Ohio State vs. Clemson
7:15 p.m. TODAY
Where: Value City Arena
Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (63 stations); Sirius 81/XM 81; WBNS-FM (97.1), AM (1460)
Records: Ohio State 5-2; Clemson 5-1
G C.J. Jackson, 6-1, Jr., 14.0
G Musa Jallow, 6-5, Fr., 5.6
F Jae’Sean Tate, 6-4, Sr., 13.7
F Keita Bates-Diop, 6-7, Jr., 16.9
C Kaleb Wesson, 6-9, Fr., 10.5
Key reserves: G Kam Williams, 6-2, Sr., 6.7; G Andrew Dakich, 6-2, Gr., 2.9; C Micah Potter, 6-9, So., 6.2; F Andre Wesson, 6-6, So., 2.4; F Kyle Young, 6-8, Fr., 1.2
G Shelton Mitchell, 6-3, Jr., 11.8
G Marcquise Reed, 6-3, Jr., 11.7
G Gabe Devoe, 6-3, Sr., 11.0
F Donte Grantham, 6-8, Sr., 16.0
F Elijah Thomas, 6-9, Jr., 13.0
Key reserves: F/C Mark Donnal, 6-9, Gr., 5.3; F Aamir Simms, 6-7, Fr., 3.6; G Anthony Oliver II, 6-5, R-Fr., 1.6
After the most emotional game of Chris Holtmann’s coaching career, it’s back at it for the Buckeyes. Clemson comes to town for an ACC-Big Ten Challenge game that is expected to have a sizeable Ohio State student fan contingent on hand.
Clemson shoots 34.4 percent from three-point range and Ohio State is allowing teams to shoot 33.7 percent from deep. It’s an area Holtmann said the Buckeyes are focusing on.
“They’re really skilled,” he said of the Tigers. “They have four guys out on the floor that can really shoot the ball. They were outstanding offensively last year. They’ve got most everybody back. This year, they’re similar. They spread you out. They’ve got a terrific big guy and they’ve got shooters around him that can make plays with the ball in their hands and also can make threes. We’ve not defended the three as well as I would’ve hoped. Overall we’ve defended well. We have been pretty solid defensively. I wish we would defend the three better, because that’s going to be important (Wednesday).”
Williams, a fifth-year senior, said better communication is key to better team defense.
“We got messed up on a couple switches (against Butler),” he said. “We’ve got to keep boxing out, keep up the toughness plays because we know those kinds of plays are going to win us games, like 50-50 balls. Down the stretch they were getting a lot of offensive rebounds and tip-ins and balls that were just flying around everywhere. We feel like if we clean up that area of our game, get a little bit more tough, more physical, we should be fine.”
*Ohio State has lost three straight games in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Since beating unranked Maryland, ironically, 76-60 at Value City Arena on Dec. 4, 2013, the Buckeyes have lost at No. 5 Louisville (64-55), at home to No. 10 Virginia (64-58) and at No. 6 Virginia (63-61).
These teams have faced once before, and it came in this challenge. Clemson won that one, 80-73, on its home court.
*This is the fourth game in a stretch of six against high-level competition in the span of 11 days. Ohio State technically played Gonzaga and Stanford on the same day, Nov. 24, before playing Butler on Nov. 26. After tonight’s game, the Buckeyes go to Wisconsin for a Saturday game and host Michigan on Monday. The average national KenPom.com ranking for those six teams: 49.5. All six are top-100 teams.
*Ohio State guard Andrew Dakich and Clemson forward/center Andrew Donnal are both playing graduate transfer seasons after being teammates for the last four seasons at Michigan.
*During the PK80 Invitational, Jackson led the Buckeyes with an average of 18.0 points per game. He hit 13 of 14 free throws (92.9 percent) while in Portland.
*Tate is eighth nationally and second among Power 5 conference players 6-4 or shorter with 7.3 rebounds per game
*Ohio State is 232nd nationally in turnover percentage at 20.6 percent. The Buckeyes average 15.1 turnovers per game
*Dakich scored two points against Butler, giving him 20 for the season. That ties his career scoring mark while at Michigan, spread across three seasons.
*Tate has the best individual plus-minus rating on the roster at plus-85. Bates-Diop is second at plus-82, Jackson third at plus-81 and Potter at plus-52 (a number aided by not being able to play against Gonzaga due to injury).
*Keita Bates-Diop (16.9 PPG, 10.3 RPG) is one of two Big Ten players averaging in double figures in both categories. The other is Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy (22.0 PPG, 12.3 RPG).
What does KenPom say?
According to the advanced statistics of KenPom.com, Ohio State has a 53 percent chance to win today’s game. After remaining at No. 69 in the national rankings after the Butler loss, Ohio State is projected to beat Clemson by a score of 73-72. The Tigers are ranked No. 52 in the country.
After recent results, Holtmann is in search of a few closers for his team. Here's today's story on the Buckeyes looking for late-game lineups.
This figures to be one of the biggest student crowds in a long time. That, the latest on Micah Potter's injury and how the Buckeyes are putting the Butler loss behind them are in this online notebook.
Here are five things we learned about the Buckeyes from the PK80 Invitational.
Over at CBSSports.com, national college basketball writer Matt Norlander has an in-depth feature on Holtmann from the PK80. You can read there here.
Listen to the BuckeyeXtra Basketball podcast: