Basketball Archives – 2006

Class of 2010 Adds to Their Numbers
October 22, 2007 10:30 pm EST

Two high school sophomores who visited Saturday have committed to sign with the Buckeyes in two years, according to the father of one of them.  Trae Golden, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Powder Springs, Ga., called Matta and committed last night, said his father, Robert, an OSU graduate.

Cameron Wright, a 6-5 guard from Cleveland Benedictine, committed before he returned home Saturday.  Golden’s commitment gives Ohio State three of the top 10 recruits in the class of 2010, according to recruiting Web site Rivals.com. The other two are forwards Jared Sullinger of Northland and DeShaun Thomas of Fort Wayne, IN.

 

Basketball Team Schedules Open Scrimmage
October 17, 2007 8:00 pm EST

The first chance for basketball fans to see the 2007-08 Ohio State men’s basketball team on the court is at noon Saturday.  The Buckeyes will have a one-hour intrasquad scrimmage in Value City Arena. Admission is free, but parking near the arena will be by permit only because of the football game against Michigan State at 3:30 pm. This will be the team’s only public appearance before its exhibition opener Oct. 31 against Ashland.

 

Judge Rules OSU Must Pay O’Brien Nearly $2.5 million
September 20, 2007 1:30 pm EST

An appeals court ruled today that the lower court was correct in deciding that Ohio State University owes nearly $2.5 million to former men’s head basketball coach Jim O’Brien.  Ohio State University and O’Brien both had appealed the ruling by the Ohio Court of Claims last year. Judge Joseph T. Clark ruled in August that although O’Brien acted improperly, he was fired without cause in a breach-of-contract lawsuit.

The Court of Claims said it was not a material breach of O’Brien’s contract when he gave $6,000 to the mother of Alexander Radojevic, a 7-foot-3-inch Serbian basketball recruit in 1998, and for concealing the payment for five years.  The Franklin County Court of Appeals agreed yesterday with that decision. But the appeals court dismissed O’Brien’s appeal, in which he said the lower court improperly calculated the damages. He said he is owed more money, but the appeals court disagreed.

After the Court of Claims ruling, the NCAA ruled that the loan was an ethical violation and banned O’Brien from coaching until at least 2009.

 

Oden Likely to Miss entire 2007-08 Season in Portland
September 13, 2007 2:15 pm EST

According to reports from the AP and ESPN Trail Blazers rookie center Greg Oden, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, will likely miss the 2007-2008 season after undergoing knee surgery Thursday.  Doctors found cartilage damage during an exploratory procedure, and team physician Dr. Don Roberts performed microfracture surgery to repair the damage.  If Oden does not play this season, he would become only the second player in the common draft (1966-present) to be selected No. 1 overall and not play in the year of his selection. David Robinson was drafted by San Antonio in 1987 but instead honored his Naval commitment.

“There are things about this that are positive for Greg,” Roberts said in a statement posted on the Trail Blazers’ Web site. “First of all, he is young. The area where the damage was is small and the rest of his knee looked normal. All those are good signs for a complete recovery from microfracture surgery.”

The 7-foot center is expected to be on crutches for up to eight weeks. It likely will take 6 to 12 months for full recovery, the team said.  Oden described the knee pain in an entry Tuesday on his personal blog:

“On my vacation earlier this summer I got up off the couch and remember my knee having a sharp pain in it. That was about a month ago. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to seem like I was complaining or making excuses for anything. Plus I wasn’t doing anything at the time I realized it hurt, so I figured it couldn’t be anything big.

“After a couple of weeks, I had to finally tell someone so I went to St. Vincent’s Sports Performance (where I worked out at before draft) and got my knee looked at. That was right before I moved to Portland for good. My knee was swollen since I was there. I finally just said that I need to tell my trainer because this is not normal. We went to the doctor’s the next day to get a MRI and that night me and my mom ended up in the doctor’s office being told that I have to get surgery. It’s a light one, just a scoop, but still it’s just another setback. I would like for me to be playing and not seem like I’m a high-maintenance player, but things just keep popping up.”

Oden, despite being hampered by a wrist injury during his freshman (and only) season at Ohio State, averaged 15.7 points and 9.6 rebounds in leading the Buckeyes to the national championship game. He had 25 points and 12 rebounds in the loss to Florida.

The Trail Blazers were the surprise winners of the NBA draft lottery and chose Oden over Texas forward Kevin Durant, who went to Seattle. Portland opens training camp on Oct. 2 and its regular-season opener is at San Antonio on Oct. 30.

 

More of the Basketball Schedule is Set – Get Used to the Big Ten Network
September 11, 2007 4:00 pm EST

About a month ago, we reported the initial schedule released by the university.  Now more dates, times and tv news has been confirmed.  The Big Ten Network will show as many as 15 of the Ohio State men’s basketball team’s regular-season games, according to the schedule the conference released yesterday.  Overall, as many as five different networks will be used, including ESPN, ESPN2, CBS and ESPNU, which is available only in digital-service packages from local cable providers.

The December 1st game at Butler will be on ESPNU. The Dec. 18 game at Cleveland State also is likely to be aired nationally on ESPNU but shown in Ohio on SportsTime Ohio, a Cleveland State spokesman said yesterday. The only Ohio State games currently scheduled on “free TV” are Dec. 22 against Florida, Jan. 19 at Tennessee, Feb. 10 against Indiana and Feb. 17 against Michigan — all on CBS.  CBS, which airs locally on Channel 10, will decide in February whether to carry games against Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan State.

 

OSU men’s basketball 2007-08 schedule
As of Tuesday,  September 11, 2007

Date   Opponent   Time   TV
10/31   Ashland{+1}    7 p.m.    None
11/6     Findlay{+1}    7 p.m.    None
11/12   Wisconsin-Green Bay    9 p.m.    ESPN2
11/13   Columbia/Delaware St.    9 p.m.    ESPN
11/21    at NIT (New York)    7 or 9 p.m.    ESPN2
11/23    at NIT (New York)    4:30 or 7 p.m.    ESPN2
11/25    Virginia Military{+2}    8 p.m.    Big Ten
11/28    North Carolina    9 p.m.    ESPN
12/1     at Butler    7:30 p.m.    ESPNU
12/10   Coppin State    8 p.m.    Big Ten
12/15   Presbyterian    Noon    Big Ten
12/18   at Cleveland State    7 p.m.    TBA{+3}
12/22   Florida    4 p.m.    CBS
12/29   Md.-Baltimore County    11 a.m.    Big Ten
1/3      at Illinois    8 p.m.    ESPN
1/6      Northwestern    Noon    Big Ten
1/9      Iowa    7 p.m.    Big Ten
1/12    at Purdue    4 p.m.    Big Ten
1/15    at Michigan State    7 p.m.    ESPN
1/19    at Tennessee 3:30    p.m.    CBS
1/22    Illinois   9 p.m.    Big Ten
1/26    Minnesota    8 p.m.    Big Ten
1/29    at Penn State    7 p.m.    ESPN
2/2     at Iowa    6 p.m.    Big Ten
2/5     Michigan    7 p.m.    ESPN
2/10    Indiana    1 p.m.    CBS
2/13    at Northwestern    9 p.m.    Big Ten
2/17    at Michigan    1 p.m.    CBS
2/23 or 24    Wisconsin    2 or 4 p.m.    TBA{+4}
2/26   at Indiana    7 p.m.    ESPN
3/1 or 2   at Minnesota    TBA    TBA{+4}
3/4, 5 or 6   Purdue    TBA    TBA{+5}
3/9    Michigan State    TBA     TBA{+4}
3/13-16   At Big Ten Tournament

1-exhibition; 2-St. John Arena; 3-ESPNU nationally, likely SportsTime Ohio in Ohio; 4-Big Ten, ESPN or CBS; 5-Big Ten, ESPN or ESPN2

 

OSU Recruit Koufos turns down Greek Money
September 6, 2007 10:00 pm EST

As reported by Bob Baptist of ‘The Columbus Dispatch’ Kosta Koufos, OSU recruit is turning down an offer to play professionally in Greece this season. The Greeks’ interest in him has been rumored since spring.  In June Koufos was denying these stories.

Then he went overseas to compete and performed well in the European under-18 championships last month in Madrid. He averaged 26.5 points, 13 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots in leading Greece to a second-place finish. The rumor resurfaced, this time with an offer attached: $5 million for three years.

