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.|
When the Buckeyes hit the court tonight against Walsh University, one of the major things head coach Thad Matta and his coaching staff will be looking for is a defensive presence to replace graduating All-American Jared Sullinger. The center position looks to be an open battle between Boston College transfer Evan Ravenel, Amir Williams and fellow Michigan Prep star Trey McDonald, and we may get some answers about the future of the position this evening.
The 6’11″ Detroit Country Day star follows the steps of Yellow Jacket alums Keith Benson, JaVale McGee, Chris Webber and Shane Battier as budding future stars. He is by far the tallest player on the roster and offers the Buckeyes a post power on both sides of the basketball. He’s no Greg Oden or Jared Sullinger, but without a doubt, Amir Williams has the talent to grow into an All-American candidate in the future.
Hometown: Birmingham, MI
High School: Detroit Country Day
High School Accolades:
- 2011 McDonalds All-American
- 2011 Parade All-American
- 18 PPG (2011)
- 12.6 RPG (2011)
- Finished 3rd in Michigan Mr. Basketball Voting (2011)
A four star prospect, Williams was considered the 10th best center in the 2011 class according to Rivals.com and ESPNU ranked him the fourth best of his class. Without a doubt, Williams entered the Big Ten as the best center of the class, and it’s undisputed that his shot blocking ability is lights out and already at the top of the conference. Some believed that Williams could contribute right away, but he only saw spot time late in games and in occasional relief of Sullinger in foul-trouble situations.
The pre-season #4 team in the country gets things started off with a scrimmage of sorts against the Cavaliers of Walsh University from North Canton, Ohio. Still competing in the NAIA in basketball, they will be making the switch to NCAA D2 for the 2013-14 season. Led by former player Jeff Young in his 10th season at head coach, they will provide us with an opportunity to see what bench players will give us this season. The Cavs and the Buckeyes have met six times with the first exhibition taking place in 2006-07.
|Location:||North Canton, Ohio|
|Founded:||Walsh University was first founded as LaMennais College in Alfred, Maine in 1951|
|School Type:||Private – Roman Catholic Church|
|Division:||NAIA D1 – Moving to NCAA D2 by 2013-14|
|Conference:||Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference|
|Head Coach:||Jeff Young – Walsh University|
|Experience & Accomplishments||224-44 (9th yr.) For seven consecutive seasons, Jeff Young took the Cavs to the heights of the NAIA. Walsh made seven straight trips to the National Tournament, won a national title in 2005, and finished as runners-up in 2010. After a year of playing in limbo, Young is poised for his next challenge; elevating the Cavs to the elite of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and NCAA Division ll. Young enters the 2012 season with the highest winning percentage of all active coaches.|
|Program History||First yr. of basketball: 1962-63
Overall all-time record: 868-555
No. of yrs. in NAIA Tournament:13
Last Post Season Appearance/opponent: Cedarville 3/3/12
Result: won 78-77 OT/OIC Title Game
It’s been a great season of football so far and not too surprisingly basketball has snuck up on us. We have done our best to try and get everybody’s input on the upcoming season from around the blogosphere including a nice two-parter with people from around the B1G that can be read here and here. We also spoke with fellow Buckeye Bloggers about the Buckeyes and that can be read here.
We finish up our pre-season of roundtable with an in-house brand. Look forward to starting the season off soon but let’s first get everyone’s opinions.
Who is the Key returner other than Craft or Thomas?
WVa. The bottom line for this team will be defense this season and the key returner to make that happen will be Shannon Scott. As much as he may contribute offensively is up to him, the defensive side of the ball comes easy for him and when Coach Matta decides to put the clamps down it will be Scott and Craft doing that. Scott showed some nice flashes of this and what he can bring offensively so when teams double down on Thomas, look out!
Eric. There are a number of names that could go here. There are two roles of need on this team: “Scoring” and “Paint play”. That means that for each there are a couple of answers.
Scoring: One of the three – LaQuinton Ross, Sam Thompson, Lenzelle Smith. All three will be looked for their scoring output this season. We don’t know whether it will be Ross or Thompson starting in place of William Buford at the three, but they will definitely sub in and out for each other. Lenzelle Smith will very likely maintain his role at the 2 spot in the backcourt. He’ll need to hit some critical buckets for us this season.
Paint play: Amir Williams and Evan Ravenel. Ravenel will bring much-needed experience to the center position, while Williams will bring some serious defensive ability and hopefully some offensive talent. It will be fascinating to see how these two play together.
Mali. I’m excited to see LaQuinton Ross… came in with a TON of upside, will Matta be able to develop it in ways that help the team long-term.
Joe L. Zelle’ – I look for Smith to pick up where he left off in the tourney last year playing good D rebounding from his guard spot knocking down the open 3′s and finding a way to get to the rack and score.
