Preview: #1 Ohio State at #22 Illinois

By Joe Beale on January 22, 2011 at 6:00a
190 Comments

McCamey is the catalyst for Illinois.
Ohio State Buckeyes #1 Ohio State 19-0, 6-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 12:00 PM ET - CBS —— Assembly Hall Champaign, IL Illinois Fighting Illini #22 Illinois 14-5, 4-2 Big Ten Roster | Schedule

Ohio State moves into a difficult stretch this weekend as they go back on the road to face the #22 Fighting Illini of Illinois in front of what is sure to be a very hostile and very loud Assembly Hall crowd. The 12 Noon tipoff will be nationally televised on CBS, giving many hoops fans a chance to see the Buckeyes for the first time in a while. Seven of OSU's next nine opponents are ranked in the top 25, which makes it important to get the tough stretch off to a good start.

Illinois leads the all-time series between the teams 102-67, and the lead is especially large when the Illini are playing at home (60-24). However, Ohio State has won the last 3 meetings and current Illini coach Bruce Weber is only 5-8 against the Buckeyes. The last meeting between the teams was a classic as OSU prevailed in double-OT in the Big Ten Tournament semi-finals. Last year in Champaign Evan Turner scored 16 points and held his old friend Demetri McCamey to only 9 as the Buckeyes rolled 72-53.  

With the #1 ranking displayed proudly in front of their name, the OSU players will be under more pressure than many of them have ever seen. Each team they play from here on will treat the game like it's a Final Four contest and coaches will pull out all the stops to try to spring the upset. Every arena they visit (in contrast with their home) will be sold out and the fans will be smelling blood. Thad Matta has been there before and so has veteran swing-man David Lighty, and their experience will be invaluable during the next few weeks.

# Name PTS REB ASST POS # Name PTS REB ASST
44 William Buford 13.7 4.1 3.6 G 32 Demetri McCamey 16.2 3.5 7.2
33 Jon Diebler 11.5 1.9 2.5 G 1 D.J. Richardson 10.2 1.7 2.2
23 David Lighty 13.0 3.9 3.6 F 30 Bill Cole 5.6 2.5 1.3
0 Jared Sullinger 17.4 9.8 1.4 F 24 Mike Davis 10.7 6.7 1.6
52 Dallas Lauderdale 4.7 4.3 0.2 C 54 Mike Tisdale 9.9 7.3 1.1

Opponent

Bruce Weber's troops got off to a good start in Big Ten play, stealing a win at Iowa and handling Northwestern and Wisconsin at home. But they hit a rocky spot with road losses to Penn State and Wisconsin. Coming back home on Tuesday, they righted the ship with a solid win over Michigan State. In that game, Paul came off the bench to score 20 points, hitting 4 triples in the process. All of the Illini's losses this season have come on the road or on neutral courts, which shows exactly how difficult it is to get a victory in Champaign. 

Illinois is a tough team to play mostly because of their combination of front-court size and back-court savvy. The offense starts with McCamey, but he is far from a one-man show, as his league-leading 7.2 assists per game will attest. As a team, the Illini lead the league in both 3-point percentage and 3-point percentage defense. McCamey has been sizzling from the outside this season, shooting over 50% from beyond the arc. His back-court partner D.J. Richardson also shoots well from distance, as do starting forward Bill Cole and reserve guard Brandon Paul. OSU will have to be diligent in guarding the outside if they hope to come away with a win.

Lest a team be tempted to forget about the big men, senior forward Mike Davis will make them pay. Davis makes the most of his opportunities, shooting 54% from the field. With a little help from his performance coach, Davis bounced back from a couple of rough outings to pull a double-double against the rugged Spartans. Rounding out the starting line-up is 7'1" senior center Mike Tisdale. Tisdale has a nice touch for a big man and he will surprise you with his range. Tisdale also shoots over 80% from the free throw line, and so teams trying to catch up against the Illini will have a hard time finding a good candidate to foul.

Buckeye Breakdown:

After struggling to stave off the upset against Penn State, the Buckeyes jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in their victory against Iowa on Wednesday night. William Buford and David Lighty led the charge from outside as the Hawkeyes used a sagging zone defense to try to control Jared Sullinger. Lighty was particularly impressive as he poured in 18 points on only 7 shots from the field. More ominously for future Buckeye opponents, Lighty hit 6 of 7 from the free throw line, seemingly erasing a season-long weakness and making him extremely difficult to defend. 