Koufos returned from Europe on Aug.19. At that time, he was not denying the story. Considering that he talked as if he fully intended to play at Ohio State this season, it seemed that the rumors might be just that.  Meanwhile, several Internet message boards in recent days have had posts saying Koufos was considering the offer. When contacted again, Koufos said, “It’s not an issue.”

A message seeking comment was left for coach Thad Matta, but a team spokesman said Matta was on vacation.

For the sake of comparison, how does a $5 million, three-year offer stack up against what Koufos might receive from an NBA team next year? Pretty well.  The 12th pick in the draft this year is scheduled to earn $4.92 million his first three years, according to the rookie wage scale. But only the first two years (and $3.1 million) are guaranteed; the third and fourth are at the team’s option.

 

Matta Undergoes Back Surgery…Again
August 4, 2007 8:00 am EST

Coach Matta underwent surgery on his back this week.  This is the second such operation in the past seven weeks.  After the first surgery back on June 16th, Matta was left with no feeling in his right foot.  He should be able to rest it though as this is the quiet period for basketball recruiting.

 

OSU to Play in Pre-season NIT
August 1, 2007 10:30 pm EST

Ohio State will open its 2007-08 men’s basketball season November 12th at home against Wisconsin-Green Bay in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off according to tournament officials.  Should they win, they will face the winner of the Columbia/Delaware State contest.  From there, the winner is in the tournament semifinals November 21st, in Madison Square Garden in New York. The championship game is November 23rd.

Ohio State has not released its complete schedule, but at least seven nonconference opponents are known. Besides the two NIT games, the Buckeyes will play host to North Carolina on November 28th and Florida on December 22nd and play at Butler on December 1st, at Cleveland State on December 18th and at Tennessee on January 19th.  The schedule will include 18 Big Ten games, two more than in recent years. As a result, the conference season could start the last week in December rather than the traditional first week in January.

 

Matta finds a Point Guard for the 2007-08 Season
July 21, 2007 2:00 pm EST

The Ohio State men’s basketball team bolstered its point guard position when it received a commitment last night from P.J. Hill, who helped Midland (Texas) Community College win the National Junior College Athletic Association championship last season.  At 6′ 2″, 165 pounds, Hill played one season at Midland and has three years of eligibility remaining.

According to the story by Bob Baptist of The Columbus Dispatch, Hill said coach Thad Matta called last night to offer him a scholarship and he accepted. He said he plans to enroll Monday for the start of the second summer session.

Hill should provide backup for senior Jamar Butler, the only experienced point guard on the roster after Mike Conley Jr. left early for the NBA.  Originally from Minneapolis, to a junior college after no Division I school offered him a scholarship out of high school. Ohio State assistant John Groce watched him last weekend at a camp for junior-college players in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hill said he also received offers from Butler and Eastern Washington after playing at the camp.

 

OSU Recruit Mullens Selected for Elite Team
July 20, 2007 8:00 am EST

Ohio State men’s basketball basketball recruit B.J. Mullens, an incoming senior at Canal Winchester, has been selected to play in the second Elite 24 Hoops Classic on August. 24 at Rucker Park in Harlem, N.Y. The event features the top 24-ranked high school players in the country. Mullens is ranked No. 8.

 

Oden Out for Rest of Summer Session
July 11, 2007 10:00 am EST

Top draft pick Greg Oden needs to have his tonsils removed and is expected to miss the rest of the Portland Trail Blazers’ summer league games.  After he tapes the ESPY awards in Los Angeles, he will undergo a tonsillectomy Saturday, in the Vancouver Clinic in nearby Vancouver, Wash., the team said.  Recovery time is expected to be two to three weeks.

“Greg felt that this was the right decision to make in the interests of his health, and we support that decision 100 percent,” Trail Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard said. “The sooner he gets the procedure done, the sooner he can get back on the court at full strength.”

In his summer league debut, Oden scored six points and had two rebounds before leaving with 10 fouls, the maximum allowed in the summer league. The Blazers lost 74-66 to the Boston Celtics.  In his second game against Dallas, a fatigued Oden finished with 13 points, five rebounds and nine fouls. The Mavericks won 72-68.

Oden will miss a matchup Sunday with Seattle that would have pitted him against No. 2 pick Kevin Durant.

 

Oden Signs Contract
July 3, 2007 9:15 pm EST

The Portland Trail Blazers wasted no time is signing  their No. 1 pick Greg Oden.  According the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, Oden’s deal will be for two years, with team options for the third and fourth seasons. Oden will make $3.885 million as a rookie and $4.176 million in the second year. If the Trail Blazers pick up the option in the third year, his salary will be $4.476 million.

 

Oden Leads the Buckeye 1st Round Parade in the 2007 NBA Draft
June 28, 2007 8:00 pm EST

In football, the Buckeyes typically have underclassman that leave early and get selected high in the NFL draft.  This year, the basketball team is making a name for itself as three players are selected in the first 21 picks in the NBA Draft.  Greg Oden became OSU first ever #1 overall selection.  Shortly after that, Mike Conley Jr went #4 to Memphis.  And the third freshman from the NCAA runner-up squad is now a professional as Daequan Cook was the 21st pick, taken by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Just prior to the end of the first round, the rights for Daequan Cook were traded to Miami Heat for Miami’s first round pick Jason Smith of Colorado State.

 

Lighty Pleads Guilty – Fined $250
June 19, 2007 9:00 pm EST

OSU cager David Lighty pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was fined $250 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court today for shooting a Cleveland man in the back with a plastic pellet gun last year.  Two co-defendants, Darryl Rushton and Jimmy McLeod, former teammates of Lighty’s at Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in connection with the incident and were fined $100 apiece, a spokesperson for the county prosecutor said, according to the report today from The Columbus Dispatch.

The three, all 19, were arrested June 7, 2006, after James Nugent, 56, of Cleveland, told police he was jogging around the high school’s track “when he felt an object strike him in his back. He then heard the three males laughing and say, ‘We hit him,'” according to a police report. Nugent told The Dispatch in a subsequent interview that the three were sitting on bleachers and “had this little toy gun (that) shoots these little plastic pellets. When I jogged by, one of them shot me in the back. I heard a pop and then felt a little sting in my back.”  Nugent said he called police on his cell phone because he was wary of confronting the three and because a 13-year-old Cleveland boy died in 2001 after being shot in the back with a BB fired by an air rifle.

Lighty, a member of Ohio State coach Thad Matta’s acclaimed “Thad Five” recruiting class in 2006, helped the Buckeyes reach the NCAA championship game as a freshman. He played in all 39 games and averaged 3.7 points per game. – Gregg

 

2008 Class Recruit backs out of Commitment
June 12, 2007 6:45 am EST

For the second time in less than a week, a recruit who had committed to sign with the Ohio State men’s basketball program backed out of that commitment. Luke Babbitt, a 6-foot-8 forward from Reno, Nev., who committed in February and was expected to sign in November, called Matta and said he had changed his mind and will stay home and play for Nevada in 2008.  Last week, 6-7 forward DeShaun Thomas of Fort Wayne, IN., regarded by some talent evaluators as the top prospect nationally in the class of 2010, backed off a commitment he had made to Matta while visiting campus May 30.

Babbitt, who was born in Cincinnati and moved to Nevada in the fifth grade, was considered a good fit at power forward in Matta’s offense, capable of scoring from outside and rebounding inside. He averaged 28 points and nearly 11 rebounds as a junior in leading his team to a state championship.  – Gregg

 

Koufos To Try Out for Olympic Team
June 8, 2007 9:30 pm EST

Kosta Koufos will try to fit in with not one team but two this summer.  He has aspirations of making a team which will be competing in the summer Olympics next year.  Koufos, the 7-foot-2, 260-pound centerpiece of Ohio State’s 2007 basketball recruiting class, starts school June 18. He will begin playing in open gyms with his new teammates almost immediately.  A month later, though, Koufos will head overseas, to his mother’s homeland, to practice and play with the Greek national team. . – Gregg

 

Standout Recruit from 2010 backs out of his Commitment to Ohio State
June 7, 2007 5:45 pm EST

DeShaun Thomas of Fort Wayne, Indiana, ranked by some basketball recruiting evaluators as the nation’s top prospect in the class of 2010, has backed off a commitment to sign with Ohio State, Thomas’ high school coach told the MaxPreps.com Web site. Thomas, a 6-foot-7 forward, told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette last week that he had made an oral commitment to Ohio State after visiting the OSU campus earlier in the week.

