Preview: #5 Ohio State at Illinois

By Corey Carpenter on January 10, 2012 at 12:00p
75 Comments
HOMAGE
D.J. Richardson has been hurt the last two games.Richardson may be limited again tonight.
Ohio State Buckeyes #5 Ohio State 15-2, 3-1 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 9:00 PM ET - ESPN —— Assembly Hall Champaign, IL Illinois Fighting Illini Illinois 14-3, 3-1 Big Ten Roster | Schedule

The Buckeyes travel to Champaign tonight, one of the toughest venues in the B1G, but a place they have had recent success, winning four of the last five, including a 73-68 win last year.

Illinois comes hobbling into the game, with spark-plug transfer Sam Maniscalco(9.9 PPG, 2.9 APG) missing the last two games due to an ankle injury and leading scorer, D.J. Richardson limited on Saturday because of a wrist injury.

Ohio State on the other hand is healthy and coming off a week where they destroyed Nebraska at home and Iowa on the road, causing more turnovers than FG's made in each game for their respective opponent. Jared Sullinger was named B1G POW for the fifth time in his career and as expected, the depth of the bench is emerging as the season rolls along.

# Name YR HT/WT PTS REB ASST P # Name YR HT/WT PTS REB ASST
4 A. Craft SO 6-2/190 7.8 3.2 5.1 G 13 T. Abrams FR 6-1/185 2.5 2.4 1.5
32 L. Smith, Jr. SO 6-4/205 5.3 4.6 2.1 G 3 B. Paul JR 6-4/200 12.1 4.5 3.2
44 W. Buford SR 6-6/220 15.4 4.7 3.6 F 2 J. Bertrand SO 6-5/195 6.6 2.0 1.0
1 D. Thomas SO 6-7/225 14.8 4.1 0.9 F 42 T. Griffey JR 6-8/230 5.7 3.8 0.6
0 J. Sullinger SO 6-9/265 17.1 9.6 1.0 C 12 M. Leonard SO 7-1/245 12.9 8.0 1.4

Opponent

Illinois is one of those B1G team right now where the season can go either way. They have a nice record at 14-3, but have only played two ranked teams, beating then #18 Gonzaga in early December and losing to #8 Mizzou right before conference play. They needed double overtime to take down Minnesota in Assembly Hall, got beat by 15 at Purdue and squeaked out wins over Northwestern(57-56) and Nebraska(59-54) last week.

Bruce Weber's squad comes in scoring 68.2 PPG on the season, but as you can see, they haven't reached 60 in the last two games, which plays into Ohio State's hands. As a team, they are shooting 45.2% overall from the floor, including 31.6% from deep, which is last amongst B1G teams. As with most Weber teams, they will play tough D, holding teams to 60.2 PPG and 40.1% shooting, including 35.8% from the 3-point line. They have a pretty even A/TO ratio, with 13.2 APG against 13.9 TO's, while forcing opponents into almost 15 turnovers per game.

Weber didn't have a deep team to begin with and the injuries to Richardson and Maniscalco have limited him even more. Though they won by a combined six points last week, Weber called the wins "masterpieces" due to his make shift lineups. Maniscalco graduated from Bradley in the spring and was granted another year of eligibility, after sitting out last year with injuries to the same ankle. He leads the team in A/TO ratio and it doesn't look like he will play again tonight.

Richardson had scored in double figures a career high 8 straight games before his wrist injury limited him to eight points at Northwestern and just two points on four FG attempts against Nebraska. He should play tonight and if healthy enough, may be in the starting lineup. He's leading the team in scoring at 13.2 PPG, doing most of his damage from downtown, where he has hit 41/101 on the year, both good for second in the B1G.

Shutting down Brandon Paul will be key for tonight, as he leads this team with 14.8 PPG in B1G play. He has scored in double digits in 10 of his last 11 and now leads the team in assists. Paul will also shoot the ball from deep, but prefers to drive the ball and get to the line, attempting 75 FT's against 74 three pointers. Another player to keep an eye on tonight is Joseph Bertrand, who poured in a career high 25 against Nebraska on 10/11 from the floor.

