The #4 Buckeyes are playing in the Naismith HOF Tip-off this weekend at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. Coming off a fresh beating of Albany University, they square-off against a Rhode Island team that is 0-2 and facing an uphill climb in the Atlantic Ten this season. The Buckeyes spread the wealth very well in the first “official” game, after the cancellation of the Carrier Classic against Marquette, and took care of Albany relatively easy. Amazingly, the Great Danes followed that loss two days later with a 63-62 upset win at Washington on Tuesday evening. That tells us they may have been a better test than originally thought. Lets take a look at Rhode Island.
|School:||Rhode Island University|
|Founded:||1892, Motto – “Think BIG, We do”|
|Conference:||Atlantic Ten Conference|
|Stadium:||The Ryan Center|
|Head Coach:||Dan Hurley (Seton Hall)(first year)|
|Experience & Accomplishments||Prior to Wagner, Hurley had a standout career as head coach of Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School, where he built the New Jersey school into one of the top high school basketball programs in America. Dan Hurley is the son ofHall of Fame high school coach Bob Hurley and younger brother of former Duke and Sacramento Kings guard Bobby Hurley. His last coaching job he was 38-23 in two seasons at Wagner University.|
|Program History||Rhode Island Rams have appeared in eight NCAA tournaments. They have an overall 6–8 record in tournament games. Tom Garrick holds the Rhode Island single-tournament scoring record with 29 points in 1988.|
This is the first ever meeting between the Buckeyes and the Rams. The game will be played in the Schott and will feature a Buckeye squad wanting to send a message.
Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0;0-0)
|No.||Name||Pos.||Ht.||Wt.||Yr.||Hometown (Prev School)|
|4||Aaron Craft||Guard||6-2||195||JR||Findlay, Ohio (Liberty Benton)|
|33||Amedeo Della Valle||Guard||6-5||190||FR||Alba, Italy (Findlay Prep)|
|2||Andrew Goldstein||Guard||6-3||200||JR||Marlboro, N.J. (Marlboro)|
|34||Jake Lorbach||Forward||6-7||210||SO||Elyria, Ohio (St. Edward)|
|55||Trey McDonald||Center||6-8||240||SO||Battle Creek, Mich. (Battle Creek Central)|
|30||Evan Ravenel||Forward||6-8||250||SR||Tampa, Fla. (Brandon)|
|14||Alex Rogers||Guard||6-2||200||JR||Cincinnati, Ohio (Christian Brothers Univ.)|
|10||LaQuinton Ross||Forward||6-8||220||SO||Jackson, Miss. (Life Center Academy (N.J.))|
|3||Shannon Scott||Guard||6-1||185||SO||Alpharetta, Ga. (Milton)|
|32||Lenzelle Smith, Jr.||Guard||6-4||210||JR||Zion, Ill (Zion-Benton)|
|1||Deshaun Thomas||Forward||6-7||215||JR||Ft. Wayne, Ind (Bishop Luers)|
|12||Sam Thompson||Forward||6-7||200||SO||Chicago, Ill. (Whitney Young)|
|23||Amir Williams||Center||6-11||250||SO||Detroit, Mich. (Detroit Country Day)|
Rhode Island Rams (0-2;0-0)
|0||Alwayne Bigby||Gr.||G/F||6-5||210||Toronto, Ontario / Northeastern|
|1||Mike Powell||So.||G||5-11||175||Chicago, Ill. / Brooks College Prep|
|2||Jarelle Reischel||So.||F||6-6||215||Frankfurt, Germany / Rice|
|4||Jordan Hare||Fr.||F||6-10||205||Saginaw. Mich. / Arthur Hill|
|5||Xavier Munford||Jr.||G||6-2||180||Hillside, N.J. / Iowa Western College|
|10||DeShon Minnis||So.||G||6-3||185||Philadelphia, Pa. / Texas Tech|
|12||Andre Malone||Sr.||G||6-6||210||Atlanta, Ga. / Auburn|
|13||T.J. Buchanan||So.||G||6-3||195||Kalamazoo, Mich. / Kalamazoo Central|
|14||Ifeanyi Onyekaba||Fr.||F||6-8||240||Abuja, Nigeria / Virginia Episcopal School|
|20||Eric Youncofski||Fr.||G||5-10||150||Middletown, N.J. / Middletown North|
|22||Jonathan Nazarko||So.||G||6-2||200||East Lyme, Conn. / East Lyme|
|23||Nikola Malesevic||Sr.||F||6-7||200||Uzice, Serbia / Uzicka Gimnazija|
|30||Shane Plunkett||Fr.||G||6-3||195||Brookville, N.Y. / Long Island Lutheran|
|33||Ryan Brooks||Sr.||F||6-8||220||Mays Landing, N.J. / South Kent School|
|34||Mike Aaman||Fr.||F||6-8||210||Hazlet, N.J. / Raritan|
|55||Gilvydas Biruta||Jr.||F||6-8||245||Jonava, Lithuania / Rutgers|
Head Coach: Dan Hurley
Associate Head Coach: Bobby Hurley
Assistant Coaches: Preston Murphy, Jim Carr
Director of Basketball Operations: Kevin Tirone
Director of Player Development: Ben Wood
Athletic Trainer: Mike Monteiro
Strength & Conditioning: Richard Johnson
The Buckeyes finally got started last Saturday and played with excellent teamwork amongst the stars of the team. Aaron Craft led all scorers with 20 points, a new career high for him, and he out assisted Albany 7 to 6 by himself. DeShaun Thomas added 19 points, Lenzelle Smith Jr. contributed 18 on a hot shooting night (8/11), and Laquinton Ross added 10. The big men contributed no points on the night,which could be a very serious area of concern. They also only combined for 6 of the teams total 32 rebounds which is a stat that Albany tied the Buckeyes in.
New Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley’s biggest concern after just two games is who to look at for scoring. They were held in the 50′s in their first two games against Norfolk State and Virginia Tech. Several players transferred after the coaching change, but several new faces are filling the void. Hurley has brought in his brother Bobby as an assitant in hopes of building some shooters to build around. Overall, they’ve only had three players score in double figures combined for the first two games. Malesevic and Malone had 26 and 13 respectively against Norfolk, and Xavier Munford had 24 against Virginia Tech. If they want to be successful they will have to find other ways of scoring. Munford looks like the real deal and he’s a new incoming junior JUCO transfer who should add depth and added scoring to the team. Keep your eyes on him, and expect big things.
All the Buckeyes really need to do is, first, let Craft and Smith take over in the front court defensively and, second, give Ravenal and Williams some consistent work underneath and get their confidence up. As for URI, they will need to figure out more ways to score for sure, but at least put the ball in the right players’ hands and figure out where the good chemistry is.
The Buckeyes still have some other questions answered but have a good opportunity to set a tone and give some of those other players a chance to show what they can do. The key will be to get a good look at Scott and Craft on the floor together and see if it really turns Ross loose on the edge. With two guards that can shoot the three or drive to the basket, Ross and Thomas should see plenty of opportunities to shoot the rock.
The game between the Buckeyes and Rams will tip at 5:00 PM EST on Saturday, November 17th. You’ll be able to see that game on ESPN3. The winner of the Washington-Seton Hall game await the winner on Sunday in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off.