But Thomas’ coach at Bishop Luers High School, James Blackmon, told MaxPreps.com that Thomas’ parents want him to visit other schools before making a decision. The schools include Indiana, Purdue, Duke and Michigan State.  Thomas averaged 28.9 points and 13.3 rebounds as a freshman last season.

Ohio State already has received one commitment for the 2010 class, from 6-7 forward Jared Sullinger of Northland. Sullinger, like Thomas, is listed among the top prospects in his class in most recruiting rankings.  Prospects in the class of 2010 can not sign a binding letter of intent with a school until November 2009.  – Gregg

 

Oden Signs Deal with Topps
May 30, 2007 6:00 am EST

Greg Oden has been drafted by a trading card company, and will be on the same team as Bill Russell.   A possible No. 1 draft pick, Oden signed a three-year contract yesterday worth at least $3 million to become a spokesman for Topps Co, according to an AP story. His first deal will feature him and Russell, the Boston Celtics Hall of Famer, on the 50th anniversary of the company’s first basketball set.

Topps also will help create Oden’s official Web site.

Still to be determined is what team Oden will be on when his card is issued in August. By winning the NBA lottery last week, the Portland Trail Blazers gained the right to pick Oden or former Texas standout Kevin Durant. Wherever he lands, Oden hopes longtime teammate Mike Conley Jr. will be with him. Oden and Conley won titles at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis before leading Ohio State to the national championship game. They were back home for the weekend for the Indianapolis 500 before heading to Orlando, Fla., for a predraft camp.   It would be difficult, however, to get the on the same team because Conley Jr. is perhaps the top point guard in the draft and figures to be off the board quickly.

Though Oden would be the top pick of many teams because franchise centers are rare, the Blazers, with Zach Randolph and LaMarcus Aldridge on the roster, could be one of the few in position to consider Durant.

 

Lighty Pleads Not Guilty
May 24, 2007 4:30 pm EST

David Lighty faces a June 20 pre-trial hearing in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court after pleading not guilty yesterday to a charge of misdemeanor assault.  He and two friends, Darryl Rushton and Jimmy McLeod, were arrested June 7 of last year and accused of shooting a jogger with a plastic pellet gun.  Lighty was indicted on the assault charge, and Rushton and McLeod on disorderly conduct charges. Rushton and McLeod also pleaded not guilty yesterday.  – Gregg

 

Oden Withdrawals from Spring Quarter Classes
May 22, 2007 7:45 pm EST

Greg Oden has withdrawn from classes at Ohio State, which could cost the Buckeyes a scholarship down the road.  We will not know for sure until the NCAA releases its next batch of Academic Progress Rate scores next year  I would not know for sure how this will shake out, but I would be surprised if it does not cost us that future scholarship.  Isn’t Oden’s situation the exact reason they have these rules in place to begin with. – Gregg

 

Assistant Coach Opening for the Basketball Team
May 19, 2007 12:15 pm EST

Coach Matta announced last night that assistant coach Dan Peters will move into a newly created job as associate director of basketball operations. Peters will assist operations director Dave Egelhoff, who will add the video coordinator duties vacated when Brandon Miller left after the season to take an assistant coaching job at Butler.

The restructuring creates an opening for a third assistant coach and recruiter. Candidates include Travis Steele, a staff volunteer at Ohio State in 2004-05, Matta’s first season as coach, and former Ohio State player Chris Jent, a volunteer in 2005-06 while completing his undergraduate degree.  Steele, half-brother of Ohio State assistant John Groce, currently is video coordinator at Indiana. Jent is an assistant coach and director of player development with the Cleveland Cavaliers. – Gregg

 

Oden Signs with Conley Sr
May 9, 2007 8:00 pm EST

It has been confirmed that yesterday, OSU Freshman sensation Greg Oden signed a representation agreement with agent Mike Conley Sr.  By signing, Oden forfeits his remaining three years of NCAA eligibility.  Conley has entered a partnership with BDA Sports Management, which will assist him in representing Oden, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the NBA draft in June.

Conley said he expects to schedule a news conference shortly for Oden, who since the Final Four has been unavailable to the media other than an interview with USA Today for a story published yesterday.

Among the questions Oden will be asked is whether he plans to complete spring-quarter classes at Ohio State. If he does not, it could adversely affect the basketball program’s Academic Progress Rate and result in the Buckeyes losing a scholarship for 2008-09.  Conley said Oden remains enrolled in school but did not say whether he will complete the quarter. – Gregg

 

3-Point Line Will Likely Move Back Next Season
May 4, 2007 8:30 pm EST

The NCAA men’s basketball rules committee approved a measure yesterday that would move the three-point line back 12 inches for the 2008-09 season — from the original and current distance of 19 feet, 9 inches to 20 feet, 9 inches. The change must still be approved by the playing rules oversight committee on May 25.

The possibility didn’t faze Ohio State recruit Jon Diebler, who set an Ohio high school scoring record with 3,208 points at Upper Sandusky High School, never bothered to measure a jump shot. He just hits them.

“I shoot a lot of deep shots anyway,” Diebler said. “I think a lot of it is mental. If you have confidence as a shooter, you’ll knock it down.”

Committee chairman Larry Keating told the Associated Press that two distances were considered — 20 feet, 6 inches, which would match the international three-point line, and 20 feet, 9 inches.  If passed later this month, the rule would affect all three men’s college divisions.

The women’s rules committee already voted to keep the distance at 19 feet, 9 inches. Bruce Howard of the National Federation of State High School Associations told the AP that he was unaware of any discussion of changing the distance at the high school level.

 

Loss of Freshmen May Also Cost OSU Scholarships
May 3, 2007 10:30 pm EST

Unless the Ohio State men’s basketball team improves its Academic Progress Rate score significantly, it could be subject to a loss of scholarships next year, based on data the NCAA released yesterday.  Athletic teams are penalized if they have an APR score lower than 925. That translates roughly to a 60 percent graduation rate.  The football team improved from 925 to 928.   According to the article by Ken Gordon of the Columbus Dispatch, last year, two teams took advantage of the “squad-size adjustment,” which allows a team with relatively few scholarship athletes to be less than 925 — men’s basketball (911) and rifle (900).   The men’s basketball team dropped to 902 but again was OK based on the squad-size adjustment.   However, the adjustment will be eliminated next year. And because that 902 score is a three-year average, it will be difficult for the basketball team to improve to 925 in one year.

Three players are expected to leave early for the NBA — Mike Conley Jr., Daequan Cook and Greg Oden. The NCAA does not penalize schools for players leaving early if they are academically eligible when they leave.  Mike Conley Sr., who could be the agent for all three, said Tuesday that Conley Jr. and Cook will be eligible. Athletic Director Gene Smith said he was unsure whether Oden will continue to take classes.  If Oden is ineligible after this quarter, it might be enough to trigger penalties next year. The NCAA can take away up to 10 percent of a team’s scholarships.   Coach Thad Matta told The Dispatch two weeks ago that he had encouraged the three players to stay in school.

The basketball team’s predicament is frustrating to faculty representative John Bruno, who said the team is coming off its best academic year ever and has graduated four of its past six seniors. Because of federal privacy laws, Bruno declined to speculate on what has to happen for the team to avoid penalty next year.

Nationally, 77 teams were hit with immediate penalties, down from 99 last year. Of those 72, all but five were men’s teams. They included 23 football teams, 20 baseball and 14 men’s basketball.    Several historically black colleges and schools in the Hurricane Katrina region were those receiving warning letters for low APR scores. It wasn’t immediately clear whether students who left school after the hurricane have affected team scores.

NCAA vice president Kevin Lennon said many teams from predominantly black colleges and the Hurricane Katrina area were granted waivers, which allows the school to avoid punishment for now. No Big Ten teams were penalized. Three Ohio teams were docked: Toledo football lost four scholarships, Cincinnati men’s basketball lost one, and Cleveland State baseball lost .84 of a scholarship.   Of the 23 football teams penalized, just one was a member of a Bowl Championship Series conference — Arizona (four scholarships).

The NCAA reported that football and baseball APR scores have improved in the three years of data collection. The average football rate in 2003-04 was 929.3, and now is 933.2. Baseball has improved from 931.6 to 938.6.   But men’s basketball nationally mirrors the struggle at Ohio State. Basketball started at 931.1 and has declined to 927.7.

