Preview: Marquette vs. #4 Ohio State

By Kyle Rowland on November 9, 2012 at 1:00p
A WWII aircraft carrier as a basketball arena.
Ohio State Buckeyes #4 Ohio State 0-0, 0-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 7:00 PM ET - NBCSN —— USS Yorktown Mt. pleasant, S.C. Marshall Thundering Herd MARQUETTE 0-0, 0-0 Big east Roster | Schedule

Ohio State and Marquette start the 2012-13 college basketball season tonight with a unique experience. On a night when a poor shooter might actually throw the ball into the ocean, evaluating a team’s level of play will be nearly impossible.

That’s why Thad Matta and Jim Foster won’t spend too much time dissecting the game tape. The stress level won’t rise too much if shooting percentages are low. Diving for loose balls, however, might cause the players’ blood pressure to spike.

Two members of the men’s team are a little leery of the surrounding water. Deshuan Thomas and Amir Williams have each expressed a sense of anxiety.

“I’ve never played on water before,” Thomas said. “That’s kind of scary.

“Hopefully if Aaron sees me diving into the water, he'll try to catch me.”

Williams said he’s not a fan of large bodies of water, but he figures his nervousness will dissipate once the team has a shootaround on deck and the game gets underway. 

Something that could get in the way of high-arching shots destined for the hoop is the wind. Matta said he contemplated practicing some outdoors but couldn’t find a suitable place to do so. Growing up in Indiana, Thomas told stories of playing in the wind and rain and didn’t think the deck of an aircraft carrier would affect the trajectory of his shot too much.

“He’ll find a way to put the ball in the basket,” Craft said.

Michigan State and North Carolina struggled for portions of their game shooting. The Spartans never could get on track for an extended period of time, making just 30 percent of their shots from the field. The tempo of the game was also affected from being played in the elements.

No one knows if there will be a repeat performance – the weather forecast is calling for sunny skies during the day and a zero percent chance of rain. Temperatures are predicted to hover between 70 and 55 during the two games. Still, Foster isn’t betting on finding too much out about his team.

“The game is outdoors, the game is on a ship,” he said. “For us to evaluate ourselves after that game, it will be on effort and how hard we play. Depending on the condition, it might not be the kind of barometer you want it to be – for either team. I just hope we can get through it without being seasick.”

And if the wind does kick up, what do you do?

“For this generation it’s a little more difficult,” Foster said. “Players in the past played outdoors often. You obviously take it to the hole.”

4 A. Craft JR 6-2/195 8.8 3.2 4.6 G 5 J. Cadougan SR 6-1/205 6.3 2.1 5.4
32 L. Smith Jr. JR 6-4/210 6.8 4.6 2.0 G 13 V. Blue JR 6-4/200 8.4 4.5 2.6
10 L. Ross SO 6-8/220 2.0 0.4 0.1 F 22 T. Lockett SR 6-5/210 0.0 0.0 0.0
1 D. Thomas JR 6-7/215 15.9 5.4 0.9 F 0 J. Wilson JR 6-7/225 7.1 4.1 1.2
23 A. Williams SO 6-11/250 1.7 2.1 0.1 C 54 D. Gardner JR 6-8/290 9.5 5.3 0.7


The season hasn’t even started yet and already Marquette is a man down. Sophomore guard Todd Mayo was declared academically ineligible on Monday.

If the Mayo name sounds familiar, there is a reason. Todd is the younger brother of NBA player, OJ Mayo.

Last season, Mayo averaged eight points and almost three rebounds per game. But his production tailed off significantly as the season wore on. Mayo has been in the spotlight before for the wrong reasons.

Some have said he brings a toxic attitude to the locker room and Marquette head coach Buzz Williams sent Mayo home over the summer to reevaluate himself. Now his absence leaves the Golden Eagles with a dent in their depth.

Marquette, coming off consecutive Sweet 16 appearances, has high hopes for the 2012-13 season. Tom Crean brought the Golden Eagles back among the nation’s elite, but when he left, many thought they would fade under Williams.

But even in the mighty Big East, Marquette has continued to thrive. Sustaining that level of play this season will be a daunting task. Jae Crowder, the Big East player of the year, and Darius Johnson-Odom, an honorable mention All-American, are gone.