OSU coach Thad Matta was disappointed with his team's defensive effort against Penn State, and it showed on Wednesday as they suffocated the Hawkeyes into 40% shooting, including a dismal 1-7 from 3-point range. One thing that I have noticed is that many of the players on the team (especially Sullinger) do not "show" around the picks, thus enabling opposing teams to run pick-and-roll plays for easy buckets routinely. All of that changed against Iowa, as the players showed consistently around the picks, forcing the Hawkeye ball-handlers to turn and attempt a reversal, and in many cases forcing a turnover. Aaron Craft in particular was a defensive force on Wednesday, and his play will be extremely important in containing McCamey and preventing him from penetrating and dishing off.

Etc

  • Illinois is trying to win consecutive home games against ranked opponents for the first time in 10 years, since defeating No. 4 Michigan State (Feb. 6) and No. 13 Wisconsin (Feb. 13) during the 2001 Big Ten race.
  • Ohio State has won their last nine Big Ten road contests since falling at Minnesota 73-62 Jan. 9, 2010.
  • The Buckeyes are 60-4 when No. 1 in the AP Poll and 3-1 atop the coaches poll.
190 Comments

Comments

painterlad's picture

We will see how good Craft is around 12:01 when he goes up against McCamey. Get 'em Bucks!!

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I'd be worried if they hadn't reitred Chief Illiniwek. Since the Chief has been gone, the Illini program has been weak.  

Chris Lauderback's picture

Gonna be a war today. I hope OSU is ready for the 11am central tip. If not, Illy may jump out to an early lead. As you say, Painterlad, a huge matchup to watch is Craft on McCamey. Will be interesting to see how Thad plays the rotation since Illy has some depth inside making Lauderdale slighty more valuable yet there's still the conundrum of who guards McCamey when Craft is out. This game is a coin flip. Might be one of those games where we see who OSU's go to guy is in the last 4 minutes. I feel like Buford might blow up today.

tampa buckeye's picture

Lighty will probably guard McCamey.  I agree Lauderdale def needs to step it up today.  I'd like to see us press McCamey just to make him work and hopefully wear down by the 2nd half.   

 I'm not worried about this one purdue will be the biggest test.  Ohio State has too many weapons and unless they come out completely flat they should win this game.  Should be a great game though. Buckeyes by 3.

Chris Lauderback's picture

Interesting thought, Tampa. Lighty might take a turn on two on McCamey depending on who else is on the floor but might be hard for Lighty to guard him full time when Tisdale, Davis and Cole are all on the floor together, dont you think? I know you know, but that's two 6'9"'s and a 7'1" out there. For Lighty to guard him, that probably means Craft isn't in because Dallas is on the floor, right? How do you see Craft/Dallas minutes unfolding?

tampa buckeye's picture

Good point Dallas is going to have to show up.  He'll get some mins if he stays out of foul trouble.  It just seems like when Illinois is playing good its McCamey leading the way.  I have no problem with craft on him either.

  I don't think you match up well with Ohio State with 3 big guys on the floor Matta will spread the floor and drive and dish all day.

TLB's picture

I haven't felt good about this game for awhile.  And once we went to #1 I was even less comfortable.

I think the Illini might have the matchups needed to beat this team, with a couple active bigs and above average guard play.

Lots of good games today.

Go Bucks

tomcollins's picture

Road games in the B1G are always tough.  Hoping for a win, but won't cry too hard if it doesn't happen.  Illinois is legit.

tomcollins's picture

Gus Johnson calling it?  Crap, it's definitely coming down to the buzzer.

ERIC OSU's picture

Goooooo buckeyes! if anyone was wondering, all 3 "experts" took illinois to win on espn

tomcollins's picture

LOL Experts.

 

Sully gonna dominate them.

TLB's picture

yeah, Digger is hardly an expert.

TLB's picture

finally called the 3rd foul

TLB's picture

Did that just happen?

tomcollins's picture

DeShaun giving Buford pointers?

TLB's picture

CBS needs to join the 21st century and put the shot clock time on the score line.

tomcollins's picture

Easy to block Sully if you have your buddy hit his arms first.  LOL Big Ten home-court refs.

ERIC OSU's picture

LOL Mike Tisdale trash talk

tampa buckeye's picture

Its not wisconsin but they missed it on buford down low for sure.

TLB's picture

illini gonna have to draw blood for a foul to be called.

Joe Beale's picture

Illinois' height advantage on the front is not a big deal because they are not a post-up team. You can see that from the first couple of times they tried it.  It looked like their guys didn't really know what to do.

