tBBC All-Time Tourney Championship #1 1960 vs. # 2 2007

Written May 8th, 2012 by Joe Dexter

Fans of Ohio State basketball who have followed our tournament to find the best basketball team in school history probably have thought that this match up was inevitable in the championship game of the All-Time Tourney. When Chris and I started this, one of our first conversations was how these two teams would match up. On one side, you have a team that was destined to win a championship behind the play of it’s super stud leader. On the other is a squad that the country knew was good, but surprised with big shots, amazing comebacks, and a final four run that ended short in the National Championship game.

There is no doubt that the fans voted for the two best teams in school history, and today they meet to decide once and for all, which team is the greatest to don the Scarlet and Gray. Here is a breakdown of the Jerry Lucas’ 1960 Buckeyes vs. Greg and Mike’s 2007 squad.

1960 Starters and Stats

Player

FGM

FGA

FG%

3FG

3FGA

3%

FTM

FTA

FT%

REB

AVG

PTS

AVG

Jerry Lucas C

283

444

.63

0

0

0

144

187

.77

442

16.4

710

26.3

Larry Siegfried G

145

311

.46

0

0

0

81

108

.75

107

3.8

372

13.3

Mel Nowell G

156

330

.47

0

0

0

56

73

.76

72

2.6

367

13.1

John Havlicek F

144

312

.46

0

0

0

53

74

.71

205

7.3

342

12.2

Joe Roberts F

135

281

.48

0

0

0

38

56

.68

194

6.9

308

11.0

1960 Team Stats

OFFENSIVE

FG%

3%

FT%

RPG

PPG

AVERAGE

.49

0

.72

41.8

90.4

DEFENSIVE

FG%

FT%

FT%

RPG

PPG

AVERAGE

.38

0

.71

36.9

69.7

Jerry Lucas in the Record Books
When Jerry Lucas eventually broke Robin Freeman’s career scoring mark, he did it by a long shot. Freeman’s mark at the time was a mere 1,597 points in 57 games and Lucas finished with 1,990 by 1962 and stayed there until Herb Williams came along in 78-81 and is currently 3rd all-time.  His career scoring average of 24.3 is still ranked 2nd right behind Robin Freeman’s 28 ppg. His 1960 season saw him land the 5th best in points (710) average (26.3). As a team he was part of the highest scoring average ever at 90.4 ppg. Lucas is one of only two players to score 500+ in three seasons (Michael Redd). He is the all-time leader in career and single season FG percentage at .624 and .637 respectively. The one category that Lucas is the leader in and may never be touched is rebounding.  He was a special player and had a nose for getting it done. He is the career leader (1,411), is the top three in season and 1960 was third (442), second through sixth in game rebounds and had 25 against W. Kentucky in 1960 for number 6. He finished up with a career rebounding average that may last at 17.2 rpg and set a new single season mark in 1960 with 16.4 which he broke each subsequent year after that.

2007 Starters and Stats

Player

FGM

FGA

FG%

3FG

3FGA

3%

FTM

FTA

FT%

REB

AVG

PTS

AVG

Greg Oden C

189

307

.61

0

0

0

123

196

.62

306

9.6

501

15.7

Ron Lewis G

152

356

.42

64

186

.34

126

162

.77

140

3.6

494

12.7

Mike Conley Jr. G

160

309

.51

20

69

.30

100

144

.69

134

3.4

441

11.3

Jamar Butler G

104

264

.39

76

202

.37

47

55

.86

80

2.1

331

8.5

Ivan Harris F

111

257

.43

58

148

.39

18

26

.69

128

3.3

298

7.6

2007 Team Stats

OFFENSIVE

FG%

3%

FT%

RPG

PPG

APG

TOPG

SPG

BPG

AVERAGE

0.47

0.36

0.70

35.6

74.5

14.9

11.4

6.8

5.6

DEFENSIVE

FG%

FT%

FT%

RPG

PPG

APG

TOPG

SPG

BPG

AVERAGE

.40

.33

.68

32.7

62.0

12.5

13.6

5.0

2.5

2007 Team in the Record Books
The 2007 team had three freshmen lead them to the promise land and all three left for greener pastures in the NBA.  There wasn’t a National list that Greg Oden was left off of and Mike Conley Jr. garnered several on the way as well including the Final Four all tourney team with Oden. Daequan Cook won the 6th man award in the Big Ten coming off the bench all season except for one start. Conley set single season marks in steals (87) and assists (238) on his way to a stellar freshman season.
Defensive Comparison
The way statistics are kept now a days it is a certainty that the 2007 squad will rank high in the all-time great defensive teams, Mike Conley held the single season steals mark until this past season and Aaron Craft. Greg Oden’s block numbers are good enough to rank him as one of the best ever with Ken Johnson. Their PPG allowed is 62 and has to rank up there with any team in Ohio State history. But, and it’s a big but, they are facing the team that has the highest scoring average for a team in Ohio State history at 90.4. It is a team that held its opponents to 69 PPG for a winning margin of an astounding 21 PPG.  The 1960 squad rebounded like no other in the history of the sport. With the exception of Greg Oden’s few games on the list, Jerry Lucas dominated the boards and will most likely stay there for years to come.