The starters will play the majority of the minutes tonight for Weber's squad, with Nnanna Egwu and Myke Henry getting some action off the pine. Egwu, a 6'11" FR. from Chicago played 15 minutes on Saturday, missing his only shot and snagging two boards, to go along with three fouls and two TO's. On the season, he is playing about 11 minutes a game, averaging 2.4 points and 1.9 rebounds. If Sullinger can get Leonard in foul trouble early, we could see a lot of Egwu.

Henry, also a freshman from Chicago is 6'6" and though he played just eight minutes against Nebraska, chipped in with 15 minutes, 6 points and 3 boards against Northwestern. His appearance in the lineup has been sporadic this year, but he is scoring almost four points a game in his eight minutes of action.

The key for an Illini win tonight will be their ability to hit from distance and keep the crowd in the game. There is no doubt the Orange Crush can create a hostile environment and if the refs give them a little home cooking, the Illini can hang around with some outside buckets. However, I don't think the Illini have an answer for Ohio State's depth right now. 

Buckeye Breakdown:

OSU moved back into the top five this week, after their impressive conference wins by 31 and 29 points last week. Their defensive intensity seemed to reach another level in the wins, which doesn't bode well for Illinois tonight. As mentioned, the most impressive stat from last week was the fact OSU forced more TO's than FG's allowed. They forced Nebraska into 17 TO's and held them to 16 FG's, while forcing 20 Hawkeye TO's against 17 made FG's. Ohio State held Iowa to 47 points, they averaged almost 77 coming into the game.

Sullinger putting the B1G on watch.Sully is scoring  20/game over his last three.

For the season, Ohio State is scoring 78 PPG, which puts them 29th in the nation and their 49.6% from the floor is still ninth best in the country. As mentioned, their defense is getting better and they are now holding teams to 54.9 PPG, 39.1% from the floor and 30.4% from deep. Unfortunately, they are still struggling from the line and deep, hitting 67.9 and 33.3 percent respectively.

Though OSU dominated last week, there is a growing concern for the amount of turnovers Ohio State has had over the last three games, averaging 17 per game in that span. The biggest culprits have been Aaron Craft and William Buford, who each have 10, mostly coming in moments of sloppy play. This is an area that needs to be tightened up if Ohio State is to pull out another road victory tonight.

With the two blowout wins last week, Thad was able to give his bench more minutes and there were some players who took advantage of it, making a serious push for consistent playing time. J.D. Weatherspoon is at the top of that list, playing 25 minutes last week, hitting 7/9 shots for 14 points, including multiple high rising dunks, which energize his teammates. Weatherspoon's minutes have been up and down thus far, but his energy and leaping ability is hard to ignore. It seems he is grasping the defensive side of things better, which may mean more minutes for him over Ravenel.

Although he is still struggling from the floor, Shannon Scott also played well last week, especially at Iowa. His Nebraska numbers weren't pretty, 0/5 from the floor, 0 assists and 3 TO's in 19 minutes, but at Iowa, he came off the bench to create that spark the Bucks needed at the time. In 18 minutes, he had 5 points, 6 boards, 5 assists and 2 steals, against just one TO. Scott is going to get some PT in conference play, as it seems the refs are calling things a little tighter for Craft on the defensive side. I have a feeling it's going to be more of the same tonight in Champaign, so Scott needs to continue his Iowa play.

I expect Ohio State to win this one tonight, as long as they continue the defensive intensity and take better care of the rock. OSU can score a variety of ways and if they can shut down Paul, with a limited Richardson, Illinois is going to find it difficult to score. Ohio State should control the glass and pull away in the second half.

Etc

  • Illinois is honoring Lou Henson tonight at halftime, he turns 80 today.
  • William Buford is still 70 points behind Jay Burson for seventh all-time.
  • OSU has beaten three B1G teams by at least 25 points, the last time that happened was 1960-61 and we all know what the Buckeye hoopsters did that year.
75 Comments

Comments

Matt's picture

Any whisperings re: how Q-Ross is coming along?  I'm a bit disappointed that he hasn't seen more PT.  He presents a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses and he could provide a spark from long distance.  I'm guessing his defense is still suspect, but I was hoping he would be getting more quality minutes by this time.

