Ohio State welcomed the Walsh Cavaliers into the comfortable confines of the Schott for an exhibition matchup to prepare for the season. Walsh played an excellent ballgame and kept up with the Buckeyes through the majority, finally falling 83-71. The difference in the game was a 17-3 run over the last 5 minutes of the first half for the Buckeyes that was led by the lineup of Aaron Craft, Shannon Scott, Sam Thompson, DeShaun Thomas, and Trey McDonald. DeShaun Thomas led all scorers with 25 points on 9-17 shooting. He was followed by LaQuinton Ross with 13 and Evan Ravenel’s 11 for the double digit scorers for OSU. Walsh was led by Kenny Kornowski and Jeff Copeland with 12 a piece.
The Buckeyes played as many as 9 different lineups during the course of this one as Matta examined the different looks available to him on the bench. Ultimately, we got to see every single scholarship player on the court for decent minutes, but it may not be too early to make guesses as to how this team might play out in the future. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Matta play 8 deep this year with Amedeo Della Valle and Trey McDonald riding the bench for the majority of the season.
Give the Cavaliers a lot of credit. They’ve been a solid team in the NAIA for the last few years, but this year they have what could be a special team. They have a number of good shooters, and their center will help them win more than a few games. Ultimately, their offensive balance, along with excellent coaching from Jeff Young, may be enough to give them a deep run in the postseason this year in the NAIA.
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
For today’s basketball roundtable, I share questions and answers with Eric and Gary of tBBC, and two guests: Eric invited a blog friend Jordan, and I invited liveblog regular CeMoBuckeye. Enjoy!
What were your favorite moments of the 2011-12 season and why?
Gary. My favorite moments of last year both happened on the road. First the victory on Madison. My distaste for Wisconsin runs beyond just football. Anytime you go in and knock off Bo Ryan in Madison always puts a smile on my face. Second was the victory at Michigan State. I respect Tom Izzo and his teams. They are always tough and always tough at home. Beating them in East Lansing, I believe, have them the confidence for their run in the postseason.
Eric. The best moment had to be the win over Wisconsin in the Kohl Center. Nothing gives me a warmer or fuzzier feeling than beating the socks off the damn red and white scum from Madison. Close second would be a tie between the Syracuse win, which was a fantastic piece of basketball against an excellent opponent, and the Buford gut shot win at MSU to help clear up his own last second game worries.
Jordan. First, beating Florida and Duke at home in the same month; second, beating a highly touted Syracuse team in Boston to go to our eleventh* Final Four; third, two fifteen seed upsets in one hour in the NCAA Tournament; forth, beating Wisconsin at Wisconsin for the first time in a decade; fifth, beating Cincinnati in the sweet sixteen to exorcize the Bearcat tournament demons of fifty years ago.
CeMoBuckeye. How the team came together at the end of the season and made an incredible run to the final four.
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.
Ohio State and Kansas met for the second time this year, this time on the neutral court of the Superdome in New Orleans. Both teams played tough basketball, but the Buckeyes were unable to maintain their nine point halftime lead, falling to the Jayhawks for the second time 64-62. William Buford’s game high 19 points were not enough to lift the Bucks over Kansas’s Thomas Robinson, who matched Buford with 19. Travis Releford scored a critical 15 for the Jayhawks, including four free throws at the end to seal the game.
Neither team started the game with their heads quite in the right place offensively for the first few possessions. While Kansas did score a quick duece on their first possession, they spent their next seven possessions taking atrocious shots. That was matched by the Buckeyes on the other end of the court early. Only when Lenzelle Smith dropped a three pointer did the Buckeyes settle down and start making better decisions with the basketball, leading to a 7-0 run through about four minutes of play.
Kansas attempted to make early adjustments to try to counter the little OSU run. By moving the ball better, the Jayhawks were able to find better looks at the basket and began to make their looks again. Not surprisingly, Thad Matta reinspired the defense on the subsequent timeout. The pep-talk seemed to work, giving the Buckeyes the necessary intensity to make offense difficult for the Jayhawks.
Much to Buckeye fan’s relief “good” Buford made an appearance in this one. As has been apparent all season, Buford’s shooting is strongly dependent on his early game shots. If he makes good decisions early, like he did today, his shooting is generally strong all game long. If instead his decisions are poor early, his shooting struggles throughout. However, one thing Buford never seems to struggle with is assisting his teammates, playing good defense, and tough rebounding. It was critical, though, that his shots started falling early, allowing him to build his shooting confidence early.
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.”
The Ohio State Buckeyes and Syracuse Orange met in Boston this evening to decide who would represent the East Region in the Final Four. After a tight, hard-fought battle, the Buckeyes succeeded in picking up the 77-70 victory over the 1-seeded Syracuse Orange. Every single Buckeye contributed a key piece to this tough victory, but Jared Sullinger led all scorers with 19 points and 7 rebounds. He was followed closely by Lenzelle Smith’s 18 points, most scored in the 2nd half with the game coming down to the wire. On Syracuse’s side of the ball Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine combined for 29 points and a pair of rebounds.
Both teams started off hot attacking the paint with extreme aggression. That may have been a surprise to many who suspected the Buckeyes were going to have to use the long ball to attack the Syracuse 2-3 zone. However, as the Bucks had demonstrated against Cincinnati, they had learned well the methods of handling the 2-3 under the basket. Those lessons were proven valuable again as OSU was able to misdirect, and pass around, the Syracuse zone.
Unfortunately, Jared Sullinger was forced to sit with 13 minutes with two quick fouls. His second foul seemed to be a bit ticky-tack, but with the game being an intense back-and-forth affair, it was understandable that the refs were playing things conservatively. Thankfully, the Buckeyes have been forced on many occasions this season to play without him, which has been to the benefit of Ravenel’s development. He certainly put those skills on display tonight, demonstrating that he could handle the quality interior presence of the Orange.
With OSU’s best big sitting on the bench Syracuse seemed to press their attack into the paint even more. By doing so, they were able to force Evan Ravenel into a quick pair of fouls of his own. Matta, of course, responded by bringing Amir Williams into the game. Ultimately, the move hurt the Buckeyes. While Amir Williams is a very talented player, he is by no means close to a polished product. It was clear from his play on offense that he doesn’t understand as well as Ravenel and Sullinger how to attack the 2-3, nor does he move around nearly as effectively in the paint as the other bigs.