Date: Saturday, January 4, 2003
Time: 2:00 PM EST
Site: Value City Arena, Columbus OH (19,200)
Mark Jones, play-by-play;
Larry Conley, analyst;
Radio: WHAS (840 AM)
Series History: Ohio State leads the series 4-3 Louisville (U of L is 3-2 in Louisville, 0-2 in Columbus).
Last Meeting: UL 66, OSU 61 (12/15/01)
National Rankings: unranked AP, unranked USA Today/ESPN; Louisville is 24th AP, 26th USA Today/ESPN
Significant injuries - OSU, out C/F T. Dials (back) U of L, None
2002-03 Season Averages (OSU - OPP – Opponent)
- 70.7 PPG – 65.8 PPG
- 44.6% FG (237-531) – 43.5% FG (233-535)
- 39.1% 3 pt (63-161) – 37.1% 3 pt (73-197)
- 32.8 Reb – 30.5 Reb
- A/T 138-152– A/T 126-149
- Steals 47 - 63
- Blocks 21 - 34
- Coach: Name. Jim O'Brian 102-57 in 5 years at OSU 337-274 over 20 year
- 2001-02 record: 24-8(11-5 in the Big 10)Home: 15-2, Away: 5-5, Neutral:
4-1. Season ended in a loss to Missouri 83-67 in second round of NCAA West
- 2002-03 record: 7-3(0-0 in the Big 10)Home: 7-0, Away: 0-1, Neutral: -2. The Buckeyes suffered back to back neutral court loses to Alabama and Duke. OSU's 3rd loss came on the home floor of Pittsburgh back on December 18th. The Buckeyes put a hurt on common foe Seton Hall 3 days after the loss to Pitt.
The young Cards take their up tempo show on the road and are in for their biggest test to date in OSU. Not because the Buckeyes are a great team. They aren't. Not because the Cards are struggling to shoot. They aren't. Not because the Cards are left flat footed and confused on defense. They aren't, just ask Kentucky. No, here's why. The Cards have yet to play in front of 19,200+ rabid fans that may turn the team bus over if the Buckeyes lose. Or win. Depends on the Fiesta bowl outcome and how many want to take the loss out on U of L. Or if they win, will they be happy and calm? Doubt it. This is OSU we are talking about here.
OSU is guard dominated by Darby and Connelly and took a big hit on the already thin front court when starting big man Terrance Dials went down with and injured back. Backup Velimir Radinovic has played admirably, but is prone to turnovers after teams play slapdown defense on him. Zack Willams rebounds well but is prone to fouls and if he gets in trouble, the Bucks don't have much to turn to with confidence.
Bottom line? Shut Darby down and make someone else beat you. Keep the Buckeyes off the free throw line especially Darby, Connelly and Radinovic (72.3% as a team). Keep the ball in Connelly's hands as much as possible as he is a spot shooter and not a great passer. Avoid the tick-tack fouls as OSU has shot 57 more free throws than their opponents on the season. As Coach Pitino says, go to the body and wear them down in the first half as the Buckeyes appear to be a second half team (330-377 pph), but then again seems as if they have lapse in defense in the second half as their opponents pick up their scoring pace (302-356 pph).
After a slow start, and a run by the Buckeyes look for the Cards to shake off the big win against the Cats and get down to business against the Bucks. The Cards seemingly endless bench will once again play solid and wear down it's thinner opponent. Gaines will frustrate OSU's Brent Darby all day and new faces that everyone has been looking for all season will shine as Kendall Dartez and Prelieu Davis will finally show what they can do against big time competition. The Cards win in a ho-hum game, 75-68
Ohio State Probable Starters
- Brent Darby 6'1, G, #04 (36.9 min 17.7 ppg 4.5 rpg)
- Sean Connolly 6'5, G, #03 (38.0 min 15.6 ppg 3.9 rpg)
- Zach Williams 6'7, F, #33 (35.4 min 11.3 ppg 6.2 rpg)
- Velimir Radinovic 7'0, C, #14 ( 23.9 min 7.9 ppg 5.1 rpg)
- Matt Sylvester 6'7, F, #40 (18.2 min 5.2 ppg 1.8 rpg)
NOTE:OSU's starters are subject to change
Key Reserves Average more than 10 minutes
- Emonte Jernigan 6'2, G, # 20 (19.3 min 5.5 ppg 1.9 rpg)
- Ohio State has won its last four games after a loss to No. 4 Pittsburgh on
the road Dec. 18. The Buckeyes also are on a 7-game win streak in Value City
Arena, all this season.
- No. 24 Louisville will be the 14th opponent to visit Value City Arena with
an AP national ranking since the facility opened in 1998. Ohio State has won
11 of 13 previous games against ranked foes at home under head coach Jim
O'Brien at Value City Arena. The Buckeyes were 4-1 in 1998-99, 1-0 in
1999-00, 3-1 in 2000-01 and 3-0 in 2001-02 against ranked teams at home.
Losses have No. 9 Kansas (2000) and No. 12 Iowa (1999) are the only ranked
teams to claim victory at VCA.
- Ohio State has played all but three members of the current alignment of
Conference USA teams. Only East Carolina, N.C.-Charlotte and Southern
Mississippi have never met the Buckeyes. Ohio State has the most wins over
St. Louis (11) and has an even or winning record against 10 of the league's
14 member schools.
- Seniors Brent Darby and Sean Connolly are among the Big Ten leaders in several categories. Darby is No. 2 in assists per game (5.20), No. 3 in scoring (17.7 ppg.), No. 5 in steals per game (1.90) and No. 7 in 3-point shooting percentage (.440/22-50). Connolly is No. 3 in 3-pointers made (2.60 pg.), No. 5 in free throw percentage (.846/22-46), No. 10 in scoring (15.6 ppg.) and No. 10 in 3-poi