Last night saw an unfortunate court related fiasco cancel a game most fans had been anticipating for a long while. Thankfully, the weekend is not a total loss. The Buckeyes will be home tomorrow afternoon to play host to the Albany Great Danes. Let’s take a look.
|School:||University of Albany|
|Location:||Albany, New York|
|Division:||NCAA Division 1|
|Stadium:||SEFCU Arena (formerly the Recreation And Convocation Center – popularly “The RACC”)|
|Head Coach:||Will Brown|
The University of Albany has only been a member of the Division 1 basketball ranks since 1999, but they’ve already made their mark in College Basketball circles. In 2006, a 21-10 Albany team won the America East conference tournament and secured their first ever bid to the NCAA tournament. Their reward was a #16 seed and a chance to play top-seeded UConn. The Great Danes did not back down from the task, and even led the game by 12 with 11 minutes left to play. Unfortunately, UConn stepped up their defense and blitzed out on a 34-9 run over the last quarter of the game to advance.
Will Brown has been the head coach since early in the program’s Division 1 eligibility. Albany was his first head coaching experience, and while his 148-180 is not incredible he has still demonstrated an ability to put together good teams. After the success of the 05-06 and 06-07 teams that visited the NCAA tournament, the Great Danes fell off for three seasons into the dregs of college basketball. But that has changed the last couple seasons and Brown again has them on an upward trajectory.
|#32||L. Smith Jr.||39||25.436||6.718||47.0||62.6||37.8||4.59||2.0||0.897||0.128|
The Great Danes are led by three senior shooters in Jacob Iati (5-10, 165, #0), Mike Black (6-0, 180, #10), and Jayson Guerrier (6-4, 210, #30). All three have combined for 7-15 shooting from beyond the three point arc in one game so far this season. They also combined for 7 of the team’s 13 assists, including Black’s four.
Albany has already played one game this season, defeating the Duquesne Dukes 69-66 at home. Albany outshot the Dukes simply by taking fewer three pointers than their opponents, and instead using their opportunities inside the arc. However, Albany allowed Duquesne to get to the line and shoot 23 free throws compared to their 7.
This kind of gameplan clearly plays into Ohio State’s hands. Thad Matta is well known for training his players to play for the foul and get to the charity stripe, while also committing a minimum of fouls on their own. If Albany attacks the paint, they may very well find themselves in trouble against the Buckeye’s shot blockers. If the Buckeyes can take advantage of foul shot opportunities on the other end, this game could be over early. Expect Albany to take a few more three pointers than they did against Duquesne to try to loosen up the Buckeye’s defense inside.
Considering their shooting percentage beyond the arc, Thad Matta may be content to let them take those shots all game. OSU clearly has the greater set of talent, and should be able to play with impunity on the offensive end. It would behoove the Buckeyes to force Albany to beat them with the long shot game. As long as they close well with the Albany shooters, especially Jacob Iati, the defense should be fairly effective.
The Buckeyes and Great Danes will face off in Value City Arena on Sunday, November 11th at 2 PM Eastern time. You’ll be able to see that game on the Big Ten Network.