Sat. Feb 15, 7 p.m. CT - Champaign, Ill. - State Farm Center (16,618)
Big Ten Network - Brian Anderson, Shon Morris
Notes (per OSU sports info):
Defense Clicking for Buckeyes:
Ohio State did not allow an opponent to reach 70 points this season over the first 15 games before No. 5 Michigan State reached 72 in an overtime win Jan. 7. The 15-game streak to start the season without an opponent scoring 70 or more points was the longest for Ohio State since a 22-game streak during the 2010-11 season from Nov. 20, 2010 to Feb. 6, 2011. The Buckeyes were 22-0 over that streak. Ohio State has held 15 of the last 19 Big Ten opponents under 70 points dating back to Feb. 20, 2013. In 12 of those games, the opponent was held to 60 or fewer points. No. 4 Michigan State scored 60 in a 68-60 loss to the No. 18 Buckeyes in Columbus Feb. 24, 2013. The first, all-time, team to score 70 points in a game vs. the Buckeyes was New York University in an overtime NCAA tournament game March 25, 1945. Ohio State lost in the Final Four 70-65 at Madison Square Garden. Marquette was the first team to score 70 points vs. Ohio State in a regular- season game. The Golden Eagles fell to Ohio State in Milwaukee 83-70 Dec. 13, 1947. The first team to score 70 against the Buckeyes in Columbus was DePaul, who defeated the Buckeyes 70-68 Dec. 3, 1949 in the season opener. Since the 1949-50 season, Ohio State's longest streak of holding op- ponents under 70 points is 32 games from Dec. 5, 1949 to Dec. 30, 1950. Thad Matta teams have three of the top four longest streaks in Ohio State history holding opponents under 70 points. The 15-game streak this season of not allowing an op- ponent to reach 70 points this season (15-0) is the fourth longest all-time in Ohio State history.
Craft Among Senior CLASS Award Finalists:
Aaron Craft was named a finalist for the 2014 Se- nior CLASS award Feb. 12. Fans have a vote in selecting the 2014 Senior CLASS Award winner in men's basketball at http://go.osu.edu/Vote4AC. Thirty men's basketball student-athletes were named candidates at the start of the season. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of ex- cellence - community, classroom, character and competition. Media, coaches and fans will select the winner, who will be announced at the 2014 Final Four. Craft, a two-time first team academic All-American, is the third Buckeye in the last four years to make the initial list of candidates. David Lighty (2011) and William Buford (2012) each advanced to make the final list of 10 finalists.
Matta Extends Streak vs. Non-Conference Foes:
Thad Matta has directed Ohio State to at least 10 wins during non-conference play in each of his 10 seasons in Columbus. Matta is 133-23 vs. non- conference competition at Ohio State and 136-56 vs. Big Ten foes (regular season and Big Ten tournament games) for an overall record of 269-79. In 14 seasons as a head coach (1 at Butler, 3 at Xavier and 10 at Ohio State) Matta is 139-58 vs. the Big Ten. He has winning records vs. 10 league teams: ILL (13-5), IND (11-7), Iowa (12-5), MICH (17-5), MINN (10-6), NW (15-1), PSU (17-1), PUR (16-6), NEB (6-1) and WIS (12-11). Matta is 10-10 vs. Michigan State.
LaQuinton Ross: F, 6-8, 220, Jr. - 14.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg
Lenzelle Smith Jr: G, 6-4, 210, Sr. - 12.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Aaron Craft: G, 6-2, 195, Sr. - 9.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Amir Williams: C, 6-11, 25-, Jr. - 9.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Sam Thompson: F, 6-7, 200, Jr. - 7.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Off the bench:
Shannon Scott: G, 6-1, 185, Jr. - 7.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Marc Loving: F, 6-7, 215, Fr. - 5.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Amedeo Della Valle: G, 6-5, 190, So. - 4.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Trey McDonald: C, 6-8, 240, Jr. - 1.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Series Record: Illinois leads 104-72
Series Streak: Ohio State W-2
Record at Champaign: Illinois leads 61-25
Series Streak at Champaign: Illinois W-2
Last Meeting: ? #17/15 Ohio State 62, Illinois 55 (Jan. 23, 2014 at Columbus)
Groce vs. Ohio State: 1-2
Aaron Craft (I know, I know, you're tired of hearing about the guy) is Ohio State's all-time assist leader with 648 for his career. His four assists against Penn State on Jan. 29) made Craft the first Ohio State player to record 100-plus assists in four consecutive seasons.
Illinois coach john Groce: "Scott and Craft steal the show with how good they are defending the ball, but they've got some other guys that defend the ball well, also. They've got a great team defense."