No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes (15-2, 3-1) at Illinois Fighting Illini (14-3, 3-1)
Site: Assembly Hall (16,618)
Game Time: 9 p.m. ET
Talent: Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Dan Dakich (expert analysis)
Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (56 stations)
Satellite Radio: Sirius-91, XM-91
Local Radio: WBNS FM-97.1 AM-1460
Radio Talent: Paul Keels (play-by-play), Ron Stokes (expert analysis)
Buford Reaches 100 Wins as a Buckeye
Senior William Buffordreached career win No. 100 as a Buckeye at Iowa Jan. 7. David Lighty (2007-11) holds the Ohio State record for wins with 129. Walk-ons Mark Titus and Danny Peters were part of Ohio State’s program for 110 victories over their careers (2007-10). The four-year record for victories by scholarship players was originally set by Jamar Butler and Matt Terwilliger from 2005-08 with 105. The 2009 team had 107 wins from 2006-09 but there were no four-year seniors on that squad.
Sullinger Named B1G Player of the Week
Sophomore Jared Sullinger was named the Big Ten Player of the Week Jan. 9 after averaging a double-double in wins over Nebraska and Iowa with 23.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. He recorded 19 points and 12 rebounds in Ohio State’s 71-40 win over Nebraska before pouring in 28 points, eight rebounds and four steals in the Buckeyes’ 76-47 road win at Iowa. This is Sullinger’s fifth career Player of the Week award and first this season.
Craft In Top 20 for Cousy Award
Sophomore Aaron Craft is among 20 candidates for the Bob Cousy Award after the list was trimmed from an initial pool of 60 candidates. The annual honor, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in college basketball. This current list of candidates will be narrowed down to a final 10 by Feb. 1 and final five by March 1. Craft currently leads the Buckeyes in assists (86) and steals (44).
Defense Clicks in last two outings
Ohio State’s last two opponents have both recorded more turnovers than field goals. Against Nebraska Jan. 3, Ohio State forced 17 turnovers while the Cornhuskers scored 16 field goals. In the win at Iowa, the Buckeyes had a hand in 20 Hawkeye miscues while Iowa managed 17 made field goals. For the week, Ohio State forced 37 turnovers while opponents tallied 33 field goals. The Buckeyes connected on 53 percent of their shots (63-120) while foes scored at a 31 percent clip (33-105). The Buckeyes recorded 85 rebounds while opponents grabbed 52. The Buckeyes’ average margin of victory last week was 30 points (73.5-43.5). Since Thad Matta took over the program in 2004-05, Ohio State teams have forced 24 opponents into more turnovers than it scored. Four times the Buckeyes have done so against Big Ten foes, once vs. Michigan in 2009 (21 TOs/15 FGs), twice vs. Iowa (23/22 in 2011 and 20/17 2012) and vs. Nebraska (17/16 in 2012).
The Buckeyes in the Big Ten
The Buckeyes rank No. 2 in both scoring offense (78.0 ppg.) and scoring defense (54.9 ppg.) after a 15-2 overall start. Ohio State’s scoring margin of 23.1 ppg. leads the league while the .496 field goal shooting percentage rates in the No. 2 spot. Led by Jared Sullinger, Ohio State is among the Top 2 teams in rebounding offense (37.9 rpg., No. 2) and rebounding defense (29.1 rpg., No. 1). Overall, the Buckeyes are No. 2 in rebound margin (+8.8 rpg.). Behind Aaron Craft, Ohio State is the leader in assists (17.4 apg.) and turnover margin (+6.4) on the year among Big Ten teams. The Buckeyes also have the highest attendance in the league with 15,642 attending on average this season.
100 Years in Big Ten
Ohio State celebrates 100 years as a member of the Big Ten Conference in men’s basketball in 2012. The Buckeyes finished in the No. 6 spot in the 1913 conference standings, the first season of league play. Over the 99 previous seasons, Ohio State has earned 19 Big Ten regular-season titles with 23 NCAA tournament appearances, one national championship (1960) and nine trips to the Final Four. Eight former coaches and players are members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame while nearly 50 student-athletes have been drafted by National Basketball Association teams, including 22 in the first round.