|#2 Ohio State 5-0, 0-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule||November 30, 2010 7:30 PM ET - ESPN —— Donald L. Tucker Center Tallahassee, FL||Florida State 5-1, 0-0 ACC Roster | Schedule|
For the second time this month, the Ohio State Buckeyes jet off to the Sunshine State to take on a big time opponent. Ohio State knocked off then-No. 9 Florida, 93-75, on November 16. This time, OSU takes on Florida State in the 12th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. In last season's Challenge, Ohio State defeated Florida State, 77-64, at the Schott. It was the decisive game in the conference competition and gave the Big Ten its first title in the 11 years of the event. Ohio State is 4-0 all-time vs. the Seminoles and 4-5 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The 5-1 Seminoles are a squad that many think could be the surprise of the ACC this season. They've made the NCAA Tournament the past two years, but have been bounced in the first round on both occasions. In those seasons, Florida State won a combined 47 games. That is a number you wouldn't expect from a school that has had relatively little success on the hard wood. The consecutive NCAA appearances are the first since FSU made three straight trips from 1991-93.
The game will be Florida State's second in three days. It will be interesting to see how the Seminoles start out after coming off a loss to arch rival Florida in so few days. If the Buckeyes jump out to an early lead, FSU may just lay down.
|44||William Buford||11.5||4.5||4.8||G||4||Deividas Dulkys||10.5||2.5||1.8|
|33||Jon Diebler||11.0||2.4||2.6||G||22||Derwin Kitchen||9.3||3.3||3.0|
|23||David Lighty||15.6||4.8||4.2||F||31||Chris Singleton||15.8||9.8||2.0|
|0||Jared Sullinger||15.2||8.6||1.0||F||21||Michael Snaer||9.8||3.5||2.3|
|52||Dallas Lauderdale||4.4||5.6||0.2||C||1||Xavier Gibson||8.3||5.0||1.2|
Florida State has quietly become one of the top teams in the ACC the past few years. That trend is expected to continue this season even though the Seminoles lost two of their top players from last season's NCAA Tournament team. Entering the season, the offense was the question mark on this team. Florida State's defense ranked first in the ACC last season, but the offense was a lowly 10th. It looked like Leonard Hamilton's club righted the ship until they took on Florida Sunday night. In that game, FSU fell by a score of 55-51. Once again, the defense played great while the offense sputtered.
Chris Singleton is one of the best players in the country no one talks about. After garnering ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors last season, Singleton honed his offensive skills with the USA Select Team this summer. It appears to have worked. He enters the game averaging nearly 16 points a game and 10 rebounds. His ability to score and play stingy defense will be a big part of the game's outcome.
While most of the country knows about Jared Sullinger because of his high school accomplishments and 26-point effort against Florida, Ohio State has proven they can win without him dominating. Florida State has excellent frontcourt defenders in Singleton and Xavier Gibson. It will not come as a surprise if Sullinger doesn't put up big points, which puts more pressure on William Buford, David Lighty, Deshaun Thomas and Jon Diebler. On offense, Florida State will rely on Derwin Kitchen to create things. The guard rarely makes turnovers and is good for three assists a game. Counterparts Deividas Dulkys, a European sharpshooter, and Michael Snaer have made their prescense known, hitting almost 50 percent of their three-point attempts.
The Buckeyes enter the game ranked second in the country. It will be the first time since the first time since the 2007 National Championship game that Ohio State will take the court so highly ranked. Don't look for it to bother the Buckeyes. First of all, rankings in basketball don't mean much, especially in November. Secondly, the veterans won't allow this team to get complacent. They've been through the highs and lows and knows what it takes to get to the apex and stay there.
Ohio State has shown they can play any style in just five games this season. They've played up-tempo, slow and sloppy paces. It has added up to five resounding victories. Another things Ohio State has shown is anyone can be the high scorer for the night. What a great weapon to have. Florida State is great defensively, but its not like they can key on the whole team. It really is pick your poison for Ohio State's opponents this season. That being said, as good as Florida State is on defense, they are likely to contain the Buckeyes somewhat, so Thad Matta will need to keep the troops calm. They probably aren't going to go into Tallahassee and hang 85 points on the Seminoles.
The bottom line is, someone (or two) is going to step up and score points for Ohio State. Obviously, the Buckeyes are no slouch on the defensive side of the ball either. They have created tons of turnovers and made teams shoot some horrendous percentages so far. Look for Florida State to struggle shooting - even at home.
Ohio State 72, Florida State 65
- The game will be broadcast on ESPN with John Saunders and Fran Fraschilla on the call.
- Deshaun Thomas was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday. He is the third Buckeye to win the honor this season. Jared Sullinger has won the award twice.
- The win against Miami University last Friday was David Lighty's 100th at Ohio State.