 

Butler Will Stay in School
April 27, 2007 12:00 pm EST

Contrary to what was previously speculated, in an article from Bob Baptist of The Columbus Dispatch, Jamar Butler will not enter the NBA draft.  This according to his father.  Melton Butler said he spoke with his son yesterday, and Jamar told him that he had decided not to submit his name. The deadline to enter the draft is Sunday.

Butler is the only point guard expected to return to the OSU men’s basketball team after freshman Mike Conley Jr. announced that he would enter the draft. Conley has not signed with an agent, but is a projected lottery pick and not expected to withdraw his name before the June 18 deadline. The draft is June 28.  Ohio State coaches, not expecting Conley to leave after one year, did not sign a point guard in the 2007 recruiting class. Butler played mostly on the wing, alongside Conley, this past season but played point guard his first two seasons at Ohio State. He has a career assist-to-turnover ratio 2.5 to 1.

 

Butler is Now Considering Turning Pro
April 23, 2007 9:30 pm EST

Guard Jamar Butler, the only starter expected to return to the Ohio State men’s basketball team next season, is the latest Buckeye player  considering whether to join three teammates and enter the NBA draft before the entry deadline Sunday, a source confirmed tonight, according to a report from Bob Baptist of the Columbus Dispatch.

Butler’s father, Melton, did not confirm or deny the rumor when contacted today at home in Lima, Ohio. “I don’t even want to discuss that,” he said.

By entering the draft and not signing with an agent, Butler would reserve the option of returning to Ohio State for his senior season while making himself eligible for the NBA pre-draft evaluation camp May 29 through June 4 in Orlando, Fla.  If Butler is not invited to the camp, to which he would have to pay his own way, he could withdraw from the draft before the June 18 deadline. He is not projected to be taken in either of the two rounds June 28.

Butler is the only point guard returning to the Buckeyes, who were left in a bind for next season when Mike Conley Jr. declared for the draft last week along with fellow freshmen Greg Oden and Daequan Cook. Two other starters last season, Ron Lewis and Ivan Harris, were seniors.

Butler averaged 8.5 points per game, led the Buckeyes in three-point field goals made and ranked second in assists last season.

 

Diebler and Lauderdale shine in Allstar Game
April 23, 2007 8:20 am EST

Incoming freshmen Jon Diebler of Upper Sandusky and Dallas Lauderdale of Solon held court in the Ohio North-South All-Star Division I-II game yesterday at Capital University.

Diebler scored 31 points, including five three-point shots, and Lauderdale made 13 of 14 shots from the field en route to a 28-point, eight-rebound effort as the North overtook the South 127-122. Each played 24 minutes.

“Believe it or not, this was the first time I’ve ever gotten to play with Dallas,” said Diebler, who led the nation in scoring last season at 42.3 points per game. “We just had a couple days to practice together, but we drew up a few plays we used today that we hope we can perfect in the next few years. Most of them just involved me getting into the lane and dishing it to him. He played like a man down low today. He has a real upside that he showed today.”

In a game devoid of defense, Lauderdale drove to the basket relentlessly.

“I’ve heard people say that the Buckeyes aren’t going to be anything with Greg (Oden) having gone to the NBA, but they’re wrong,” Lauderdale said. “As much as I would have loved the opportunity to play with Greg, I applaud him on his decision. There are other players, myself and Jon included, who are eager and hungry to step in and play.”

 

Oden to Leave OSU for NBA Draft
April 19, 2007 8:52 pm EST

In the on again-off again saga, it is once again being reported that Greg Oden is leaving Ohio State for the NBA. Freshman teammates Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook could join him

As reported this evening by the Columbus Dispatch writer Bob Baptist, a source close to the three players said that they will issue a statement through Ohio State today declaring their intent to enter the NBA draft. Two sources said there will be no turning back for Oden, who will sign a representation agreement with an agent and is expected to be the No. 1 choice June 28.

“In his mind, he’s going pro,” the source said. “When he signs, that’s neither here nor there, but he’s going.”

Point guard Mike Conley Jr, whose stock rose after he helped lead Ohio State to its first NCAA championship game in 45 years, will not sign with an agent, reserving the option of withdrawing his name by June 18 and returning to Ohio State. He is expected to work out for NBA teams in early June before deciding.  (I wonder how much studying he will get done in Spring quarter)

Cook could decide to stay in the draft despite the fact he had the most disappointing season or the three, but he will not hear that constructive feedback from his closest circle.

Oden, the Wooden Award runner-up and Big Ten defensive player of the year in his first season at Ohio State, has been touted since he was in high school in Indianapolis as the game’s best big-man prospect in a generation. As the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, he would be guaranteed nearly $10 million for his first two seasons in the league and earn tens of millions in endorsements.

Conley has been projected as high as the 8th pick, Cook may or may not be drafted.

 

Daequan’s Mom Speaks Out, Doesn’t Like Matta
April 18, 2007 5:20 pm EST

I don’t want to make it sound like I am against Daequan Cook, I recognize he is just an 18 year old kid.  But I can not support kids that have the attitude he has concerning his approach to his future.  And now it is starting to become more clear as we hear from his mom.  It was reported today in the Dayton Daily News, that his mother,  Renae Cook doesn’t think her son can make a bad decision, even if that means entering the NBA draft and signing with an agent.  She does understand that there are risks and rewards of entering the draft or staying in school, especially since her son didn’t have a great second half of the season.  Renae was with her son Sunday when Mike Conley Sr., now an NBA agent, met with Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr. and Cook.

Usually in this situation, where players are debating about giving-up college eligibility in order to turn pro, they have positive things to say about the university and the coaching staff.  However, she has been quoting saying “I feel kind of confident if he went without one or went with one. Even if he stays in school, which is iffy for me because I’m not a real big Thad Matta fan right now.  I would back him on that, though. It’s not about me. The last decision is Daequan’s.”

So to repeat my comments from the 15th, I really hope he makes the decision to go because clearly in Daequan’s circle of friends (is he becoming ‘Maurice’ Cook?), he is being told he should leave school.  And if he doesn’t want to be here, as a fan, I don’t want him on the team.

Daequan Cook’s NBA draft options

Despite a diminished role down the stretch, some NBA scouts and executives consider Cook a draftable (top 60) player. His choices:

Stay in school: If Oden and Conley leave, Cook would be the team’s leading returning scorer, but he has no assurances of increased playing time due to another talented recruiting class. A big year would mean a higher stock, but a bad one may knock him out of the 2008 draft.

Declare for draft but don’t sign: Cook could work out for NBA teams and keep his eligibility, but would have to pay his own way, including going to the Orlando pre-draft camp. It’s hard to travel and keep up with schoolwork. Players can withdraw from the draft by June 18. The draft is June 28.

Declare and sign: The riskiest option, Cook could use an agent’s assistance to get to all the workouts and pre-draft camp, but there is no option to return to school. If he’s a first-rounder, he’d get guaranteed money. If he’s in the second round, he’d get a signing bonus and have to make a team. If he wasn’t drafted, he’d be a free agent and may end up in the developmental league or in Europe.

 

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give ….
April 15, 2007 1:00 pm EST

Will the OSU Men’s basketball team be freeing up a scholarship sometime this week?  Two scholarships?  Three?  You don’t know, and I don’t know.  As Margaret Mitchell’s classic tale ends the story’s protagonist asks the hero “if you go, where shall I go, what shall I do?”, We are playing out that same drama here in Columbus and quite frankly, I have grown weary of this little saga.

I found myself in Indianapolis this weekend to watch my kids compete in a track meet that was eventually canceled.  For a short period of time, it seemed as if we had scooped the state of Ohio, as the news spread of Indiana’s own basketball sensation, Greg Oden declaring himself eligible for the draft.  Not that anyone would be surprised with this news, but at least it was official.  Greg’s father was being quoted saying his son was ready for the NBA.  The Indianapolis Star even printed that the Wooden Award runner-up complained about the offensive game plan used by the Buckeyes, believing he should have been the focus and that the reliance on the three-point shot cost them the national championship.  I was a bit shocked by that portion of the article, yet the comments were also echoed by his first coach, Jimmy Smith, saying it was as if he was only being used for defense.

Of course I was even more surprised when we got home to see the Sunday Dispatch carrying the news story saying that Mike Conley Sr is still preaching that neither his son nor Oden have made a final decision yet.  Didn’t we just go through this merry-go-round last week?  Enough already!

For the record, I am one that believes they should stay in school.  It is not like they will need the degree once they are a success in the NBA, but they will never get the chance to be 19 year old kids again.  They are already insured so there is less of a risk to them financially if they are injured.  And I don’t believe they need to change the NBA rule which states you must play in college at least one year.  But I do think that each student needs to review his or her own situation to determine if they should stay in school.