The points and rebounds the duo leaves behind are similar to that of Jared Sullinger and William Buford – 35.8 points and 12 rebounds per game.

A whole host of players will try to shore up the missing links. Davante Gardner, Jamil Wilson and Chris Otule are the threats in the paint, while Junior Cadougan and Vander Blue provide steady guard play.

Several highly touted newcomers could boost Marquette this season. He’s a senior, but Trent Lockett has never suited up in blue and gold. His past three seasons have been spent wearing maroon and gold in the desert. The Arizona State transfer brings a double-digit points per game average and nearly six rebounds. He gives Marquette instant credibility at the guard position and a reliable three-point threat.

Another newcomer, freshman Steve Taylor, could provide a spark for the Golden Eagles. A McDonald’s All-American, Taylor went to perennial national power Simeon High School in Chicago, where he won three state titles and averaged 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocks as a senior.

Virginia native Jamal Ferguson’s stats were even more impressive than Taylor’s. Ferguson tallied 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game.

Tonight, Marquette is just hoping history repeats itself. The Golden Eagles are 80-15 all-time in season openers and have won 12 of the past 13.

Buckeye Breakdown:

The topics have all been discussed. The absences of Sullinger and Buford, who will take over their points, how long will it take the offense to take shape and on and on. 

Who starts...Ross or Thompson?

After the Buckeyes’ exhibition game versus Walsh, questions of who would be in the starting lineup seemed to dissipate. But it is no done deal that it will be LaQuinton Ross over Sam Thompson. After all, Thompson is currently the more well-rounded player with significant game experience.

Two days ago, Matta was still unsure about which direction he was leaning, at least that’s what he told the media. According to Matta, he believes Ohio State could use several different starting lineups this season. With so many new pieces, it could take time to develop that cohesiveness Matta is looking for and the appropriate substitution patterns.

“That’s irrelevant to me,” Matta said of who is starting. “I know the lights and the smoke and the videos and all that stuff is probably more important to them than it is to me. But I want to make sure we put a team out there that has a chance to get off to as good a start as we possibly can.”

Ross and Thompson both had their moments against Walsh, but Thompson’s athleticism and eagerness stands out when he is on the court. Ross had 13 points and five rebounds compared to Thompson’s 11 points, four rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and two steals.

But it’s those numbers that could also lead Thompson to coming off the bench. Having an effective sixth or seventh man can be a huge boost. It was seen with Daequan Cook and Aaron Craft during their freshman season.

“You also have to look and say, ‘Who gives us the best chance to start the game well,’" Matta said. “I’ve always told our guys, I may not start the five best players, but I’m going to start the five guys that play the best together. That’s usually the way we finish a game, as well.”

That tends to play in Thompson’s favor because he is the far superior defensive player. In fact, while Ross was wasting away on the bench last season, the primary reason Thompson was getting minutes was due to his defense.

During the offseason, Thompson worked hard at developing his offensive skillset. Ross worked on his defense, an area he is rumored to be much improved.

The group of Buckeyes that walk out on the court after the under four-minute timeout in the second half tonight will say a lot.


  • Thad Matta has never lost a season opener during his tenure at Ohio State.
  • The Buckeyes are 5-4 all-time vs. Marquette, though the Golden Eagles have won three of the past four.
  • Ohio State and Marquette last played in November 1994 at St. John Arena. Marquette won, 82-70.
  • Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas were named to the John Wooden Award watch list.

Comments Show All Comments

Alex's picture

fwiw I think Thompson will start tonight over Q Ross, but Matta may tinker with those two to start the year 

DJRoss926's picture

Totally agree, Q will get plenty of quality minutes though.

Squirrel Master's picture

I kind of hope not Alex! I think Thompson will be much better coming off the bench than Q. Ross to me just seems like a guy who needs to get started early or you will never get anything out of him. Thompson should make a great 6th man subbing for either Ross or Smith. It will surely depend more on whether Ross starts well or not.
I am with you that I am less concerned about Thompson than Ross. Thompson has some really exciting skills and now that he will be more aggressive on offense, yeah baby!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Alex's picture

I actually agree...I think you bring Sam in at the under 16 time out as energy off the bench....just going off what a source close to the team believes (Thompson starts)

Squirrel Master's picture

I trust you. Wouldn't doubt it if it happens. I just hope it doesn't go to the detriment of Ross. Am I accurate in thinking his mindframe would be troubled with not starting?

