OSU Mens Bball Schedules Perennial Power

According to a report from Jeff Goodman of ESPN Ohio State will play Memphis in 2015 at a neutral site in Miami, Florida. Here is part of that report…

The Hall of Fame will debut a new event in Miami in 2015 in which Kentucky will play South Florida and Memphis will face Ohio State, an industry source told ESPN.

The neutral site doubleheader will be played at the American Airlines Arena in Miami on Nov. 27, 2015. The format of the event is that each host school will play three home games in addition to one neutral site contest.

This will add another marquee match-up for Coach Matta and an early season challenge to help prepare them for the B1G season and post season.

Thad Matta & The Buckeyes Land Big Man Thompson

Ohio State has picked up seven-foot Virginia Tech transfer Trevor Thompson, according to ESPN Basketball insider Jeff Goodman.

The Buckeyes have been in the running for Thompson for several weeks now and Ohio State was speculated to be one of his top choices in his college search. Thompson averaged 5 PPG and 4.7 RPG over 30 games for the Hokies this past season. Due to transfer rules, Thompson will sit out the upcoming season and will have three years of eligibility left starting in the 2015-2016 season. This is a great pickup for Thad Matta’s squad after clearly lacking size in the front court this past season. Here’s a taste of what Thompson can bring to the team:

Thompson himself also took to Twitter to announce the news:

Thompson is ready. Are you ready for him Buckeye Nation?

Ohio State Men’s Basketball Back in the AP Poll

basketball_iconOhio State, sporting an uncharacteristic like record of 19-5 has made its way back in to the AP Poll, clocking in at #22 (they also moved up from #25 to #20 in the Coaches’ Poll).

After three straight wins (over Wisconsin, Iowa, and Purdue), Ohio State seems to be on a little mini-run heading into the game against Michigan, a showdown of two previous conference front-runners. Ohio State has showed steady improvement while Michigan is struggling to find an answer to when teams stifle Nik Stauskas’ prolific offense.

The B1G still boasts five teams in the Coaches’ Poll. You can see the rest of the rankings over at ESPN.

Ohio State Beats Purdue 67-49

The Buckeyes looked sloppy at times, but some slick shooting from Lenzelle Smith Jr. and a harassing defense allowed Ohio State to pull ahead and win Saturday night. Smith was hot behind the arc, hitting four of seven three-point attempts and finished with 16 points along with five assists. LaQuinton Ross led in scoring with 17 points and also led in rebounding with six rebounds.

Ohio State struggled at times finding a good shot, something that has plagued them all season. But when the Buckeyes made good shot selections it paid off. What’s frustrating about watching this team is there’s a good bit of talent, but carelessness and poor decision-making seems to throw them off pretty easily. The saving grace for the team though is it’s defense, which stepped up even more in the second half. Purdue had a hard time getting any offensive rhythm and their starters struggled mightily in this game.

Outside of A.J. Hammons’ 11 points, the other four Boilermakers’ starters combined for only 13 points. As I noted in my preview, Hammons had to have a big game and his fellow starters needed to provide consistent shooting to supplement him. And obviously they didn’t do it. Besides the Buckeyes’ inconsistency on offense, two bench players for Purdue stepped up and kept them in the game. Rapheal Davis and Kendall Stephens contributed 11 points and 12 points respectively off the pine. If it wasn’t for their contributions, Purdue would’ve been blown out.

While the Buckeyes looked like they were going to lose it at times, especially with about around nine minutes to go, they made their shots when had to the most. Shannon Scott had a nice game off the bench providing key shots when necessary and finished with nine points. If Scott can start providing some consistent relief off the bench, that could help Ohio State tremendously come March. Aaron Craft did what he does best and that is being the leader of the team. Craft finished with seven points, four assists and three steals. It gets said a lot, but his presence on defense is what makes the Buckeyes defense good instead of just decent.

With the win, Ohio State has now won three straight games. It’s amazing how the tone of the fans has changed over the past week. Winning tends to do that, huh? I think this team is going to be just fine and will be as ready as they can be come crunch time in March. Up next for Ohio State is arch rival Michigan, who just lost to Iowa on Saturday. A win over the team up north would be great for the Buckeyes’ resume and would continue the momentum the Buckeyes have rebuilt with their three consecutive wins.

