Ohio State Buckeyes
Big Ten (22-10, 10-8)
Big Wins: 12/13 Butler (54-51), 2/3 Purdue (80-72), 3/14 vs Michigan State (82-70)
Bad Losses: 1/3 at Minnesota (59-68), 2/14 at Wisconsin (50-55), 2/18 at Northwestern (69-72)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, National Championship loss to Florida
Coach: Thad Matta (12-6 in 6 NCAA appearances)
Jeremie Simmons, Junior, Guard, 6.8 ppg, 2.5 apg
Jon Diebler, Sophomore, Guard, 11.3 ppg, 2.5 apg
William Buford, Freshman, Guard, 11.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Evan Turner, Sophomore, Forward, 17.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.8 apg
Dallas Lauderdale, Sophomore, Forward, 4.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.0 bpg
P.J. Hill, Junior, Guard, 3.0 ppg, 1.8 apg
B.J. Mullens, Freshman, Center, 8.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
A majority of the Ohio State team this year is relatively inexperienced. However, they have done a great job playing like a smart, experienced team. Coach Thad Matta makes sure his team takes good shots and they have responded. The team shoots over 48 percent from the floor and that is extremely impressive for a team that is perimeter orientated. Much of that great shooting can be attributed to Evan Turner. Not only does he shoot over 50 percent from the floor, but he rarely forces the issue. That leads to better decision making by the entire team. Turner is the leader of the Buckeyes and averages 17.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and nearly two steals per contest.
While OSU will see a lot of their shots fall, the same cannot be said for their opposition. Big men Dallas Lauderdale and B.J. Mullens are both solid shot blockers who always make it difficult for the opposing team to get easy buckets.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Yet, Ohio State’s inconsistency can also be blamed on Lauderdale and Mullens. Lauderdale is not much of a scorer and Mullens, a 7-foot freshman, is coming along more slowly than most expected. Mullens has had some great games offensively, especially later in the 2008-2009 campaign, but if the Buckeyes do not get any production from their big guys, they can quickly turn into a predictable offense. Those two also need to hit the glass harder or the Buckeyes will get outrebounded by just about every quality opponent.
Who To Watch:
The key for Coach Matta will be getting consistent scoring from Mullens, but that is much more likely if a trio of guards is hitting their outside shots. Jon Diebler is a terrific outside shooter and has knocked down 2.9 per game. Point guard Jeremie Simmons has also developed into a decent outside shooter. However, it is freshman William Buford who is the most dynamic scorer on the team outside of Turner. Buford needs to become stronger and more aggressive before he will become a superstar, but he has all the tools to put a bunch of points up in a hurry. If Buford can play like an upperclassman in March instead of a freshman, the Buckeyes can make a nice little run.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.6 (189th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.4 (38, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.4 (13, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.5 (81, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (143, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.1 (63, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.6 (143, 7)
Rebound Margin: -0.4 (192, 7)
Assists Per Game: 13.4 (135, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.1 (114, 8)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Second Round loss to Louisville