The defensive battle in this game will begin underneath with Oden and Lucas. It really would be a battle for the ages pitting Oden’s shot blocking ability with Lucas’ ability to get to the rim. Arguably two of the best to wear Scarlet and Gray under the basket, they would literally beat each other up. Both were rebounding phenom’s and left it all on the floor while cleaning up the boards.

This battle would then turn things up a notch for the match-up between Mel Nowell and Mike Conley. Nowell is the reason Coach Bob Knight learned at a young age what kind of guard he wanted when he became a head coach. You have to dig pretty deep to find any statistics for the 1960 as a defense, but you have to believe it started with Nowell and his quickness. I imagine he and Mike Conley would treat each other with a bit of respect, but that would end as soon as the whistle sounded. Both guards put their teams on their shoulders defensively during their respective seasons. I honestly believe defense could dictate a different flow to the game between these two teams and that is precisely what cost them two more national titles in 1961 and 1962.  Advantage 2007

Playmaker

We’ve had the opportunity to say it a few times and will say it once more. There have been few, if any playmakers like Jerry Lucas. He was a special player in high school that translated into a great career in college at tOSU and years spent in the NBA. There is very little he didn’t accomplish while playing in the Scarlet and Gray. His coming to Ohio State got freshmen Coach Fred Taylor promoted to head coach of the varsity and did not disappoint with Lucas team. He was the guy that everyone wanted to beat and he was the perfect example of what a student athlete should be as he was on academic scholarship while in school.

He would be playing against a playmaker in Greg Oden who was the pride and joy of what will be considered Coach Thad Matta’s best class ever. Missing a few games to start the season, Oden came in with a fury, immediately changing teams shot selections and ability to get to the basket. His numbers for blocked shots in a single season at 105 are good enough for a spot on the career list as well.  In spite of the opinion of how the defensive will dictate this game, it would be an amazing thing to see Jerry Lucas and Greg Oden on the same court. Advantage 1960

Post Presence

When Greg Oden took the court for the first time in 2006, fans knew that he was going to be something special. From 21 points in his first big ten game, to his valiant performance against Florida in the championship game, where he shot 10/15, scored 25 points, ripped down 12 boards and blocked 4 shots. Jerry Lucas could give him a run inside to give Oden trouble. But there is no way that the 1960 team could of stopped him. Maybe that bias is because of me witnessing all of his freshman year, but I just don’t see any way in which the 1960 team stops him. Even double teams wouldn’t affect Oden’s game in my opinion. Advantage 2007

Ball Handler

This to me is where the game could be won. Both teams were very productive with the basketball, and I think that the play of Mike Conley and Mel Nowell would be imperative. Could Mel protect the ball against one of the best swipers in school history? Could Conley have a big game offensively against one of the best defenders in Buckeye basketball lore?

When it comes to overall ball handling, Jerry Lucas gives the 1960 team the advantage. When it comes down to it, he could control the shot clock, the 1960 team could move the ball and play the kill the clock offense to stay in the ballgame. Individually, you’d have to give the advantage to Mike Conley. But often many forget about the play of Jamar Butler, the all-time career assists leader. So you have the season assist record and career assist marker on one team, dishing off to a sharpshooter and dishing off to a big man. hmmm…Advantage 2007

Head Coach
What more can be said about tOSU coaches Fred Taylor and Thad Matta that hasn’t been?  There coaching records are on a collision course and eerily similar. Bear in mind that in Coach Taylor’s day they typically only played 22-23 games during the regular season and the NCAA’s were fewer games as well. Today, the Buckeyes play 32 games including the B1G tourney and several more NCAA games.
All games          Big Ten Conf
Seasons Years Won Lost   Pct.    Won Lost  Pct. Titles
Fred R. Taylor………………………………………………………………………………..1959-76      18     297    158    .653      158    102   .608     7

Fred Taylor                     First Seven Seasons    137      41    .769        75      23   .765     5
Thad Matta……………………………………………………………………………………..2005-          8      221      65    .769        98      41   .708     5

Something of note as well when comparing these two coaches in Ohio State history. Coach Taylor had a total of three losing seasons at the helm and Coach Matta has not suffered a losing season as a head coach. In his 12 years of being a head coach now he has won 20 or more games in every season. Coach Matta’s first four years are the best four for any coach in tOSU history with 105 wins. He replaced Coach Taylor on that list who had 98 wins from 1960-1963 and of course three of those teams made it to the NCAA finals. Of course, had the 1960’s teams played 30 regular season games, he would still have the record. He was an NCAA championship win away from an undefeated season in 1961. These two coaches would have a great time game planning for each other and oddly enough, neither like to use a very deep bench when it came to tough match-ups. Definitely one for the ages. Advantage 1960

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