lead on their way to a 29-20 halftime edge buoyed by a strong defensive effort. The Illini D held the Badgers to 6/32 from the floor (19%) including an 0/8 doughnut for Trevon Hughes.

After a D.J. Richardson free throw gave Illinois a 50-38 lead at the 1:52 mark, Wisconsin peeled off a last ditch 16-6 run cutting the deficit to 56-54 with :33 remaining and they had three point shot to tie with :18 left but Jason Bohannon's effort was errant sealing the deal.

Mike Tisdale led Illy with 21 points, McCamey added 13 points, 8 boards and 5 dimes and Mike Davis had a 10/10 dub-dub as Bruce Weber's club shot 52% from the floor and 54% from deep (6/11) while holding Wisky to 29% overall.

During the regular season, Illinois finished in the middle of the pack for virtually every team stat.

Buckeye Breakdown

Though the last second win over Michigan was fun in that it gave us one more opportunity to laugh at the folly known as Michigan Athletics, there's no denying OSU was a bit rusty having not played since March 2nd. The defensive intensity wavered at times no matter how much you have to tip your hat to Harris and the offense appeared out of sync for stretches especially when Turner forced the action in the second half prior to the game winner. More than that, Dallas Lauderdale was abused by DeShawn Sims early on and couldn't stay out of foul trouble (don't worry, we saw you, High(light)tower). It will take an improved effort from Lauderdale to beat Illinois for the third straight time though you have to hand it to Kyle Madsen. The senior filled in admirably once again scoring eight points in 24 minutes.

In the two regular season wins over Illinois, Jon Diebler averaged 19.5 points per on the strength of 52% (13/25) from downtown. Turner also had success averaging 16 points, 11.5 rips and 6.5 assists while David Lighty averaged 16 points on 67% from the floor (10/15). This bodes well for OSU as they are incredibly difficult to beat when three of the big four contribute offensively.

Defensively, OSU used a lot of 1-3-1 zone in the two matchups holding Illinois to 36% shooting (46/127) including a clankish 24% from distance (11/45). I would assume we'll see more of the 1-3-1 until Illinois shows they can generate points against it.

Etc

  • The Buckeyes are now 16-0 when they shoot at least 50%.
  • Diebler is just 11 points shy of 1,000 for his career.
  • OSU's 58.3% from deep was a B10 Tournament best for the program.
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