Ethos's picture

Buford is killing his stock, he is playing awful.  The turnovers and lazy passing he does plus he has had awful shooting games against decent defenses. 

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

what games are you watching?

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

baddogmaine's picture

This is a good tune-up for Indiana: it's a roadie against a capable opponent. Vegas likes us by 9, but CBS has us as just one basket better. The pessimist in me could see it going either way. Quite simply our squad has not played like a team that can win when pushed. There is no one other than Sullinger it can look to in a tight game, and too many who will make mistakes that can't be made. If the foul problems continue the freshmen are going to play like freshmen; and if the turnovers continue the inconsistent shooting will mean that we will end up with not enough made buckets. If we struggle tonight it will either be a wake-up call for guys who think their success is made (Buford, eg) and get them to play at the level they can and must; or it will be a sign that just as the Celtics can not count on winning with but three stars the Buckeyes have too many holes to be a real threat.

Win comfortably tonight and salvage a season split with the Hoosiers and we might have something. Otherwise, the rest of the season may need to be dedicated to finding guys who can replace Buford when he's shooting our own lights out, or replace Diebler whose absence as a defense-sofener is bigger than we want to admit. And I don't know what to do about Thomas -- keep him for offense, even though he gives back what he gets us? He's no Lighty, and that's another loss we have not put behind us.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Buf needs to catch him some basketball jones like Tyrone Shoelaces....

LadyBuck's picture

So, I'm guessing this is the game thread tonight?

LadyBuck's picture

That is a BS foul on Sully. What is that? I need to see a replay to be sure, but COME ON. Holding there? Ref, this isn't football.

LadyBuck's picture

That was a pretty shot by the Illini. 

TLB's picture

WB giving effort

 

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Agreed. Seems to be playing harder.

LadyBuck's picture

Well, besides that silly foul on Sully, can't really complain about this. It's a very fast paced game, though. 

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Gettin the bad calls already

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Glad Craft made up for that crap shot he took

LadyBuck's picture

Me, too. Got to give him credit, he's playing hard.

LadyBuck's picture

That was a nice little one-on-one by Sully.

TLB's picture

bad play by Sully.  But everyone else was standing and watching

TLB's picture

Gotta deny that entry pass

LadyBuck's picture

Sully gotta keep him out of the paint.

LadyBuck's picture

I'm more impressed with Meyers Leonard in 10 minutes than I was of Cody Zeller in 40.

TLB's picture

He's not as ugly, I'll give him that

LadyBuck's picture

He's just playing better both offensively and defensively than Zeller, at least against us.

TLB's picture

haha........Sully with the 18 footer, followed by a threeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

LadyBuck's picture

That was a nice series, all things considering. Especially that assist by Craft.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Diggin the hustle by Buford

TLB's picture

A little disappointed with Buckeye basketball fans

Rather_Be_Golfing's picture

just catching up on the thread.

 

Why do you say that?

LadyBuck's picture

Bad pass there. Should've pulled it out. Bad pass, and they got a 3 and the crowd out of it.

LadyBuck's picture

By "out of it" i mean, the crowd is now loud again.

TLB's picture

Craft needs to hit those

LadyBuck's picture

Agreed. However, his stroke is looking less mechanical. That's a good sign, right?

TLB's picture

I think you are right.  Maybe he will get confidence if he can hit a couple. 

LadyBuck's picture

I think that's all he needs right now, but that will come with time.

TLB's picture

wow......I was cussing Thomas as that went in

LadyBuck's picture

What a coincidence. My friend, who knows some of the guys, did the same thing last year. Actually yelled out "NO!" as the first 3 went in last year.

LadyBuck's picture

Still more impressed with Leonard than Zeller.

LadyBuck's picture

That screen around the court was a nice move. Pretty much the only way to get Craft off of anyone.

TLB's picture

They are hitting everything.

LadyBuck's picture

They are, and you have to give them some of those ugly shots.

LadyBuck's picture

Coach Matta taking a time out, what is this? 

Anyway, Craft with a consistent shot would be one heck of a weapon for this team.

TLB's picture

Game was going to fast.  4letter told Valentine to slow it down

Rather_Be_Golfing's picture

Glad to see Buford not "trying" to hard.  I think that was his problem lately.  Needs to get his confidence back.  We will need him.