So here is my opinion (for what it is worth) on our three ‘cases’.  Daequan Cook, if you are even thinking about going to the NBA, or even ‘testing the waters’ as Conley Sr states, please just go.  We have plenty of players coming up behind you that actually want to be a Buckeye.  And if you feel your performance this season merits a selection in the NBA draft, then you have only proven what I have thought this entire season, that you do not have a head for basketball.  You have great base skills but have plenty to learn.  If you were to stay here for another year or two, you might really develop into a great talent.  As for Mike Jr, you carried this team on your shoulders during the Big Ten tournament as well as the road to the Georgia Dome.  Your stock may never be higher than it is right now.  I would love to see you stay but could not fault you if you leave.  You should have a great NBA career and I will support whatever you decide.  As for the big man, he is only here this year because of the rule change in the NBA.  It would be great to see him play a full year healthy but he seems destined to leave.  He will struggle at first in the big league, but seems to have the ability to learn and grow still.  Enjoy playing for Memphis or Boston!

In reality, we should be spending our effort and headlines, on the success of this year’s team.  For the first time in my lifetime, the men’s basketball team made it to the final game.  I thought Hornyak and Witte might get them there, I thought Herbie and Ramsey might make it to the top, and I was certain that Jim Jackson would lead the way but none of them could even make it to the Final Four.  I was thrilled to see them play in the final game.  Why is it that we can not enjoy their victories, isn’t that why we are playing the game in the first place?

We should be celebrating the team’s 2006-07 successes, praising the accomplishments of players like Jamar Butler, not quoting Rhett Butler – Gregg

 

Oden, Conley and Cook to Meet with Coach Matta
April 14, 2007 9:30 pm EST

In spite of the stories circulating out of Indianapolis concerning the future of Oden, Conley and Cook, Coach Matta will be meeting with them this Monday.  These players will first be discussing their options with their parents tomorrow.  It is still being reported that Mike Conley Sr. will represent these athletes should they decide to declare themselves eligible for the draft.  They have until April 29th to make their announcement. – Gregg

 

Jim O’Brien’s NCAA Penalties May Be Reduced
April 14, 2007 8:30 am EST

Jim O’Brien may soon find himself able to return to college basketball coaching because of an oversight by the NCAA.  The former men’s basketball coach has learned that the NCAA will consider dropping its career-paralyzing penalties against him because it missed informing OSU of violations by two days. That error caused three of the violations O’Brien was accused of to be tossed out yesterday.

The NCAA on March 10, 2006, imposed a five-year “show cause” penalty against O’Brien related to a gift of $6,000 to the family of Yugoslavian recruit Aleksandar Radojevic in late 1998. The penalty means that were O’Brien to seek employment with another NCAA school before March 10, 2011, he and that school would have to appear before the NCAA to discuss what stipulations might be attached to hiring O’Brien. The NCAA could decide whether his duties, including recruiting, should be limited.  O’Brien appealed the penalty to the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee, which ruled yesterday that the NCAA enforcement staff missed by two days the end of the statute of limitations in the Radojevic case.

The NCAA first learned about the violation involving Radojevic on May 14, 2004, and had one year to inform Ohio State of the allegations. The enforcement staff waited until May 13, 2005, to send the notice, and the document did not arrive at OSU until May 16.  While the “show cause” penalty has been sent to the NCAA Committee on Infractions for reconsideration, there is no guarantee the committee will reverse its initial decision. If it doesn’t, O’Brien, 57, would remain damaged goods as a college coach.

The appeals committee’s ruling does not affect the findings against the university. Ohio State was placed on three years’ probation in March 2006, based on the Radojevic payment as well as the role that O’Brien and former assistant coach Paul Biancardi played in providing recruiting inducements and extra benefits to former OSU player Slobodan “Boban” Savovic, who played four seasons for the Buckeyes (1998-99 to 2001-02).

Biancardi, who left Ohio State in 2003 to become head coach at Wright State University, appealed his own “show cause” penalty to no avail. Biancardi stepped down at Wright State last year and is out of coaching.  The appeals committee did reverse four of the findings against Biancardi because they involved the Radojevic case.

In a written statement, Ohio State downplayed the appeals committee’s decision as a “technicality,” saying the university’s firing of O’Brien on June 8, 2004, remains the right decision.

“The appeals committee confirmed that Jim O’Brien’s $6,000 payment to a recruit was a violation of NCAA rules, and found that he improperly concealed that violation for five years. … He violated a fundamental recruiting rule in breach of his contract, and that violation has been affirmed by yet another governing body today.”

O’Brien’s attorney, Brian Murphy, said the appeals committee decision shows that the basis for Ohio State’s firing of O’Brien was in error, given that OSU knew the statute of limitations had run out.

“After that, the only allegations that remain are the Boban stuff, and (O’Brien) was only peripherally involved in that,” Murphy said. “It was a quintessential secondary violation” that should not have cost him his job.

Also, because it was a secondary violation, the Committee on Infractions likely will remove or at least reduce the five-year “show cause” label from O’Brien’s resume, Murphy said.

O’Brien said he looks forward to pursuing another college job, “to get back to what I had previously dedicated my career to — coaching and developing young men.”

Still unresolved is the civil lawsuit O’Brien filed against OSU for his firing. On Aug. 2, 2006, O’Brien was awarded $2.25 million in damages in the Ohio Court of Claims. The case has been appealed, and OSU has not paid him.

Murphy said the civil suit is why Ohio State did not stand with O’Brien against the NCAA when it knew that the Radojevic case was stale.

“Ohio State was actively attempting to see that itself and coach O’Brien would be punished to the maximum possible so to try to get an advantage in civil litigation,” Murphy said. “That was an ill-conceived strategy.”

 

Mike Conley Jr and Greg Oden going Pro?
March 28, 2007 1:05 pm EST

As the Buckeyes prepare for the Final Four and Georgetown, ESPN is reporting that ‘several sources’ have indicated both Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr will be leaving for the NBA at the end of this season.  Chad Ford covers the NBA draft and is reporting with 99% certainty they will leave, regardless of whether or not Ohio State wins the National Championship.  Many have speculated that Greg Oden would leave and be one of the top two picks in the draft.  But as recently as last week, Mike Conley Sr, Mike’s father reported that his son would return for next season.  Ford has project Conley to be a top 10 pick in the draft if he were to leave college this season. As Buckeye fans, we can only hope this story will not be a distraction for the team.  Mike Conley Sr. has again come out and says these stories from ESPN are untrue, I guess we will all know this time next week.  Stay tuned!  – Gregg
Oden Named a Finalist for the Wooden Award
March 28, 2007 12:30 pm EST

Greg Oden is one of five finalists who have been invited to attend the Wooden Award presentation April 7 in Los Angeles.  The award, named for former UCLA coach John Wooden, is given annually by the Los Angeles Athletic Club to the player of the year in college basketball.  Along with Oden, players invited to the ceremony are Kevin Durant of Texas, Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina, Acie Law of Texas A&M and Alando Tucker of Wisconsin.  This year marks the first time in the award’s 31 years that two freshmen, Oden and Durant, are among the five finalists. – Gregg

 

Oden named to the AP 1st Team All-American List
March 26, 2007 6:15 pm EST

In spite of missing the first nine games of the season and playing the rest of the year with a cast on his hand, Freshman Greg Oden was named to the 1st-Team All-American’s by the AP.  In addition, Freshman Kevin Durant of Texas was also honored.  Oden and Durant were joined on the team by seniors Alando Tucker of Wisconsin and Acie Law IV of Texas A &M and junior Arron Afflalo of UCLA. The voting was conducted before the NCAA Tournament.

The last Buckeye to be named to the 1st team was Jim Jackson in 1992.  Other 1st-Team All-Americans for Ohio State include: Dick Schnittker (1950), Robin Freeman (1955, 1956), Jerry Lucas (1960, 1961, 1962), and Gary Bradds (1963, 1964) – Gregg
Basketball Recruits named to AP All-State team
March 20, 2007 9:15 AM EST

7-foot-2 Kosta Koufos and 6-7 Jon Diebler were named yesterday to the 2007 AP Division I and II All-Ohio boys basketball teams.  – Gregg

 

Pre-game Notes : Penn State
February 14, 2007 8:00 am EST

OSU has now climbed to #2 in both major polls, passing two of the three teams that have defeated them this season.  The Buckeyes 8 game win streak in the Big Ten is their longest since 1991, their longest streak was in 1971 with 10 wins.  They have won 5 of their last 6 contests at the Bryce Jordan Center and Coach Matta is 2-0 there. – Gregg

 

Mike Conley Jr Named Co-Player of the Week In the Big Ten
February 12, 2007 6:15 pm EST

Mike Conley Jr. has been named co-Big Ten player of the week after helping lead OSU to a pair of home wins. Conley, who leads the Big Ten in assists, steals and assist-to-turnover ratio, shared the award with Wisconsin’s Alando Tucker.

