The young Buckeyes broke loose the day after Thanksgiving, giving their best performance of the season against the Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos. For the first time all season, Thad Matta's squad looked like a top five team, cruising past UMKC 91-45. Deshaun Thomas led the team again, compiling 21 points and eight rebounds. Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 13 points thanks to a 3-5 performance behind the arc, while Sam Thompson had 11 points. The Buckeyes as a whole shot over 60% from the floor and 56% from three.
The biggest story had to be the bench, though. Shannon Scott (10 points, 10 assists) played critical minutes and electrified the crowd, pushing the tempo and running the floor. LaQuinton Ross also had 11 points and 5 rebounds in 22 minutes of action. Even Trey McDonald and freshman Amedeo Della Valle looked good when they saw the floor.
Next, the Buckeyes head to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on Duke on Wednesday. You can find more coverage from the post-game press conference (via OhioStateBuckeyes.com) after the break...
Join us as we watch the Buckeyes take on the Kangaroos at 6 PM ET...
Aaron Craft started 2012-13 in top form
Dave Thurman @Dthurman7
(9:26 pm)And Then There Were Four:
While the Buckeyes didn't play this past weekend, you have to believe that most of the players watched some of the other top teams in the nation with interest. Of course, both Alabama and Louisville left the realm of the undefeated, meaning that only four BCS teams are still unblemished: Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. Once again it is a reminder of how hard it is to go through a year without a loss. I don't care which conference you are in or who you play, it is really difficult to navigate through an entire year without stumbling at some point.
Of course the big news heard round the college football world was the Alabama loss, as they were defeated at home by Texas A&M. Although everyone knew the Aggies can score points behind boy wonder Johnny Manziel, nobody thought they would beat a team that some felt was good enough to play in the NFL. Personally, I am thrilled when an SEC frontrunner takes it on the chin, and it would make me very happy to see a BCS National Championship Game without a team from the $EC, but I'm not holding my breath. There's still a lot of football to be played, and the powers that be love those southern teams.
Some Buckeye fans were upset that Ohio State didn't move up in the AP rankings this week, with both Alabama and Georgia, at 9-1, rated ahead of the Buckeyes who check in at 6th in the poll. Honestly, considering how weak the B1G is this year, and how soft our pre-conference schedule was, I can't complain. But if OSU were eligible for a bowl this year I'm sure I would feel differently, and would be lobbying to see "our" boys get to the National Championship Game!
So what are the odds of Ohio State winding up perfect in 2012 like they did 10 years ago, when they finished a magic season at 14-0? A few weeks ago I would have said this squad had about a 1 in 25 chance, but the odds have gone up following two well-played games versus Penn State and Illinois Still, Wisconsin and Michigan both present tough challenges, and the Bucks may need to play their two best games of the season to finish 12-0.
Drew Thurman (3:53 pm) @osusilverbullet
The Buckeyes hit the hardwood for the first time this season tonight, taking on Marquette on the USS Yorktown in Charleston, SC. This opportunity is about much more than basketball for both squads, and Thad Matta and Buzz Williams both made it clear that this trip will also give their players a deeper appreciation for the military. In fact, the 4,000 seats that have been set up for the game will mostly be filled by military personnel, making this is very unique experience for all those involved. Still, at the end of the day, this spectacle is about basketball. A year ago in the Carrier Classic, the first time this sort of event was attempted, both North Carolina and Michigan State struggled greatly offensively. One would imagine a similar type game for these two teams tonight. Besides playing outside and being in such a unique environment, both the Buckeyes and Golden Eagles will take the court with much different teams than they had a year ago. The Buckeyes lost guys like Jared Sullinger and William Buford, who were a big part of the run to the Final Four. Williams' Eagles are now without
Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, the Big East Player of the Year. Those two combined for 35.8 points and 11.9 rebounds per game last year, and helped lead them to the Sweet Sixteen. They'll also be without sophomore guard Todd Mayo, who was declared academically ineligible this week. So, needless to say, both teams will be looking for an identity tonight. While it is tough to predict exactly what this matchup will look like when the dust settles and how these teams will look on a national stage in game one, here's what I'll be looking for tonight.
Dave Thurman (8:52 am)
The 2012-13 edition of the Ohio State Buckeye roundballers take to the court Friday night, hoping not to get sea sick or upstaged by the Marquette Warriors as they play on the USS Yorktown in the Carrier Classic. Although most of us are still very much in the football frame of mind, hoops season is upon us, and it might just be another enjoyable ride.