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Squirrel Master's picture

Elements = advantage buckeyes!
for a team that supposedly doesn't have much in outside shooting, this setup fits perfectly for them with the inside game. Thomas and Amir should (hopefully) take advantage of this game and produce a nice inside tandem.
Marquette is a team of fighters but I just think losing Crowder and Odom will just be too much.
Buckeyes in a low scoring game, 54-47.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

tennbuckeye19's picture

They also will be w/o OJ Mayo's little bro, who is academically ineligible. He averaged 8 a game last year. 

tennbuckeye19's picture

Kyle tweeted earlier that from being on the carrier yesterday, a ball could definitely go overboard in the game. Anyone think Craft will dive for it and try to save it? 

Squirrel Master's picture

I'm a bit stunned the court is so close to the edge. Could easily volley ball spike over that wall tonight!
edit: I could be wrong though. Second look, that might not be the main deck and it could be below them. ACC are so huge, I would be surprised if there is any chance the ball or players could go over the edge. Maybe an Amir block off the ACC side and we will hear a loud bong off the metal! Now that I would love.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

LouGroza's picture

Just can't imagine playing on the deck of a frickin aircraft carrier. That would have to be crawling around in the back of your mind the entire game. Especially if a ball just happened to go into the water.

tennbuckeye19's picture

I agree. But I think after you practice on the court and get used to shooting on the hoops and all, that kinda goes away. I remember last year the MSU and UNC players saying once the ball tipped, the whole craziness of playing basketball on a boat went away and it was just like playing in a gym, only outside. 

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I like the Bucks tonight 64-55. 

Class of 2010.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Looking forward to it.  Don't you guys forget about Ravenel either.  Outdoor game screams for a big ugly like him.

Read my entire screen name....

bassplayer7770's picture

I wish I could watch this game, but I don't get NBCSN.  :-(

gwalther's picture

There are these places...called "Buffalo Wild Wings..." that would probably allow you to watch the game.

Also try calling a friend.

Class of 2008

bassplayer7770's picture

There's also this place called my house, and there are these things called three kids, and I have to watch them tonight while Mommy works.  *shrug*

gwalther's picture

1. Sounds like a good problem.
2. Sounds like an opportunity for a family outing.

Class of 2008

OldColumbusTown's picture

I like the way you think!

bassplayer7770's picture

I'm not about to take three kids, including a 1-year-old, to a sportsbar to watch the game.  As for friends, most of my close friends are a bit too far away.
Really, I just hoped this was a big enough game to be played on a more readily available channel.  Oh well.

buck-I.8's picture

bassplayer7770's picture

I may give that a try.  Thanks!

tennbuckeye19's picture

FYI: Just checked and OSU/Marquette is indeed on the lineup for tonight on firstrow.

UrbzRenewal's picture

I would use Chrome with Adblock, block the pesky ads on there!

tennbuckeye19's picture

yeah. those things are annoying (and often dirty). 

Matt's picture


DJRoss926's picture

NBC Sports Network

OSUBias's picture

NBC's rebranding of the epic failure that was Versus, I believe. And a last gasp to become slightly revelant outside of the Olympics, golf, and ND sports. I support the effort; anything that has a chance of forcing some competition into the ESPN world gets my support.

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

tennbuckeye19's picture

Don't forget Professional Bull Riding. They show that on what was Versus and is NBC Sports Network and some crappy football games too. 

OSUBias's picture

It's a mystery why that channel wasn't more popular, isn't it?

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

NoVA Buckeye's picture

They also had hockey on their network.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

all i used that channel for was Capitals hockey.....god....i miss hockey

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

Sarah's picture

Yup, so if you got Versus last year, you probably get NBCSN.

gwalther's picture

Lol @Matt's comment. Guess their exposure isn't so great.

Class of 2008

Alhan's picture

Jim Foster mentioned concerns about sickness. I can't imagine that will be a problem on a ship that size at Port.

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

David Sokol's picture

68-57 Buckeyes

Best time of the year = crucial college football, college basketball season starting, NBA starting, NFL heating up..