Conley is averaging 18.5 points and five assists while connecting on 61 percent of his shots from the field, 75 percent of his three-point attempts and 86 percent of his free throws. He scored a career-high 23 points in a victory over Michigan, making 9-of-12 shots from the field. He also had six assists and just one turnover.  For the season, Conley has 157 assists to go with 58 steals. He already owns the Ohio State freshman record for assists in a season and is moving up on OSU’s all-time Top 10 list for assists in a season. He’s tied with Larry Bolden for fifth place and trails No. 4 Curtis Wilson by five.

Ohio State (22-3, 10-1) tied a school record for home wins in a season with the victory vs. Purdue on Saturday. – Gregg

 

Pre-game Notes : Michigan
February 6, 2007 8:00 am EST

Ohio State has the 6th longest home winning streak in the nation, presently at a count of 22 games, including the game they played at Nationwide Arena in December.  The last home lose was to Michigan State last year.  Coach Matta is current 3-0 versus th Wolverines.  Coach Amaker is 39-49 in Big Ten games during his six years as head coach of Michigan.  The Maize and Blue have lost their last three games, Ohio State has won their last seven.  The 20 wins this year is the second quickest the Buckeyes have ever reached that mark, in 1990-91 they were 20-1.  After nine games, OSU leads the Big Ten in scoring defense at 57.2 ppg, defensive field goal percentage at 39%, and blocked shots at 5.8 per game. – Gregg

 

Buckeye Recruit to Play Televised Game
February 5, 2007 9:25 pm EST

Kosta Koufos of Canton Glenoak,  the 7-1 center in our 2007 basketball recruiting class, is among 20 high school seniors to play in the Jordan Brand All-American Classic on April 21 in Madison Square Garden.  This game will be televised on ESPN2.  He may also be selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American game as well.  Koufos is presently averaging 26.9 points, 16.1 rebounds and 8.3 blocked shots per game. – Gregg

 

Buckeyes Double-up Spartans
February 3, 2007 7:00 pm EST

For the first time since 1970-71, Ohio State wins in East Lansing in back-to-back seasons.  Greg Oden had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks to lead the fourth-ranked Buckeyes to a 63-54 win over Michigan State.  And they may be second ranked by Monday as both #2 Wisconsin and #3 North Carolina had losses this past week.

Going into the game, Ohio State was only 2-12 in the Breslin Center and had not won at Michigan State in consecutive years since Jim Cleamons had led them in victories in both 1970 and 1971.   Now Coach Matta evens his record against Coach Izzo at 3-3.

The Buckeyes (20-3, 8-1 Big Ten) kept pace with Wisconsin atop the conference standings with their seventh straight win since losing on the road against the Badgers.  Meanwhile, Michigan State (17-7, 4-5) has lost three straight and will have to stop the slide soon to earn an NCAA tournament bid for the 10th straight year.

Ohio State led by as much as 11 in the first half and Oden put it ahead 55-46 with five minutes left to play. A Drew Neitzel led rally pulled the Spartans within three with 53.1 seconds left, but they couldn’t get closer and lost at home for the first time in 15 games this season. Ohio State’s perimeter players put together solid games as  Othello Hunter added eight points and eight rebounds. – Gregg

 

Pre-game Notes : Michigan State
February 3, 2007 8:00 am EST

Ohio State’s win in East Lansing during the 2005-06 season ended a ten game losing streak in the Breslin Center.  This will be the second team in a row the Buckeyes will play that is unbeaten at home, as Michigan State is 14-0 this year in front of the home fans.  A win tonight will give Coach Matta is seventh 20 win season in 7 years of coaching.  – Gregg

Pre-game Notes : Purdue
January 31, 2007 8:00 am EST

OSU has won 11 of the last 12 games against Purdue, but Purdue is undefeated in Mackey Arena this season.  Six of twelve categories in the Big Ten are led by Mike Conley Jr or Greg Oden at this time.  Oden is shooting 57% from the floor in conference play. – Gregg

Buckeye Big Man Brings Big Road Win
January 24, 2007 11:15 am EST

Northwestern was thinking possibility, Greg Oden came to play.  Grabbing seemingly every rebound, and with Ivan Harris collecting the rest, Oden almost single-handedly kept the Wildcats in check down the stretch, enabling the fifth-ranked Ohio State men’s basketball team to escape an upset with a 59-50 win over the Wildcats.

Northwestern, which last beat a top-five team here 28 years ago, had five possessions in the last four minutes thanks to the Buckeyes playing keepaway by collecting six offensive rebounds in that span. Oden had four and turned three into points.

Oden had 17 points and a career-high 17 rebounds for his sixth double-double in 13 games. Harris led Ohio State with 18 points, 14 in the first half, and added seven rebounds, five off the offensive boards. Oden also had five offensive rebounds. Northwestern totaled 19 rebounds as a team.

The win moved Ohio State (17-3, 5-1) into sole possession of second place in the Big Ten behind Wisconsin. The Buckeyes entered the week tied for second with Indiana, which lost Tuesday at Illinois, and Michigan, which lost last night at Wisconsin.   Northwestern (11-9, 1-6) lost for the second time in eight nights to Ohio State, which beat the Wildcats 73-41 last week in Value City Arena. It also was the Buckeyes’ 15th straight win over Northwestern, which has not beaten them since 1998.

Tim Doyle led Northwestern with 15 points and sparked the Wildcats during a second half in which they trailed by not more than six points in a 12-minute span. Northwestern, iced by Ohio State’s zone in Columbus last week, shot the Buckeyes out of it early and forced them to play man-to-man with 6:44 left in the first half.   Northwestern led 20-11 in the  first 11 minutes but went more than eight minutes without scoring as Ohio State reclaimed the lead and went to halftime ahead 27-24. The Buckeyes, who missed 7 of 9 three-point attempts in the first half, made their first three of the second — Butler from the right wing, Mike Conley Jr. from the top of the key and Ron Lewis from the left wing — to open a 36-26 lead with less than 17 minutes left. Northwestern whittled the margin as close as one point with 10:47 remaining, but Ohio State scored in every situation it needed to in the next six minutes and never gave the Wildcats a chance to take the lead. – Gregg

 

Pre-game Notes : Northwestern
January 24, 2007 8:00 am EST

Ohio State has beaten Northwestern 14 straight games, including 6 in a row at Welsh-Ryan Arena.  The Buckeyes are the only Big Ten School that Bill Carmody has not beaten in the 7 years he has been at Northwestern.  Greg Oden has made 13 consecutive free throws, while Othello Hunter has 10 straight.  OSU is 46 of 52 from the charity strip the past three games. – Gregg

 

Conley Directs the Buckeyes over the Wildcats
January 17, 2007 10:30 pm EST

Mike Conley Jr had 17 points and 10 assists to lead Ohio State to a home win over Northwestern 73-41.  Jamar Butler added 16 points to give the starting back court 33 points.  Greg Oden was held to just 5 points but led the team with 6 rebounds.  Much of the lopsided win can be attributed the poor shooting of the Wildcats who were only 32% for the game.  For a big part of the contest, Ohio State found themselves playing a zone which may have been part of the reason for the lower percentages for Northwestern.

“We came out and we were shocked because we weren’t expecting to play zone,” guard Jamar Butler said. “Coach told us what we were going to do right before we took the floor. So we were a little surprised. But it worked.”

Craig Moore led Northwestern with 11 points, including three 3-point goals.  But they all came in the second half when the game was already decided.

Ohio State (15-3, 3-1) beat Northwestern (10-8, 0-5) for the 14th consecutive time and the 27th in a row in Columbus. The Wildcats’ last win here was in 1977. It was the fewest points by a Big Ten team against Ohio State since Northwestern scored 40 in 1997.  And it was the Buckeyes’ largest margin of victory against a conference team since a 35-point home win over Penn State last season.

