NCAA Notebook: Buford Aiming For Improvement

What - if anything - was wrong with William Buford in Milwaukee? What sort of effect will playing in a dome have on Ohio State's shooting? Where did Dallas Lauderdale come up with the name for his Twitter account? The answers to these questions and more are in this notebook.

ST. LOUIS – He has averaged 12.5 points per game, but William Buford is not pleased with how he has played thus far in the NCAA Tournament.

The sophomore guard has been Ohio State's second-leading scorer this season, but he was held to nine points in his team's 75-66 second-round victory against Georgia Tech. That total was good for fourth-best among the Buckeyes.

Asked if he is pleased with his recent play, Buford said, "No, not at all. We've been winning so I really can't complain, but individually I think I can do a lot more to help my team win."

In Buford's eyes, that means getting his outside jumper to fall. He shot 43.9 percent (192 for 437) for the season and was 10 for 21 (47.6 percent) in wins against UC Santa Barbara and Georgia Tech.

In other words, Buford has some tough standards for himself.

"Shots weren't falling in some games so I was going for the rebounds and trying to help my teammates," he said. "I'll just be patient and see what the defense is giving me. Most of the time if my shot's not falling I try to get to the glass and get to the free-throw line and get my shot going.

"Every player on the team is important for what we need to get accomplished. I'm going to try to do whatever I can do to help my teammates win."

That might mean shooting with a defender in his face. The Volunteers start four players listed at 6-7 or taller, but Buford has not shied away from taking shots despite being guarded. Following his team's 60-57 victory Feb. 17 against OSU, Purdue head coach Matt Painter listed Buford as one player whose game is not affected by any level of defense.

Told of that compliment, Buford smiled.

"I'm not going to change my game for any team," he said. "I'm just going to try to play my game and if I feel that I can make the shot, which is every shot that I take, then I'm going to take it."

Dome, Sweet Dome: For some shooters, an appearance in a dome can prove to be their undoing.

The Buckeyes are obviously hoping that is not the case for their sharpshooters. Three-pointers accounted for 30.0 percent of their scoring this season, with junior guard Jon Diebler leading the way. His 115 treys this season are a program record, and he downplayed the thought that playing in the Edward Jones Dome would have an effect on his shooting.

"It might be weird at first when you walk in just to see how bit it is, but when you're playing you don't really think about it that much," he said. "You just really focus on the rim. If you just go out and play your game and play the way that coach wants you to, you'll be all right."

Diebler pointed out that OSU played in a dome last season when it faced Notre Dame at Lucas Oil Stadium as part of the Hartford Hall of Fame Classic.

As a freshman, David Lighty said he could remember walking into San Antonio's Alamodome while taking part in the Sweet 16 and being in awe of the open space. However, he too said it does not have much of an effect on a shooter.

"We're all basketball players," he said. "There's just a lot more people in the stands and a lot more space behind the hoop. I don't think the depth perception messes with you too much. You just focus on the rim and play the game.

"The first two or three shots it might be a little difficult, but after that you get used to it quickly."

Some Final Thoughts: These quotes will be rendered useless once the ball is tossed tonight, so here are some extra thoughts from the Tennessee locker room.

Senior guard Bobby Maze: "We feel like we're the underdog team. So many people have been doubting us and we feel like we don't get the credit that we deserve. We came to the tournament and they said we were going to be the first team to exit. When we beat Ohio they said Georgetown did us a favor and now the rankings come out and they say we're the 16th-best team left.

"Honestly, I want to thank these guys for giving us more fuel. The only way to prove to everybody that we deserve to be here is at 7 o'clock."

Senior forward Wayne Chism, on how the Vols will attack OSU: "Just doing what you do. Just don't go overboard. Stay patient with what you do on offense and stay together. That's the big thing you have to do to come out with a win against these guys."

Senior guard J.P. Prince on if his team's height will help in guarding the Buckeyes: "Maybe it helps contesting shots, but I think it helps more offensively than it does defensively. Shooters are shooters. I don't really think it will affect them. If they get their feet set, they feel pretty confident. I don't think Diebler is worried about us running out. If he gets his feet set, I'm sure he thinks it's going to go in. I think it helps us more offensively and rebound-wise."

Holding Court – In Cyberspace: Junior center Dallas Lauderdale's reach extends beyond the basketball court. The junior center likes to share his opinions on the world at large on his Twitter page.

One regular feature sees Lauderdale questioning what he perceives to be everyday mistakes average people make. Thursday, he wondered why some people still smell after they take showers and why others wear band-aids on their face in an attempt to look like the rapper Nelly.

"That's what Twitter is for – just being a funny guy," he said, adding, "It's a good way to keep up with friends. It's fun, telling people what you're doing."

Lauderdale's user name is RaheemAkbar52 – something he created off the top of his head at his sister's request, he said.

"I just came up with it," Lauderdale said. "My sister was pressuring me to get on Twitter. I said, ‘OK, if you're going to pressure me make my name Raheem Akbar.' That's the first name that popped in my head."

You can follow Lauderdale on Twitter at

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