 

Thomas is a scoring phenom.  Unstoppable.  Some people just know how to score, he is one of them.

 

Sully...  Enough said.

 

Keep playing Thompson and Weatherspoon.  Too athletic and too good of defense not to play them.  I am thinking Sibert's minutes will go away since he cannot make his 3's.  Too bad, good kid.  Confidence is down, I am sure.

Ravenel not playing that well.  Not the end of the world.  Would like to see Williams get 8-10 minutes a game to develop him.  He is so raw.

 

All for now, Go Bucks...

 

 

 

 

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Love seeing Thompson and Spoon out there.

Rather_Be_Golfing's picture

Yeah, don't necessarily need them in the game at cruch time.  ie. IU game pass to Thompson, wasn't ready.  Good lesson though.  

They can log valuable minutes this year, get better, develop, and save our guards legs.

I feel we have gotten tired down the stretch run.  This year we are a lot deeper.  Matta just needs to 'Trust' players more.  I think that is hard for him to do.

 

:)

TLB's picture

c'mon, we are looking at less than a second

argyle182021's picture

Is it so hard to do simple subtraction?

TLB's picture

5 minutes for 2 seconds

Rather_Be_Golfing's picture

This is nutz.  One way to slow us down.  Fouls and time outs.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

DOUG GOTTLIEB KILLED FIVE HOOKERS WHILE WEARING WOMEN'S UNDERWEAR

TLB's picture

I wonder if he used the credit cards he stole from his roommate at Notre Dame to buy the materials to do it.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Do we deserve to be at 5? I feel like I had more faith in the team last year.

TLB's picture

Yes we do, but it's largely because there aren't many teams out there that are very good.

LadyBuck's picture

Yes we do, but they are super streaky this year. They don't have the consistency that experience brings to most.

TLB's picture

Buford...........geez

LadyBuck's picture

DT is on fire, and Craft's shot is FINALLY falling.

LadyBuck's picture

Steal and a lay up, go Bucks. Aka: Get one.

TLB's picture

Up 10, fall asleep.  That has to stop.

LadyBuck's picture

It's been a problem since at least last year. Lack of killer instict will come back and haunt us.

TLB's picture

Buford is killing us.  Cant make an open 10 footer and his guy make his 6th 3.

LadyBuck's picture

We've gone ice cold with some pretty bad non-calls.

TLB's picture

I dont know about non-calls but there is definately no intensity

LadyBuck's picture

Not many, but a few on our shots, especially when it comes from the offensive glass. Maybe it's my scarlet and grey glasses, though.

LadyBuck's picture

I still have hope for this game. We can, and will, pull it out. Got to believe it. We are still showing effort, and we're still trying. Let's go bucks!

 

O-H!

LadyBuck's picture

Thank you DeShaun. Definitely feeling it today, and making it from the line, too.

Ohio1St81's picture

Brandon Paul, 6-7 from 3. I would like to see the statistics of opponents' 3-point shooting against OSU, compared to other opponents, like the analysis of Shugarts' false starts. Am I imagining things, or do we defend it that poorly, or does it just seem like teams have great nights shooting against us, or is it just annoying luck that always seems to show up against us? 

TLB's picture

annoying luck I think.  It always seems to be a secondary player.

 

LadyBuck's picture

They have to avoid these stupid turnovers and fouls.

TLB's picture

Buford needs to sit.

Jason Priestas's picture

Sorry, my internet went out when I was writing up the open thread. It's online now if anyone is interested. If not, this story is more than suitable.

#firstworldproblems

Neilwoodgables's picture

This is the game that is finally showing me how flawed this team is.  Sweet 16 at best.

I Hate Michigan.

LadyBuck's picture

Every team has it's flaws. The biggest one is youth, and nothing but time and experience can fix that. A 3 point threat would be nice, sure. Stop being so pessimisic. We were dow by 8 and won last here at Champaign. 

Neilwoodgables's picture

Buford getting punked......again

I Hate Michigan.

Neilwoodgables's picture

Not pessimistic, just a realist.  

 

Buford is regressing on a game to game basis.

 

 

How many times can Paul get an open look from 3.....10 times tonight?

I Hate Michigan.