Preview: #16 UT-San Antonio vs. #1 Ohio State

By Corey Carpenter on March 18, 2011 at 8:00a
Swatterdale, the X-Factor in a run to Houston.
Ohio State Buckeyes #1 Ohio State 32-2, 16-2 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 4:40 PM ET - TNT —— Quicken Loans Arena Cleveland, OH UT-San Antonio UT-San Antonio 20-13, 9-7 Southland Roster | Schedule

Well, it seems like deja vu. Last week when we should have been focusing on the outstanding season the Buckeye hoopsters had, we were all enamored by the continued fallout from TatGate. So once again, we interupt the talk of suspensions to bring you what hopefully will be the focus for the next three weeks, a Final Four run to Houston.

UT-San Antonio earned the right to play the Buckeyes after winning the Southland Tournament and beating Alabama State, 71-60 in the first round Wednesday night. The Road Runners tied for fifth in the conference and enter this game on a six game winning streak.

Of course the Buckeyes are the overall number one seed and the overwhelming pick by most of the experts to win it all. They weren't given any favors by the committee with their bracket, but as we saw yesterday, this is March and anything can happen. So the talk of potential matchups against the likes of Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina or West Virginia needs to be tabled for the moment and let the games play out.

44 William Buford 14.3 3.9 3.0 G 21 Devin Gibson 16.8 5.3 5.5
33 Jon Diebler 12.5 2.7 2.4 G 31 Melvin Johnson III 15.2 3.4 0.6
23 David Lighty 11.8 4.1 3.2 F 3 Larry Wilkins 3.6 3.5 0.7
0 Jared Sullinger 17.2 10.1 1.3 F 12 Jerome Hill 13.6 6.8 1.0
52 Dallas Lauderdale 4.3 3.2 0.1 C 1 Stephen Franklin 6.6 4.2 1.7


Jonny did a great job the other day taking a deeper look into this Road Runner team and the school as a whole. In a glance at the Road Runners schedule, it is not typical of a lesser program trying to fill their bank account with early season road games against some power house schools. They only played one game against a power conference and that was a 79-63 loss at Oklahoma State, a 20-13 team. Their most significant wins came at Pepperdine and Houston, each five point victories.

UTSA comes into this game averaging 70.8 points a game, while giving up just over 69. They are shooting 43.1 percent overall from the floor and 35.4 percent from deep, while allowing teams to shoot 41.5 overall and 32.6 from the arc. The Road Runners grab around 35 boards a game and allow their opponents to do the same, while dishing out 12.8 assists and turning it over 13.6 time per contest.

I did not get to watch much of the first round game, so if you did, feel free to chime in on what we can expect from the Road Runners. The few minutes I did watch, UTSA was in a zone on defense as they built a 48-21 halftime lead on the strength of Melvin Johnson's 25 points, but slowed in the second, as they were outscored 40-22. The 6'5" sophomore guard, who apparently has "SWISH" scribbled on the side of his shoes, ended up with a career high 29 points on 9/17 shooting from the floor and 9/13 from the stripe.

Devin Gibson is a 6' senior who was named first team all-conference and is the only player in the nation who is currently averaging over 16 points, 5 boards, 5 assists and 2.5 steals. He holds the school records in assists, steals, FT's, games played and wins, while ranking third in scoring and sixth in FG's and rebounding. He is the only player to record 2 triple-doubles this season in the NCAA, including a 28/10/10 performance March 9th in the conference tourney. Jerome Hill is a 6'8" freshman, who was named the Southland freshman of the year. He can step outside the arc, where he shot just over 40 percent on the season and recorded his fourth double-double in the first round with 14 points and 11 boards.

UTSA won't go very deep on their bench, with 6'3" junior Sei Paye seeing the most minutes. He averaged 5.2 points and 2.4 boards on the season, seeing action in all 33 games, including 23 minutes in Wednesday's win. Paye and the five starters were the only six players who played in evey game this season. With the win on Wednesday, it marked the first 20 win season for the Road Runners in the last 19 years and is the first win in the history of the school in any NCAA tournament.

The Road Runners are coached by Brooks Thompson, a former Oklahoma State and NBA player, who is in his fifth year at the helm.

Buckeye Breakdown:

Bob Baptist had a nice breakdown of the long odds Ohio State still faces to reach the Final Four, even though they are the overall number one seed. In the last 26 years, the team that finished the regular season #1 in the AP poll has reached the Final Four 14 times and only 4 teams that have bestowed that honor or the overall #1 seed have won the title.

The great thing about this team is they have always taken it one game at a time and they know it's a matter of winning a 4 team tournament this weekend in Cleveland. I don't expect them to stuggle today, although I think it helps UTSA that they got to play a game on Wednesday, where as the Buckeyes have had to sit for five days. That factor may allow the Road Runners to stick around for the first half, but the Ohio State defense is too strong and will eventually shut them down.

If Ohio State is going to make a run to Houston, at some point, if not many, Dallas Lauderdale is going to play huge minutes. As mentioned, there are some stud teams in this bracket with more length then the B1G has to offer. I think Dallas has played effectively in the chances he has had recently and if he can keep that up, I still like the chances of this team. However, if he gets in there, picks up some quick fouls and doesn't contribute much, it could be their downfall. As much as I love Sullinger, her won't be able to do it all throughout this tournament.