How much hurt will losing Sullinger and Buford cause the team? Read More
Yes, your eyes do not deceive you, it does indeed say “basketball” up there. While everyone is overloading from the celebration of Coach Meyers first game as the head coach of THE Ohio State university and a W against Miami of Ohio, we thought we’d introduce you to a Tuesday fixture of basketball with tBBC. Myself, Eric, and Gary Russell are going to do our best to keep you updated on the basketball Buckeyes with news as it is ready and a roundtable or maybe even a chat on Tuesday’s with some people in the know.
Who’s the one carryover from last season who needs to have a big off season and why?
Eric – In terms of needing a big off-season, there’s only one obvious answer – Amir Williams. Matta teams tend to under perform when he doesn’t have a top notch guy in the paint to focus the attention on. Amir Williams was supposed to be a huge get for the Buckeyes when we recruited him, but the few times we saw him last season he looked stiff and immobile on offense – though his defense was pretty good. He absolutely needs to have worked on his offense in a big way, both in moving without the ball and in getting a hip into the defender when posting up.
One other key to his offense – he needs to be able to pass back out of the paint. Buckeye fans got very spoiled with Sullinger and his ability to feed guys outside the arc after attracting the entire defense. This offense will work a lot better if Williams can come even half-way towards replicating that trait.
I’m going to give a #2 answer as well, because I can. Lenzelle Smith Jr. needs to have a big off-season. He did a laudable job last season, especially towards the end. He needs to carry that momentum into this season and be a significant scoring option for this team.
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be hearing from some “new voices” here at tBBC… If you’re interested in being a part of this series, drop us a line!
Like every coach in college basketball, Ohio State’s Thad Matta is often criticized by fans and supporters. One thing Matta is not usually criticized for, though, is his ability to recruit top-notch talent.
Except for this upcoming season.
Ohio State’s 2012 recruiting class does not have any player ranked in the top 150. In fact, the Buckeyes’ class contains a grand total of one commit: Amedeo Della Valle, a 6’3” point guard from Henderson, Nevada.
Coming off a season that resulted in a trip to the Final Four, the Buckeyes lost All-American forward Jared Sullinger and guard William Buford, OSU’s third all-time leading scorer. It was also a season that ended with Jordan Sibert and J.D. Weatherspoon electing to transfer to Dayton and Toledo, respectively. With those four out of the picture, many Buckeye fans seem to be very concerned about the lack of a 2012 recruiting class.
The sky is not falling, though. Next year’s Buckeyes will be just fine.
Replacing Sullinger and Buford will no doubt be a challenge, but OSU has several players that were patiently waiting their turn on Matta’s bench just a year ago. Read More
Lots of places have done an excellent job putting together post-mortems on the Buckeye’s basketball season since the rough loss to Kansas in the Final Four. In particular, I highly recommend Our Honor Defend‘s player-by-player grade breakdown for the season by Michael, which he completed in three parts.
However, I must admit that during the last week I found myself less looking back at what had happened and more looking forward to what is to come. Perhaps some of that is a defensive mechanism, trying to keep me from realizing what exactly we’re losing. It’s probably also keeping me from analyzing Saturday’s meltdown too closely. I’m fairly certain a deep analysis will cause me to have an aneurysm, so it’s probably best to avoid that.
There’s one thing I know for certain, though, and it is probably the real reason I can’t keep myself from looking far into the future. I am incredibly excited about next year’s basketball team already. I simply cannot wait to see what these kids are going to bring to the table, and there’s already plenty to be excited about.
So, from this incredibly early perspective, I want to take a look at what this basketball team may look like next year. Specifically, we’re going to look at what the starting lineup might look like given what we know today.
We’re just hours away from the start of the Final Four! The Ohio State Buckeyes and Kansas Jayhawks will meet in the second game of the day today, tip-off set for 8:49 PM. I still don’t know what’s stranger. The fact that both teams will be playing basketball inside a Superdome, or that the floor that both teams will be playing on is made in the small “unicorporated community” of Amasa – A small part of Hematite Township in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Though all 250 citizens of the city are upset that either Wisconsin or Michigan State isn’t in the Final Four, they will be among the millions of fans with their eyes fixed on what could be one hell of a Saturday.
According to the folks at the Worldwide
Failure Leader, this is the first time since 2005 that all playing on the final weekend of college basketball have finished the year ranked in the top ten in terms of attendance. Yesterday, over 6,000 fans made their way to a football stadium to watch practice (practice man!),
Kicking things off is the inner-state battle between Kentucky and Louisville. AP Player of the Year Anthony Davis and his Wildcat squad might be the most talented squad to take the court in bluegrass blue since the Days of Rick Pitino and Ron Mercer. You know the former Kentucky coach is firing up his guys simply based on how the nation is disrespecting his team as they head into today’s play as nine point underdogs. There is no doubt that the Louisville Cardinals have been put on an island all by themselves by the national media. Nobody has given this team a chance.
Yes, they are heavily over-matched and Kentucky is by far the odds-on favorite to win the whole shebang. But I can’t remember a time when three teams flew this far under the radar heading into the last three games of the year. That in itself should set off some fireworks tonight.
Which means Ohio State fans should expect one heck of a battle in what’s being dubbed the “Most Competitive Game in the Tournament.”