Three Yards and a Cloud of Links

Good morning Buckeye Nation. Today I am speaking to you from the frozen tundra of Antarctica. Whats sad is if you actually looked up the weather conditions for Antarctica its actually warmer in many places than Ohio. OK so lets grab our cups of coffee or hot cocoa and get started.

Broken Tater? Word out of Pickerington Central is that Jae’Sean Tate has been shut down for the rest of the year due to a shoulder injury. Tate who is a senior forward for the Tigers signed in November to be a Buckeye next season. Reports are saying he needs surgery for a torn labrum which has been hurting him since May.

We here at MotSaG are hoping Tate makes a full and speedy recovery and is at full strength for the Buckeyes next season. Get well soon young man.

Buckeye Tabloid Gossip: Apparently the Internets were sent a buzzing recently. I’ll be honest here I am not sure of the who when and where, but someone or something was putting out there that coach Meyer and former coach Vrabel had some kind of falling out. Now since I don’t know the story I am going to put my shiny little two cents in here. Mike Vrabel left for the Houston Texans to coach the linebackers leaving behind his alma mater. I truly believe this was his choice and his alone. The man bleeds Scarlet and Gray and I feel did one heck of a job for the Buckeyes and it was great having him on the sidelines helping these kids become men. Vrabel had an opportunity to coach in the NFL which maybe in his mind (and buy his actions) was much bigger than the collegiate level. He might have aspirations of being a head football coach in the NFL. The reason I bring all this up is that coach Meyers wife had to go to twitter Thursday to set the record straight.

Good luck in the NFL coach Vrabel and you will always be a Buckeye in my and many many of Buckeye Nations hearts. Chase your dream and may you encounter success where ever you turn.

Step Back from the Ledge: I know Buckeye fans we have had some trying times this season watching the mens basketball team. We have been spoiled and expect nothing but the best because lets face it this is The Ohio State University and nothing but the best will do for ANYONE wearing Scarlet and Gray. How spoiled have we become in mens basketball? Well Doug Lesmerises of cleveland.com (Clevleand Plain Dealer) has a nice story on how the Buckeyes program has been the third most successful team in the nation during the regular season. During the last four years the Buckeyes have averaged a 2 seed for the NCAA tournament. That’s pretty impressive when Kansas has averaged a 1 seed and Duke 1.5 seed during the same span.

Speaking of the men’s basketball team don’t forget to watch them go for three in a row versus Purdue tonight and read Josh Schott’s preview on the game.

Breaking cHoke Steps Down: Word out of Ann Arbor is that Brady cHoke is stepping down. The Big House Report is reporting yesterday that cHoke is stepping down as the defensive lines coach. Apparently he wants to be the “head coach” now or something along those lines. Seems that his failures to date have his seat a little hot (must be the reason he doesn’t need a long sleeve shirt on a cold day) so he wants to concentrate on being a the head guy. This is Brady cHokes comments on the move.

Until next time Buckeye Nation stay warm and stay safe.

Purdue Basketball Preview

Where: Value City Arena at the Schottenstein Center, Columbus, OH

When: Saturday, February 8 at 6 pm ET on the Big Ten Network

Previous Meeting: Ohio State and Purdue last met on the hardwood this season on December 31 in West Lafayette. The Buckeyes won 78-69, in a closely contested B1G opener. Both LaQuinton Ross and Shannon Scott both had tremendous games to lead Ohio State to victory. Ross scored 25 points and pulled in 12 rebounds, while Scott scored 18 points. A 10-2 run late in the game by these two is what sealed the game for the Buckeyes. Aaron Craft had a typical “Craft game”, scoring seven points and pulling in eights rebounds. Craft also had a tremendous 10 assists along with four steals.

Purdue’s A.J. Hammons had a pretty good game, recording a double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds, along with four assists and five blocks. Boilermaker sophomore Ronnie Johnson scored 16 points and Terone Johnson had 13 points. While Hammons still had a good game, the Buckeyes mostly kept him check as he shot 6 of 16 from the field. The Boilermakers as a team only shot just above 41% from the field and 21% from behind the arc. The Buckeyes veteran experience certainly played a factor in keeping a young Purdue team in check.