It's really quite simple though, Ohio State has to continue doing what they have doen all year. Play stellar team defense, feed the rock inside to Sully, don't commit fouls and don't turn it over. This team has veteran leadeship with some youth sprinkled in, but you don't get to 32-2 without knowing what you are doing. I've always liked the composure of this team, they rarely get rattled in tough times and if they can maintain that over the next three weeks, hopefully we won't have to talk about suspensions until the second week of April.


  • Ohio State is 39-21 all-time in the NCAA tournament.
  • Gus Johnson and Len Elmore will have the call on TNT.

Comments Show All Comments

Buckman82's picture

I don't see this being a huge blowout. I think there will be some nerves for both teams. I see a low scoring game early, with Ohio State pulling away late in the second half. 68-54.


I would love to see a blowout and get Lauderdale, Thomas, Sibert some good minutes to get their feet wet in the tourney atmosphere. That way their first minutes aren't against Nova, Kentucky, or UNC.

canukeye's picture

Let the RUN begin!!!!!!


Go Bucks!

It's not the band that I hate.  It's the fans.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I'm predicting that UT-SA will get steamrolled. The Buckeyes will be up by 20 at half and then will cruise (but hopefully not too much cruising).

I agree that Lauderdale must play big at times for the Buckeyes to go far. Yet when Ohio State uses its "base package" of one man inside (Sully), the opponents are presented with very big problems of their own

When those opponents are not just long, but also super athletic & quick, that can counteract Matta's scheme (like 2010 Tenn), sure, but few teams bring that. For example, WVU's front line looks too lumbering, from what I've seen, for them play effective defense against OSU's "1/4 attack," so they might get killed worse on defense that they'd gain on offense against Ohio State by trying to go with a big front line. 

Conversely, OSU can get away with their approach defensively partly because of their deceptive length.

When Lauderdale has been on the floor this year, he's often been in beast mode. His limited minutes were by design. The Bucks were formidable with both Lauderdale & Sully out there, but even a little more efficient with just Sully and Craft/Lighty/Diebler/Bufford. So, I'd say Lauderdale needs to play like a beast within the confines of his current role, but also be ready to play a bigger role as the situations (foul trouble, match ups, etc.) warrant.        

slippy's picture

Most zones tends to clog the lane and leave holes on the outside.  Diebs and Buford go off.  Game is out of hand within the first 12 minutes.  I'm talking we're gonna see Eddie Days record a stat.

Matthew's picture


Class of 2010

Jdadams01's picture

I'm hoping we don't have to hear Gus get too excited during our game today cause that'd mean it's probably close.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I was watching part of the UCONN game yesterday, when the studio broke into the telecast and suggested that viewers might want to check out one of the more competitive games. The UCONN-game announcer sort of infered that he wished he could switch games, without actually saying that. It was funny but also underlined that, above all else, the announcers want close games, crazy upsets, unexpected twists, etc. 

I need to keep that in mind, as the overall no. 1 seed Buckeyes (hopefully) move on in the tourney: when an announcer gets excited at a play made by the opponents (likely a big underdog), it does not necessarily indicate that the announcer is a closet Buckeye "hater" and whatnot.

741's picture

Awesome photo.

btalbert25's picture

Ugh, Gus Johnson does far too many Buckeye games.

madhatterhater's picture

Did anyone hear the "studio guys" talking about Wisky.  They stated that they new Wisky was going to win because they beat OSU 93-65.  LOL

go bucks

RoweTrain's picture

Yep, it was Kenny Smith.  He said they not only beat us, but "smacked us around".  That is why he should stick to NBA analysis.

"Just bow up and go out and play." ~ D. Lee

"As it stands right now, I know I am the best athlete in college football." ~ B. Miller

clevelandbuckeye's picture

Unless there is a historic upset today, we will be playing on Sunday.  So this Villanova vs. George Mason game today, who would we really want to match up against?  I think the Buckeyes match up pretty well against most opponents, and the "strong" Big East didn't look the part yesterday.

I personally would rather play Villanova, and I think that match up would be a good game to get primed for WVU who I think will beat Kentucky.  I would have liked to see George Mason (my alma mater) make a run, but it looks like that will have to come in another year.

btalbert25's picture

Bob Huggins coached teams are 7-1 against John Calipari coached teams.  While, that has no bearing on this years game, one would have to assume with the insane talent Calipari had at Memphis and at UK his 2 years, you would certainly think on paper his teams were the favorite.  Cal has trouble against guys who are strong on X's and O's.  All that is my way of saying I think West Virginia will be the foe in the Sweet 16.


Nappy's picture

I couldn't help but think of all the 2nd round exits Huggins had at Cincinnati, I got KY moving on..

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

Abe Froman's picture

I'm very interested to see the KY - WVU re-match this year.  I think the last time they met, KY shot 3-30 behind the arc and WVU won by 4 or 5.  The whole state of WV rejoiced in the fact that they beat UK in the tourney!  I had to laugh saying that if they wouldn't have bricked (and it was not defense that caused the stat) so many 3's, UK would have won hands down.  In fact, I noted that I could kick it from behind the arc and make that many!  Thankfully, nobody challenged my skills as I had better things to do like preparing bacon dishes....

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....