Last year's squad made it all the way to the Final Four, finishing 31-8, and coming within an eyelash of the championship game. Yet in spite of the success at times the team seemed to underachieve. Senior William Buford went into a well documented shooting funk, rarely hitting key shots when they were needed most. Meanwhile, Jared Sullinger had moments when he seemed to suffer from a sophomore slump, and some nights looked to be forcing shots out of frustration. Still that duo will be sorely missed, as Buford not only averaged 14,5 ppg, but also 5.0 rpg, and 2.7 apg. He usually found ways to contribute even when his shot was errant. As for Sully, in spite of being double teamed and beat up by opponents, he averaged 17.5 ppg and 9.2 rpg. Without doubt this year's team will need to be more balanced, with two of the three big guns having moved on.
So what can we expect from this year's team? Will Thad Matta play more than a seven man rotation, for which he is famous? Can this group make another run at the Final Four? Let's take a moment to get acquainted with the 2012-13 Buckeyes before the ball is tossed into the air and another long season begins.
Drew Thurman (5:27 pm) @osusilverbulletIf you haven't noticed, the Buckeyes aren't the only ones taking advantage of the bye week. Things have been a little crazy for our staff, and thus the blog has been a bit slow this week. We've got plenty coming your way the rest of the week though, including lots of basketball coverage. Enough about us though. There's plenty of action going on in Buckeye Nation, so let's get to it. Miler's Heisman Hopes
Even though the 2012 Buckeyes are unable to play for a National Championship, B1G Title or even a bowl game, that won't keep the players and coaches from being able to grab awards and postseason accolades. In fact, one of the most intriguing stories has been Braxton Miller's Heisman chances. With 1,753 receiving and 1,166 yards rushing for a combined 27 touchdowns, Miller is definitely looking at a chance to make it to New York. Currently ESPN has him in 5th
Penn State got Shaziered!
Dave Thurman (9:27 am) @Dkthurman7Confession is Good for the Soul:
Confession time. I picked Penn State to defeat the Buckeyes last Saturday in a close one, as I thought the injuries, poor tackling, and life on the edge would finally catch up to OSU. I admit my lack of faith in a team that has consistently found a way to win, and in that way, has somewhat mirrored the Ohio State team of a decade ago, that wasn't pretty but always came out on top. But then again, I do live by the adage, "There's no such thing as a disappointed pessimist."
In many ways I think the PSU victory was the best of the season, and was the product of good coaching, teamwork, hard-nosed effort, and help from the referees (okay I threw that last one in dripping with sarcasm due to all the crying by Penn State fans and bloggers).
Champions that were identified by Urban Meyer at his Monday press conference
were three offensive linemen (you can guess which ones but I'm assuming one isn't Marcus Hall), Jake Stoneburner (who has responded to a heart-to-heart a couple weeks ago), Evan Spencer, Carlos Hyde; and, Braxton Miller who was the offensive player of the game. On defense only two guys graded out as champions, Ryan Shazier (who had a monster game) and Bradley Roby and they were co-defensive players of the week. Although he had no catches at PSU, Devin Smith took home special teams player of the game for his work as a gunner on the punt team. Meyer called Smith "the fastest player on the team", a fact Roby may wish to dispute. In addition, Adam Griffin was awarded the scarlet short for extra effort in Saturday's game.
Meyer was noticeably tired at the Monday press conference but was effusive in his praise of what he called "a special team." He gave a nice shout our to Chase Farris, who he said is "on fire", praising his development since his move from defensive line to offensive line. He also mentioned how much improvement there has been from Zach Boren since his mid-season move to linebacker, but in typical Meyer fashion moved from compliment to challenge, saying he was disappointed that Boren didn't grade out as a champion, noting he has to get better. For me that is the essence of what makes Urban great. He walks that fine line between lifting players up with positive praise, and challenging them to dig deeper and get better. And he seems to know when each is needed most.
(AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
The No. 4 ranked Buckeyes took the floor for the first time tonight, facing off in an exhibition against Walsh for yet another year. The Cavaliers got off to a hot start leading the new look Ohio State squad for much of the first half. Finally, OSU would take over, scoring 17 of the final 20 points to lead at halftime 39-30. They would cruise in the second half to an 83-71 victory in front of a crowd of just over 13,000 at Value City Arena. It was preseason All-American Deshaun Thomas that did the most damage, scoring 25 point and adding six rebounds. The biggest surprise may have been LaQuinton Ross though, who got the start and scored 13 points.
Sam Thompson and Evan Ravenel both had 11 points. Matta played 10 total players on the night. After the break you can catch the post-game comments