Joe Beale's picture

Deshaun Thomas racking up the personals.

Powers's picture

Thomas has a lot to learn

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Ohio State basically has to win the game by 10-15 pts to win by 2-3 on the scoreboard because of these "refs."

ERIC OSU's picture

I actually haven't seen any bad calls at all.. they are letting then bang a bit but I've become acustom to that in the big ten

Run_Fido_Run's picture

They're letting ILL play.

TLB's picture

Its not what they are calling, but what they aren't calling.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

exhibit 16: Buckeyes have two bloody noses already.  

whippd1's picture

Finally, Sully gets a foul call

Joe Beale's picture

7 minutes left in the 1st half and McCamey is yet to score.

Powers's picture

craft = lockdown

Run_Fido_Run's picture

he almost had a nice pickpocket there, but he is a feisty one.

whippd1's picture

After last year I didn't think someone could replace ET as my favorite Buckeye, but I think Craft has a chance before he's finished. 

Powers's picture

i was just going to say my man crush on craft is quickly developing over the past couplle of weeks

TLB's picture

Agree.  Feel much better about him shooting the 3 than Diebler

TLB's picture

How can they miss a double dribble?

KCAlum's picture

Are the traveling rules suspended for Illinois?

Powers's picture

what the hell just happened just last 2 mins?

Run_Fido_Run's picture

A few defensive breakdowns but otherwise ALL REFS! Nice run, zebras.  

BuckeyeChris's picture

I have felt this team will lose two games, at most, and land the 1 seed in the Midwest. Lose or win today, I stand by that. There won't be many tests tougher than this one. 

KCAlum's picture

Tim Brando is a douche

TLB's picture

but not as big a one as Seth Davis.

Bobcat04's picture

OSU's defense is terrible.  I can't count how many easy buckets other teams have gotten on missed switches over the last few games.  Unreal.  There is no way that we should be trailing at the half.

ERIC OSU's picture

Agreed, richmond has killed us on switches... craft was on him in the blocks at one point

Powers's picture

down 1 and McCamey hasn't scored.... little worried

Bobcat04's picture

+1  Illinois has a bench, and OSU, once again, has none.  If you consider that Craft is a de-facto starter, we've got no one after that.  Thomas plays, but hasn't been a factor at all in the B1G.  

TLB's picture

I know we can't rely on Diebler, so Buford has to step up.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

With the exception of some breakdowns here and there, they played very well defensively in the 1H, considering that they're coached fundamental defense, and thus did not benefit from thug ball.

Conversely, it's hard to score when you're getting jacked all the time. They could have made a couple more threes, but otherwise what ya gonna do?

BuckeyeChris's picture

Remaining ever the optimist... Does anyone know where the 1 seed in the Midwest will play their first two this year? 

Joe Beale's picture

We took Illinois' best shot, and they're only up 1.  We need to make the extra pass and get better shots in the 2nd half to put this team away.  Defense has been pretty good aside from a few lapses, but the offense has been horrendous.  

tampa buckeye's picture

No reason Dallas shouldn't be getting some p.t. today.  He made an impact early then they benched him.  Ohio State is getting killed on easy lay ups.

TLB's picture

I know who I would sit, but who would you take out?

Tim's picture

Same thing wasn't a foul when Sullinger got knocked down in the first half defending in the post.

Joe Beale's picture

LOLderdale trying to move with the ball.

Bobcat04's picture

It's true.  As sad as it is, you just have to laugh.

TLB's picture

Yeah, dangerously close to getting out of hound

Tim's picture

Yeah Tisdale, where's the trash talk now?

TLB's picture

Wish Thad would sit _iebler for Craft and let Dallas play a little.

Bobcat04's picture

I guess you could say that the WB is not exactly "going off" today...

ERIC OSU's picture

Correct assumption.. also LOL at the illini fans chanting "f ohio". Fanbase clearly accepting their position of inferiority

Powers's picture

Buford is really off. these pulls up are usually lay ups for him

Jason Priestas's picture

I think part of that is the intensity of the game and good defense out of the Illini. Sometimes you step into an event and you can just feel things are moving about 50% faster than others and this is one of them.

Nick's picture

These refs have orange sunglasses on

Bobcat04's picture

Besides getting way better at rolling screeners, what we really need is for someone to be a reliable threat besides Sully.

Joe Beale's picture

Our shooting percentage is heading toward the arctic range.

Bobcat04's picture

Last year we burned up the nets in this building.  It was awesome...