What To Watch Out For: Purdue is coming off a triple overtime 77-74 victory over Minnesota after previously losing four straight games. A.J. Hammons, the most dangerous player on the Boilermakers, led with 20 points and pulled in 14 rebounds (team leader). Hammons is only sophomore, which explains why his scoring has been erratic all season and only averages 10.9 points per game. When he’s on his game Purdue has a much better chance of winning. Hammons had a good, but not great game when facing the Buckeyes last time. I look for Purdue to give him a lot of looks and let him try to lead the Boilermakers in this game. Much like Hammons, the entire Boilermakers’ team is inconsistent. If Hammons can score consistently and if the rest of the team can shoot decent, then Purdue has a pretty good shot at winning this game. But that’s a big if.

Ohio State has won two straight road games after losing five of their previous six games. While the victories weren’t pretty, it has rebuilt some much-needed momentum for the team. Aaron Craft, the Buckeye Superman, was instrumental in both wins as he scored all seven of his points in the final four minutes in the win over Wisconsin and led in scoring with 17 points against Iowa. LaQuinton Ross, the team’s leading scorer, scored 13 points in each of the wins. For a team that has struggled with scoring all season, Ross and Craft have been huge for the Bucks. The defense has been solid for most of the season (9th in the nation in points allowed), including the previous matchup against the Boilermakers. The Buckeyes need to repeat their previous defensive performance against Purdue this season if they want to win this game. Purdue is a dangerous shooting team if left unchecked. Ohio State also needs to continue to improve on offense if they hope to be a dangerous team come March.

Prediction: The Buckeyes will continue to build on their momentum and have a repeat defensive performance against Purdue from their first matchup. Craft will do Craft things and Ross will lead the way in scoring. A boost from the home crowd will help too. Ohio State 74 Purdue 62

Illinois at Ohio State Preview

OSU LogoGAME INFO
-Illinois at Ohio State
-7 PM EST on ESPN

A five game losing streak is on the line tonight in this match-up of two teams currently on four game losing streaks. The Buckeyes have won five in a row at home against the Illini and haven’t lost five games in a row since the 1997-1998 seasons when they lost SEVENTEEN games in a row. Thank goodness social media didn’t exist back then, that’s for sure. One of these teams will start a winning streak tonight and the other will plummet to the bottom of the B1G standings.

The B1G is hands down the toughest conference in the country. Top to bottom there are no easy games this year. OSU, which at one point was ranked in the top 5 nationally, is on a four game losing streak. Wisconsin, who, also at one point was in the top 5, is on a three game losing streak. I could go on and on just how tough this conference is and how that has played a large part in both OSU and the Illini teams recent losing streaks. Both of these teams playing tonight are top 25 teams, in my opinion. They just happen to be playing each other at a time when both teams badly need a win to right the ship and get their seasons back on track.

The Illini are led by 6’4″ junior guard Rayvonte Rice who is averaging nearly 18 pg to go along with 6 rebounds per game and 2 assists per game. But during the losing streak Rice has gone stone cold, only getting 10 ppg on 28% shooting. The other leader on this team is 6’2″ junior guard Tracy Abrams who is averaging 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He is shooting 35% in the current losing streak. For the Illini to have any chance tonight both of these players will need to play extremely well and have someone else step up to help them out.

For Ohio State what needs to happen more than anything else tonight is a refocus on defensive effort that can lead to easy fast break points and easy shots. This team is as talented as anyone in the country but right now mentally they are in a bad place. All the players seem to be frazzled right now and making careless mistakes and can’t hit the broad side of a barn when shooting the ball. Somebody needs to step up and become the leader of this team and get the rest of the team back on path to their season goals. Aaron Craft is the most likely choice but he is never going to be an offensive star. LaQuinton Ross needs to put the team on his back and carry them offensively and draw extra defenders so others can get open. Those open guys need to knock down their shots though and if they can’t, drive to the hoop and make a layup or get some easy fouls and make some foul shots. Amir Williams seems to be disinterested in playing at all and probably shouldn’t at this time until he can get his head straight.

The Keys to this game are simple:

Make your shots.

BOX OUT

Rebound

Drive the ball

Make your foul shots

Defensive Intensity

Keep the home crowd in the game.

Score more points than the Illini even if it is only 1 more point.

WIN AT ALL COSTS.

OSU Basketball: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Today we are going to recap The Ohio State University men’s basketball teams first 4 games of the year. I have appropriately titled this breakdown, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. I have chosen this for many reasons, Most namely, the inconsistency of the team thus far. Here is the breakdown.