Squirrel Master's picture

and lots of recruiting possibilities!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

scrotieMcboogerballs's picture

Being a football school, I give OSU the advantage if the rain and winds come. 
As far as playing on a boat, it is more than a little funny to imagine D Thomas and Co. scared of the water (think airplane scene in Major League)

"Who do you think you are?!?!...I am!!"  -Pete Weber, bowling legend and dominator of the English language

yrro's picture

I kind of wonder if any of them can't swim.

OldColumbusTown's picture

The team that can get to the rim more often and convert will win this game.  With Craft defending on the perimeter, and Williams in the paint to erase defensive mistakes, I like that team to be Ohio State. 
I think Aaron Craft shows off some of his new offensive aggression tonight, and leads the Buckeyes to a 63-52 win.

oregonianbuckeye's picture

I think that Matta likes to come with Thompson and Scott off the bench, and plans on pressing with that unit. Craft, Scott and Thompson make a wicked backcourt press. FWIW, Q has practiced with Craft, Smith, Thomas and Trey for the past two weeks. By the way, Trey McDonald is pretty good. I don't imagine him getting a ton of playing time, but next year he will provide good minutes. 

Alex's picture

Bucks go into the 70s in my opinion...73-66


Hard to believe it's hoops season already. Bucks need to play better than they apparently did against Walsh. If they do they should win going away. Wont be a horrible blowout. Could be if Thomas catches fire. Good luck this season Buckeyes!

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Wind + 50 degree temps favor D. Thomas. 
Tank has a string that connects from the palm of his hand to the back of the rim. If he misses the first shot, he'll simply reel the ball back into his hands, and then go up with it again. Hell, if necessary, Thomas will just keep putting the ball back up 3, 4, 5 times in a row - whatever it takes to get that b---- to go back in its home like it's supposed to.
D. Thomas scoring line tonight: 11-27 (but 8 offensive rebounds), 12 FTs = 36 pts.
All the other players on the court will be seasick watching Thomas bob up-and-down all night like buoy.     

RBuck's picture

Totally agree. Thomas proved last year that he's one helluva offensive rebounder/ put-back artist.

Long live the southend.

VHX7's picture

Can't wait to see Ohio State's new offense. Even though I've been all down on the team at least early in the season, I think Marquette is in a tough situation without Johnson-Odom and Crowder, and now Mayo too.
I'm going to go Ohio State 74-62. Hoping for at least one ridiculous Sam Thompson dunk per game this season.

Ashtabula's picture

Matta will find a way to get his best five on the floor and if DT can guard the 3-spot, then he has plenty of flexibility to play big (Williams, Ravenal, Thomas) or small (Craft, Scott, Smith).  So, both Thompson and Ross better play well or their minutes will be reduced as the season progresses. 

Right Again's picture

I think D Thomas makes a statement and throws in 30+ tonight.  

tennbuckeye19's picture

I could see him putting up 30...shots.
You could play a drinking game and take a shot every time Thomas takes a shot. He's slowed down his shots per-minute rate, but you'd probably still be gone well before the half.

BuckeyeBoyer85's picture

I think Craft, Smith Jr., Thomas, Thompson and Williams start. I see Scott first off the bench, then Ravenel and Ross. I see the hype in Ross, he is an offensive threat we need, but Matta values knowing the system and playing effective defense. These are values I think Ross needs work on.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

ziplock007's picture

CBB... eh.
Why does anyone care about opening day.  You just have to be 'good enough' and you're in the playoffs.  In football Michigan or USC would be off the radar for the NCG.  In the CBB world, they'd get in 'the dance'
Wake me up when the conference tournament starts.  This will be my last basketball comment until then.

dhodge7's picture

Super bummed I won't be able to go this given that I just moved from Mt. Pleasant SC back to Columbus.  This game was in my backyard.  However, given the ticket prices...I'm somewhat glad because I am not sure I would be able to fork over $600 or so a ticket.  Anyways, ready for the Buckeyes to rock Chucktown!  I know there is a ton of alumni there.

sirclovis's picture

I love this time of the year when college football and basketball intersect. Lets go BBall Bucks!

johnblairgobucks's picture

yes sir..... Let's Go Bucks!

VHX7's picture

ESPN, don't tell me the MSU game tips off at 5:30 when it really tips off at 6:15. I don't want to watch 45 minutes of warmups and commercials. They did the same thing with last year's game too.