ERIC OSU's picture

Get lauderdale out. Omg, just standing around on d!

Powers's picture

is sully the only one boxing out?

Joe Beale's picture

Perhaps, but most assuredly he's the only one who can make a shot right now.

Joe Beale's picture

Defense is slacking off now.  The game is starting to slip away.

Powers's picture

hahaha great call ref

Bobcat04's picture

Sully for 20 and 12 already.  Today, we're a one-man team.  Our #1 player is dominating, and the rest of the team is disappearing.  McCamey is not scoring much, but Illinois' team is killing us.  19-1.

TLB's picture

Once again Diebler and Buford disappoint in a big game.

Tim's picture

And with Lighty struggling too, there's no one else to go to.

Bobcat04's picture

Agree.  I would lump Buford right there with Diebs as players who just have never been there when you really need them.  Just like has been said, we just don't have a go-to guy except for Sully.  The others are just roleplayers.

ERIC OSU's picture

Defense invisible. I've never seen so many easy lays for one team

slippy's picture

Lighty is killing us.  You're allowed to sit seniors, Thad.

KCAlum's picture

Way too many missed shots

Bobcat04's picture

No one even tries to get a board except Sully.

Joe Beale's picture

Well, Lighty did try to get the tip on that last trip, but as usual it did not go down.  There's a lid on the basket at the moment.

Bobcat04's picture

Diebler to the rack...

Joe Beale's picture

Leonard is their designated hatchet man.

J.B.'s picture

I'll be the first to admit that I don't follow Basketball nearly as close as I do Football, but I always had high hopes for Lauderdale... but WTF is up with him? Is he hurt? It just seems like his play has regressed. I'm not saying the guy was an All American by any means, but he was a force...The fact that his nickname was Swatterdale seems like a joke anymore.

Bobcat04's picture

Damn, good defense for the first time all half, and they get it back...

Tim's picture

Craft's arm got grabbed there, c'mon!

Powers's picture

Jesus Gus really wants to this see this upset

Johnny Ginter's picture

well yeah, it's the #1 team. upsets are always way more interesting than a #1 team just killing dues

Bobcat04's picture

Need to get those loose balls...

KCAlum's picture

Sullinger is a machine out there

Joe Beale's picture

3rd foul on Richmond.

Joe Beale's picture

OSU shooting percentage is currently 35.7%.  Ugh.

tomcollins's picture

Pretty good since half the shots have an Illini player touching the Bucks when they shoot.

Bobcat04's picture

Defense has been a little better the last couple of possessions, now we need someone to score!

Nick's picture

Good timing by Thomas

Tim's picture

There we go!  Nice, Diebler and Thomas getting involved, finally someone else stepping up.

ERIC OSU's picture

Craft incredible defense!

RedQueenRace's picture

I really thought that was going to go against him.

TLB's picture

absolutely he ran over Craft.

 

look for a makeup call

Joe Beale's picture

Brilliant play by Craft.  This kid is a player.

Bobcat04's picture

It's nice to see, however this turns out, that we had a counterpunch to their run.  This was a possession or two from being too far out of range.

whippd1's picture

Excellent resiliency by the Bucks to battle back just when it looked like this was getting out of hand.

Tim's picture

Good timing for DeShaun Thomas' best game of the season.

whippd1's picture

This is the Buckeye Frosh Show - Sullinger, Craft, and Thomas!

TLB's picture

Thomas might not play defense but we sure need his scoring.

 

And how about the illini fans thinking the officials are bad.

Bobcat04's picture

Sully's one Achilles' Heel is that he has trouble taking it up under the hoop in traffic.  Gets tied up a lot.

TLB's picture

Did he just say Sully was pear shaped?

Bobcat04's picture

WOW.  There's NO WAY that Craft fouled him.

TLB's picture

all the beatin and bangin and they call that.

Tim's picture

At least Sullinger's been getting the calls to get to the line in the second half.  That's been huge.

whippd1's picture

That call was pathetic

Powers's picture

sully needs to touch the ball EVERY possession

741's picture

Sullinger = Beast Mode.

Bobcat04's picture

On an Illinois note, Richmond is going to be a good one for them.  Impressed.

tampa buckeye's picture

charge all the way 

RedQueenRace's picture

Meanwhile Illini fans are moaning all game.

Powers's picture

howww is that a block?? either charge or no call

Bobcat04's picture

WAS CRAFT NOT SET ON THAT?!?!?!?  WOW!!!!!