“It was a great team effort,” Matta said. “I think everybody did a good job of what we wanted them to do going in in executing the game plan and having an understanding of where we were looking to strike or what we wanted to do defensively.”

The only mystery left after the game was ‘why did Oden shave his beard?’ – Gregg

 

Men’s Basketball Post Non-Conference Win over Tennessee
January 13, 2007 4:10 pm EST

The Volunteers had their best player at the free-throw line and could have sealed the victory but the 82% shooter missed the front end of a 1-and-1, giving the Buckeyes the window they needed to beat Tennessee 68-66.  Then with 11 seconds on the clock, Ron Lewis hits a 3-pointer which proved to be the game-winner.  Up until that shot, Ohio State was only 3-13 from behind the arc.

Tennessee (13-4, 1-1) did just about everything they needed to do to win the game.  They outscored the Buckeyes in Points Off Turnovers 18-4, outscored them in the paint 40-34 (in spite of a 24 point performance from Greg Oden), and outgained the scarlet & gray 22-10 on fast breaks.  But the one stat that really seemed to hurt them the most was their 5-11 shooting from the foul line.  Ohio State (14-3, 2-1) on the other hand, was 18-20 from the charity stripe.

The win gives the young OSU basketball team their first win over a top 20 team, and keeps them undefeated at home for the 2006-07 campaign.  It was also a bit of a coming out part for Mr Oden.  It never would have happened without a Herculean effort from center he big center.  Oden played his most dominating game so far – 24 points, 15 boards and several shots altered on defense – to lead the Buck. Mike Conley Jr, his high school teammate, added 16 points.

“He’s a dominant player,” Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said of Oden, last year’s national high school player of the year who was highly recruited. “He’s got a chance to be Bill Russell at 7-foot. He’s got a chance to be a real impact player.”

Oden hit 9-of-13 shots from the field, all six of his foul shots – shooting left-handed because he still wears a brace on his shooting hand from surgery to reattach a ligament in his wrist – and adding four assists, three blocked shots and a steal.

OSU led they entire second half until Tennessee’s Chris Lofton scored with 56 seconds remaining to give the Volunteers a 64-63 lead.  But his missed free throw with 23 seconds left allowed the Buckeyes one more chance which they got the most of with Lewis’s 3-point shot. – Gregg

 

OSU vs. SEC  –  Round 3
January 11, 2007 4:51 pm EST

Tired of hearing of SEC superiority and speed?  So, you want a little satisfaction.  Well, we’ll have another shot at it this Saturday as Thad Matta and his Ohio State basketball guys host # 20 Tennessee at 1:00 PM at the Schott.  A little research shows Tennessee to have three losses like Ohio State, one of which is a shared loss with Ohio State in a loss to North Carolina.  So if you want one last shot at payback, tune is Saturday.  This game will have much more on the line, at least for us.

 

Buckeyes Can Not Come Back From 16-point Deficit to Badgers
January  10, 2007 12:15 am EST

Down by 3 at halftime, Ohio State was able to match the Badger scoring in the second half, but it was a 21-5 run midway through the final period that proved to be the difference.  During that stretch, Wisconsin was getting their scoring from offensive rebounds.  They managed 13 of its 14 offensive rebounds and 14 of its 18 second-chance points after halftime.  Ohio State tried to come back from a 10-point deficit in the final 45 seconds by fouling the Badgers on every possession in hopes of making up ground by trading baskets for free throws.  Thanks to a pair of three-point baskets by Ron Lewis and two dunks by Greg Oden got the Buckeyes as close as 71-69 with 8.9 seconds left.  But down by three with the ball, Jamar Butler’s threepoint attempt from the right wing as the clock expired banged off the back of the rim.

Ivan Harris led Ohio State with 17 points. Lewis added 14 points and seven rebounds, Butler 12 points and Oden 10 points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots.  Daequan Cook led the team with nine rebounds in just 14 minutes of playing time.  The Buckeyes (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten) lost its sixth straight game in the Kohl Center and for the third time this season on a top-10 team’s home court. The other losses were at North Carolina and Florida.

The Buckeyes have lost their past five games against ranked teams since a win at Michigan State last season.

Taylor scored 25 points to lead Wisconsin (16-1, 2-0), which won its 12 th consecutive game and improved its Big Ten record in the Kohl Center to 40-2 under Ryan. Alando Tucker, the conference scoring leader, was held under his average with 17 but had six as the Badgers opened a 57-41 lead in the first 10 1 /2 minutes of the second half.

Ohio State, which has played three of its past five games on the road has its next three and four of its next five in Value City Arena, where it is 10-0 this season. – Gregg

 

Florida Center May Not Play Against the Buckeyes
December 21, 2006 2:30 pm EST

Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan said starting center Al Horford will not play Saturday when the fifth-ranked Gators host No. 3 Ohio State in Gainesville, Fla.

“With the way he’s moving and cutting, and what I saw yesterday, and his conditioning right now, I don’t see how he can play,” Donovan said this morning during a teleconference.

“Now, I’m giving you my opinion today. If something drastic should change, because of my comments on this teleconference, I would make sure I put out a (news) release well before the game that he is playing. But my belief right now, in talking to our doctors and our trainers, is he’s not playing.”

Horford, who averages team highs of 13.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, suffered a high ankle sprain in his left leg in practice last week. He has worn a protective boot on the leg since and has missed the Gators’ past two games. – Gregg

 

Basketball Buckeyes Get their 10th Win
December 19, 2006 10:15 pm EST

Although the final score was 75-56, the game was a lot closer than that for 34 minutes.  With 5:45 to go in the game, Ohio State (10-1) was holding on to a 55-53 lead.  They had not played poorly, but they were not playing like a team that was favored by 20.  But for the rest of the game they out scored Iowa State 20-3 to give them the deciding margin of 19 points.  Daequan Cook led the way for the Buckeyes with 21 points.  Greg Oden, who is still playing with a brace on his right hand, added 18 points, 9 boards and one blocked shot.  The Cyclones (5-4) were led by Mike Taylor’s 24 point effort.  18,905 fans poured into Value City Arena, providing the largest crowd this season.  The halftime activities were highlighted when the football team present Ohio State and Gene Smith the Big Ten Championship Trophy. – Gregg

 

No more tickets available this season
December 19, 2006 7:40 pm EST

The Ohio State Athletic ticket office announced that all remaining home games for Ohio State Men’s basketball are now sold out. – Gregg

 

Letter to the NBA
December 18, 2006 1:00 pm EST

Dear Mr Stern,

I just wanted to send you a quick note to thank you for the new rule you implemented last year stating that NBA players must be removed at least one year from their high school graduation before entering the NBA draft.  Due to that change, our local team was blessed with the addition of one Greg Oden, who would have been the #1 pick in the 2006 draft according to your experts.  Now we are getting the pleasure of watching him play, and he is spared the travesty of having to compete with the thugs you find in your league today.  Although the seven players involved in this weekend brawl were fined and suspended, I personally believe the punishment needs to be more severe if you truly want an environment where there is ‘no tolerance’ for such behavior.  In the meantime, we will continue to accumulate wins here in Columbus.  Who knows, one more fight in the NBA and perhaps Mr Oden will stay for his sophomore year.

Sincerely,
Gregg Watson
Loyal Buckeye Fan

 

Buckeye Players leading Big Ten Stats
December 12, 2006 8:00 pm EST

The 8-1 Buckeyes are coming off a 78-57 win verses Cleveland State on Sunday, December 8 and already this season, several players are making news. Two Ohio State freshmen find themselves leading the Big Ten Conference in several statistical categories. Point guard Mike Conley Jr. leads the league with 22 steals (2.75 spg. and in assist/turnover ratio (+2.94). He is second in assists (6.63 apg.) Classmate Daequan Cook is second among Big Ten players in 3-point shooting percentage (.514/18-35) and leads the league in defensive rebounding (5.63 drpg.). Cook ranks No. 4 in scoring (17.6 ppg.) and is No. 7 in overall rebounding (70 rpg.). Ohio State veterans also find themselves among the league leaders in several categories. Senior Ron Lewis, after a 30-point effort at North Carolina (Nov. 29), is No. 3 in scoring (17.8 ppg.) and No. 7 in 3-point field goal shooting percentage (21-44/.477) and  No. 5 in treys  made  per game (2.63). Senior  Ivan Harris is  tied at  No. 4 with  three
others in 3-point shooting percentage, making half his attempts (20-40). Junior Jamar Butler ranks No. 6 in assists (5.25 apg.) and fifth in asst./TO ratio (2.63). – Gregg

