Hoops Squad Set to Begin 2008-09 Season
Lost in Michigan Week is the fact Thad Matta's troops begin the regular season tonight at 6:30pm against Delaware State. The game takes place in a real basketball venue, St. John Arena, and can be seen on the Big Ten Network.
There are still plenty of tickets available to see Matta move to 5-0 in season openers at OSU and 8-0 overall. Even more noteworthy, this will be the first chance for many to get a look at stud freshmen Anthony Crater, BJ Mullens, William Buford and Walter Offut. Additionally, juco transfer Jeremie Simmons will give you a first look at his ability to score and run the point.
This will also mark the debut of the new and improved Evan Turner, as he looks to parlay a solid freshman season into first team all-conference honors. We'll also get a chance to see if David Lighty has truly evolved into the leader being propped up in the press during this off-season.
Our guy Bob Baptist put up a nice season preview capsule that's worth a look.
Lauderdale Set to Return from Injury
Returning big Dallas Lauderdale will also be on display tonight. OSU announced he's been cleared to play after suffering an injury to his left shoulder during the scrimmage at Miami on November 2nd.
We've beaten this horse to death but Lauderdale could in fact be the key to Ohio State returning to the big dance. Based on the notion Matta will likely employ plenty of match-up zone this year, I am excited to see Lauderdale share minutes with Mullens providing much needed rebounding and physicality and the back end of the zone defense.
If those two can log heavy minutes together, OSU's transition game will truly flourish with Crater/Simmons pushing the ball and Turner, Lighty and Buford filling the wings.
Earle's Hatred Only Grows Over Time
Turning our attention back to the pigskin, Coach Bruce addressed the team Monday and AJ Trapasso provided the skinny on what the fedora'd one and had to say. I may have not been Earle's biggest fan due to his constant 9-3 seasons but his passion for The Game is undeniable.
"Coach Bruce genuinely dislikes Michigan. I mean full-blown hatred. If he could, he would take it (Michigan) off the map I think. You can tell that if he could do it again he'd strap it up right now and get back out there. I love hearing him talk. He starts slamming on the desk."
Seniors Look to Tie All-Time Wins Mark
The 28 seniors on the OSU roster boast a career record of 42-7 making them one win short of the all-time wins record for a senior class. The current record holders are the seniors from '95-'98 and the group from '02-'05.
Wells Primed to Pad Stats Against Wolverines
One non-senior who figures to be playing in his last Michigan game is Beanie Wells. The junior from Akron boasts some gaudy stats against the maize and blue averaging 6.3 yards per carry (44/278) with a pair of touchdowns.
If he and Pryor establish the run game as expected, it's gonna be a long day for Rich Rod and company.
Beanie's main partner in crime, Terrelle Pryor, has factored in 16 of OSU's 30 offensive touchdowns this season. Rich Rod must lose sleep nightly thinking what could've been. Of course, rolling over to see Rita up close would be enough to keep most men awake (and traumatized) at night as it is.
Experts Offer Draft Opinions on Buckeyes
Doug Lesmerises of the Plain Dealer has spent the week accumulating scouts opinions of various buckeyes including Beanie, Robo, Boone, Jenkins, Boeckman, Laurinaitis and Freeman.
If you haven't yet peeped these out, they're definitely worth a look.