The Good

- 4-0. The best result that can happen in any game is a win. So having a perfect season thus far, even though we are only 4 games in, has to be a positive.

- Big Road win. Beating a team many considered the favorite to win the Big East at their home court is also a plus. Regardless of the Big East’s prominence taking a bit of a hit with expansions, this win will be looked at come seeding time at the NCAA tourney.

- Shannon Scott. After being put into the starting lineup in order to create a formidable backcourt, Scott has provided a huge spark on both ends of the court. He is the leading scorer on the team at 12.5 points a game as well as being second on the team in both assists and steals.

- Marc Loving. College Basketball has always proved a tough transition for a true freshman, regardless of the talent level. Loving has proved that he belongs at a big time program and has provided some much needed energy off the bench. When watching Loving, you get the sense you are watching a future All Big Ten team blossom.

- Defense. Holding your opponents to 51.5 points a game and 34.4% from the field will win you almost any contest. Sure the schedule isn’t the toughest but this is still tough to do at any level.

The Bad

- LaQuinton Ross. 4 Games into the season is hardly a barometer for the entire season but it would be hard to call Ross’ start to the year anything less than a disappointment. He is averaging 7 points per game, good for 6th on the team and 22.5 minutes per game, good for 5th best. While much was expected a Ross, he is under performing so much so that Matta has made him sit on the bench for 15+ minutes on two separate occasions. It appears he just needs to find his shot and gain a little confidence. Matta appears to be doing everything he can to “wake up” Ross and I have confidence he will find his game again.

- Slow starts. It seems that the Buckeyes have had trouble getting the scoring going in the first half. Against Marquette, it took a last second 3 from Loving to get their first half score to 19. Against American, getting to the free throw was the only thing buoying them to a first half lead as they only made 5 field goals. I believe that most of this has to do with the new foul rules making it hard for the Buckeyes to get in a flow. Once they get properly adjusted, they’ll be fine.

The Ugly

- There is no other way to say this, but shooting 28.6% from 3-point range is downright ugly. As mentioned before, it could have something to do with the new foul rules, but most of the looks Ohio State is getting from long distance, are good looks. 4 games in, no one should be worried. Matta knows how to get his team to score.

As you can see, there are way more positives than negatives so far this season. There is still a long way to go as well as lots of time to improve.

Thad Matta lands his BIG man

basketball_icon4star_recruit_iconThe 2014 class for the Ohio State mens Basketball team has been one of the best ever for OSU. Thad Matta and his coaches have worked relentlessly to fill up this huge class. They landed a five star guy in D’Angelo Russell and 3 other 4 star recruits that made the class one of the largest and highest ranked in recent memory. Already ranked as one of the top 3 classes the addition of a big man to the class seemed to never work out. Time after time they had guys pick other schools over OSU. Coach Matta didnt hang his head he went to work and finally last night landed the big man he was chasing.

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Payton Dastrup announced his commitment at his High School and it was first reported online by his father via twitter…

Payton Dastrup is a 6’9″ 230 lbs 4 star PF/C from Mesa, Arizona. Payton is a big kid with a smooth shooting touch who can play inside or out and will no doubt stretch defenses in college. He is not your prototypical B1G big man but is a more athletic guy who can play several positions for Coach Matta. The one thing OSU fans will have to understand is that Payton will be going on a 2 year mission while he serves a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon). He is set to go as soon as he graduates and will not return until the 2016 season. Coach Matta understood this and agreed to extend a scholarship offer which Payton gladly accepted. 247sports ranks him a 4 star and the 110th best player in the country. Rivals ranks him a 4 star and the 100th best recruit in the nation. Scout ranks him a 4 star and the 18th best Center in the country. ESPN ranks him a 4 star and the 98th best player in the country.

You can follow Payton Dastrup by clicking @PDastrup

Mickey Mitchell Joins Buckeye Nation

5star_recruit_iconbasketball_iconThad Matta is absolutely KILLING it on the recruiting trail right now. His 2013 and 2014 classes are excellent and his 2015 class is already on par to beat both of them with the talent he is landing. This newest commit is the brother of Freshman linebacker stud Mike “The Abusement Park_” Mitchell. Both brothers came to Ohio State as 5 star recruits and luckily for OSU fans there is another brother who may be better then both of them in the 2016 class.

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