TLB's picture

wow.  that was a definate no call

whippd1's picture

Horrible call against Craft!  Awful!

tampa buckeye's picture

that better not cost them the game

Bobcat04's picture

No kidding.  That was horrible.

Powers's picture

1 possessioon game all of a sudden

Bobcat04's picture

Wow, that was a really bad, referee-induced series.  

whippd1's picture

Hmmm....whaddaya think Matta will draw up on this posession??

tampa buckeye's picture

at least they had a cushion or I'd be pissed 

TLB's picture

why are we so quick to shoot?

tampa buckeye's picture

ya no shit lighty could have ran 20 more seconds 

Nick's picture

I think this game is done now, but I hope we NEVER get these shitty refs again

TLB's picture

they are all bad in the B1G

Tim's picture

Are you kidding me?  Tisdale!?

Powers's picture

WHAT THE ****!!!

Bobcat04's picture

You've gotta be kidding me.  We lose, and the game ball goes to the refs.

Tim's picture

Alright, put Jamar Butler in for the free throws.

tampa buckeye's picture

its ok just make our free throws

tampa buckeye's picture

this game shouldn't even be close I hate Illinois

tomcollins's picture

Seeing all these BW3 commercials with Gus have me worried.

tampa buckeye's picture

no guard the 3 and give up a two

Bobcat04's picture

2-2 for Craft...

TLB's picture

I'd foul them with 5 seconds left.........but not on the shot

Tim's picture

Hopefully Illinois still executes situations like this like they did in the Big 10 Tournament last year when they had like 3 chances to win at the end of regulation, overtime, etc.

Tim's picture

There you go, Illinois, still unable to get a shot off when it matters most.

whippd1's picture

Sully is johnny on the spot!!

TLB's picture

lol.  McCamey was afraid to shoot.

ERIC OSU's picture

Season of heartburn.. every game have to be like this? Lol

741's picture

Wow! What a game for Sully. 

Future Cleveland Cavalier?

tampa buckeye's picture

future soph. /lock out victim

741's picture

From your lips to Gods ear.

whippd1's picture

Matta will continue his 20 win season streak!

TLB's picture

_ieber can have his D back.

Bobcat04's picture

Guess Gus Johnson doesn't get his upset.  Boo-Hoo.

whippd1's picture

Great day from the charity stripe

TLB's picture

yes!  another big ROAD win.

Powers's picture

Sully has this is my ball

RoweTrain's picture

I'm man enough to admit it, I love this team.

Powers's picture

exactly whats not to love? incredibly talented freshman and very classy seniors. matta at the helm.

tampa buckeye's picture

Big ups to D. Thomas he got them back in the game and shut up that crowd with two big 3's.

Michael's picture

Tweet of the game goes to Luke, when Tisdale hit the step-back 3: http://twitter.com/#!/worstfan/status/28889685602336768

Buckeye Black's picture

Great team effort in the 2nd half.  Sully to Craft to Thomas, huge plays.  

Nick's picture

Where is Andy Katz now?

ERIC OSU's picture

....And digger and bilas and d-bag unc alum (w/e his name is)

JakeBuckeye's picture

God this team is great. This has to be my favorite Ohio State athletics team since the football team in 2006. Probably even more since that football team couldn't do to Florida what this basketball team did.

Jason Priestas's picture

Also, new poll up - be sure to hand out your game ball.

Matt's picture

I've decided that Sully is my favorite Ohio State athlete, football or basketball.  Poised, humble, reliable, clutch, a killer with a smile.

Craft played huge defense and constantly disrupted McCamey.

I was waiting for DeShaun Thomas to go off and he showed us something today.

Threebler busted out a more full game than he has demonstrated in the past.

Buford disappeared and was playing weak defense.

 Lighty especially disappointed me today on offense, could not finish and made some bad decisions in traffic.  Made up for it though with strong defense against players who were taller outweighed and him.

Really expected to lose this game when we were down 8, but this team is special.

JakeBuckeye's picture

"I've decided that Sully is my favorite Ohio State athlete, football or basketball."

Me too. Unless Sanzenbacher still counts.

 

 

 

Jason Priestas's picture

Buford didn't join the team in warmups to start either half. Might have been battling something in the stomach today.

Jason Priestas's picture

Actually in the postgame, Matta said Buford was playing on a twisted ankle.

Orlando Buckeye's picture

I like how Shia Lebouf played, he's a real asset. And Sully was clutch as usual.

741's picture

Hahahaha - nailed it.