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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

2011-12 BIG Basketball Preview: Ohio St.

As a freshman Jared Sullinger was a man
among boys. It's scary to think what he
can accomplish in his sophomore year.
Coach: Thad Matta – 190-57 (.769)
Lost
:  G/F David Lighty, G Jon Diebler, F Dallas Lauderdale
Returning: F Jared Sullinger (So), G William Buford (Sr), G Aaron Craft (So), F DeShaun Thomas (So), G Jordan Sibert (So)
New faces: C  Amir Williams(77), PG Shannon Scott(53), SF Sam Thompson(50), PF Trey McDonald


Preview: To say the Big Ten is Ohio St.’s to lose would be an understatement.  Just like every other contender, the Buckeyes lost several contributing players. The key is what’s returning. Unanimously selected as the pre-season Big Ten POY, Jared Sullinger hopes to improve upon last season’s dominant performance.  Sullinger made 55% of his twos while posting an excellent 65.1 free throw rate (FT attempts divided by FG attempts).  Add to that his incredible rebounding ability and you have the number one candidate for national player of the year.  The only aspect he really needs to improve is his midrange game and the early rumors out of Columbus say he’s lost several pounds with an emphasis on playing away from the basket more. Scary.  I’m sure I wasn’t the only person surprised with the news of William Buford returning this season.  Buford is another excellent shooter (44% on 3’s last year) who plays good defense and can run the point in a pinch.  He’s a great compliment to Sullinger.  Point guard Aaron Craft enters his sophomore year as perhaps the most hated player in the conference. His on-ball defense can be described as a real invasion of personal space, harassing players into silly mistakes.  DeShaun Thomas could have declared for the NBA draft also but probably wanted to come back just to show he can be a significant contributor as he only played in about 30% of total minutes last year.  He’s long and athletic so expect That Matta to be able to use him just fine.  If all of this wasn’t enough reason for optimism, Ohio State also brings in one of the nation’s top recruiting classes. Amir Williams and Shannon Scott could start right away while Sam Thompson and Trey McDonald could be key reserves. Ohio State is sitting pretty and I'm expecting a deep Tournament run.
Shot in the dark at the starting the 5:
PG Aaron Craft
SG William Buford
F DeShaun Thomas
F Jared Sullinger
C Amir Williams
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