 

Ohio State Drops to 5th in the AP Poll
December 4, 2006 3:00 pm EST

UCLA and Pittsburgh held onto the top two spots in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll released today, while a loss to North Carolina dropped Ohio State from the third spot to No. 5. The Bruins (6-0) stayed on top for a second straight week, receiving 55 first-place votes and 1,781 points from the 72-member national media panel. UCLA celebrated its first No. 1 ranking since 1995 with victories over Long Beach State and UC Riverside. Pittsburgh (8-0), which beat Robert Morris and won at Auburn, was No. 1 on 15 ballots and had 1,713 points. North Carolina (6-1) jumped from seventh to third after beating then-No. 3 Ohio State 98-89 on Wednesday. The Tar Heels received the other two first-place votes. – Gregg

 

Oden Comes off the Bench for 14 Points-10 Rebounds
December 2, 2006 7:00 pm EST

Greg Oden came off the bench today for the Buckeyes but do not expect that pattern for long.  He logged 28 minutes as Ohio State defeated Valparaiso 78-58. This was his first real game in seven months. Oden had not played summer ball or with the Buckeyes since undergoing surgery June 16 to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist. Daequan Cook scored 20 points and Ron Lewis had 10 for Ohio State (7-1), coming off a 98-89 loss at No. 7 North Carolina a few nights ago. – Gregg

 

Oden to make his OSU Debut Today
December 2, 2006 11:50 am EST

The wait for Buckeye fans is over.  According to news sources… Greg Oden will make his much anticipated debut for the Ohio State men’s basketball team when the Buckeyes play Valparaiso at 4 p.m. today in Value City Arena.

 

Tarheels Give Buckeyes their First Loss of Season
November 29, 2006 11:30 pm EST

Ohio State played with the ACC powerhouse for 28 minutes, but a 17-2 run turned the Buckeye 6 point  advantage into a North Carolina lead we could not overcome.  Part of it was due to the strong play of Tyler Hansbrough but it is hard to think that part of it was not due to the fact that there was a huge disparity in the foul calls.  The Tarheels had 34 foul shots while Ohio State (6-1) only had 13.  Ron Lewis played another great game with a team leading 28 points and Ivan Harris was again strong off the bench adding 17 points.    Regardless of the outcome of this one, I know as a Buckeye fan that we will be more than happy to play them again in March, on a neutral court, with Oden in the line-up. – Gregg

 

Recruiting Update
November 28, 2006 7:00 am EST

Thad Matta added another recruit to his growing list of future Buckeyes.  Anthony Crater from Flint, Michigan has committed to play at Ohio state.  The junior point guard makes a total of 14 players Coach Matta has lined up for the Buckeyes in the 2006, 07 and 08 classes.  This may be a mild concern as you can have no more than 13 scholarship players on your roster at one time.  But the thinking may be that not all of these kids will stay the full four years.  Sources indicate they are still looking for one more forward for the 2008 class. – Gregg

 

OSU #1 in both Football and Basketball
November 27, 2006 6:00 pm EST

The coach’s have voted the OSU men’s basketball program #1 in the nation this week.  With the football team already at #1, it marks the first time since January of 1974 that a school (Notre Dame) has held the #1 spot in both football and basketball.  The only other time this has occurred was in 1967 when UCLA owned the #1 position in both sports.

 

Buckeyes Punish Penguins, Prepare for Tarheels
November 24, 2006 10:30 pm EST

The Youngstown State Penguins took an early 8-7 lead at Nationwide Arena but it was all Ohio State after that as the Buckeyes cruised to 91-57 win.  The only question left after this game was whether or not the football Buckeyes would match those 91 points when they square off with Youngstown State to open the 2007 football season.  Ivan Harris led Ohio State (6-0) in scoring with 19 points on 7-11 shooting and Jamar Butler contributed with 9 assists compared to 1 turnover.  Daequan Cook had his first double double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.  OSU will still be without Greg Oden for their game against North Carolina on the 29th, but he did appear on the sideline without his wrist brace for the first time. – Gregg

 

Basketball Team to Play at Nationwide Arena
November 24, 2006 1:00 pm EST

For the second time ever, the Buckeyes will be playing in Nationwide Arena when Ohio State takes on Youngstown State. The Buckeyes hosted Virginia Tech at Nationwide Dec. 6, 2003 in the other game. The game against Youngstown State Friday is being played at Nationwide to satisfy the NCAA requirement for the host school of NCAA tournament first and second round games to have at least one game contested in the facility where NCAA tournament games are played. Ohio State will host the 2007 NCAA First and Second Round Tournament games in March. OSU also was the host school for the early rounds in 2004. – Gregg

 

Channel 10 to show games
November 22, 2006 8:00 pm EST

Some basketball fans have been upset this year that the games were only being shown on ONN.  Channel 10 announced today that for the remainder of the season, all games not shown on ESPN or ESPN2 will be shown on 10TV.  Of course if any really wants to see the games, you should just go to them.  There has not been 10,000 fans at a game yet this season.  Get your tickets now before everyone realizes how good this team will be this season. – Gregg
Thad Matta gets win #50
November 17, 2006 9:30 pm EST

Ohio State took care of business and defeated Eastern Kentucky 74-45.  In the process, Thad Matta posted his 50th win as a Buckeye coach.  He is now 50-18 overall and amazingly enough that is only the third fastest an OSU coach has reach 50 wins (Randy Ayers did it in 67 games, it took Fred Taylor 64 games to reach 50 wins).  The Buckeyes (4-0) next face San Francisco in Value City Arena, Monday the 20th at 8:00pm. – Gregg

 

Buckeyes Win BCA Classic
November 12, 2006 10:30 pm EST

Ohio State had no problem defeating Kent State 81-59, winning the 2006 BCA Classic.  With the win, Matta picked up his 200 career coaching victory.

 

Matta Signs Extension Through 2014-15 Season
November 3, 2006 2:00 pm EST

Ohio State men’s basketball coach Thad Matta agreed to a new contract that will run through the 2014-15 season, the university reported today. Matta, 39, had been signed through the 2012 season.

Matta, whose previous annual average compensation was $1.4 million, is still second among Big Ten coaches at $2.26 million (which includes all possible incentives), behind Tom Izzo of Michigan State at $2.4 million. Matta’s nine-year total is $20,380,900, including possible incentives.

The new contract is retroactive to July 1, 2006, and runs through June 30, 2015.

“Thad Matta has an extraordinary gift,” OSU director of athletics Gene Smith said. “His energy and enthusiasm are both tangible and contagious, and his results speak for themselves. He is a master coach, and teacher, and a highly positive influence on the young men in the program. We are immensely proud to have him as our coach”

Matta’s teams have compiled a record of 148-49 in his six seasons as a head coach. Each team has won at least 20 games, making him one of two coaches nationally to record 20 or more victories in each of his first six years as an NCAA Division I head coach. Mark Few of Gonzaga has done so in each of his first seven seasons.

Ohio State is 46-18 under Matta. The 148 wins over his first six seasons ranks No. 5 all time in NCAA history for wins to start a career (six years). Matta’s winning percentage (.751) also rates No. 5 all-time after six years at the start of a career.

In addition to Matta’s contract, John Groce, who came to Ohio State from Xavier with Matta, has been elevated from assistant to associate head coach.

David Egelhoff and Brandon Miller also have new roles with the men’s basketball program. Egelhoff, who spent five seasons as a student manager and three as the program’s video coordinator, takes over as director of basketball operations. He has an undergraduate business administration degree (2001) and a master’s in sports management (2005) from Ohio State.

Miller moves to the video coordinator position after two years as the director of basketball operations. He is a 2003 Butler graduate with a degree in education.

 

New Players Shine in Opening Win
November 1, 2006 10:00 pm EST

The first test for the 2006-07 OSU basketball team resulted in 80-57 win over Findlay in an exhibition game.  Returning letter-winner Ron Lewis led the team in scoring with 17 points but the newcomers were the story.  Mike Conley Jr had 10 points, but also had 7 assists with only one turnover.  David Lightly had 9 points with 3 rebounds.  Daequan Cook added 13 point to go along with 8 rebounds, and in only 19 minutes of play Othello Hunter had 11 points and two monster blocks.  Of course the mostly highly publicized newcomer, Greg Oden is still recovering from hand surgery and is not expected to return to the line-up until the first of the year.