Ohio State vs. William & Mary
Where: Value City Arena
TV: BTN Plus
Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (63 stations), Sirius 135/XM 195, WBNS-FM (97.1)
Records: Ohio State 6-3; Michigan 7-2
G C.J. Jackson, 6-1, Jr., 13.2
G Kam Williams, 6-2, Sr., 6.3
G Jae’Sean Tate, 6-4, Sr., 13.3
F Keita Bates-Diop, 6-7, Jr., 17.4
C Kaleb Wesson, 6-9, Fr., 11.7
Key reserves: G Musa Jallow, 6-5, Fr., 4.9; G Andrew Dakich, 6-2, Gr., 2.5; F Andre Wesson, 6-6, So., 1.9; F Kyle Young, 6-8, Fr., 2.4; C Micah Potter, 6-9, So., 5.3 (injured)
William & Mary
G David Cohn, 6-2, Sr., 10.9
G Matt Milon, 6-5, So., 15.0
G Connor Burchfield, 6-4, Sr., 13.1
F Nathan Knight, 6-10, So., 20.3
G/F Justin Pierce, 6-7, So., 14.4
Key reserves: G Luke Loewe, 6-4, Fr., 1.3; Paul Rowley, 6-8, Jr., 6.1; G/F Oliver Tot, 6-6, Sr., 2.0; G/F Jihar Williams, 6-5, Fr., 2.3;
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann has talked up today’s opponent, and it’s been more than the usual worry of a coach trying to make everyone take a game against a non-marquee opponent seriously. As he put it, some of their statistics look like they’re part of a game show.
The Tribe is second in the nation in three-point shooting percentage at 47.3 percent, fifth in free-throw percentage at 80.9 percent and 20th in field-goal percentage at 50.8 percent. No other team in the country is among the top 25 in all three categories, and they are eighth nationally in effective field-goal percentage according to KenPom.com.
It means that with a prolific shooting team coming to what figures to be a less-than-energetic Value City Arena for a noon game during finals at Ohio State, Holtmann’s on full upset alert after having won two straight to open Big Ten play.
“William & Mary presents a lot of problems,” Holtmann said Friday morning. “You look at their numbers and it’s like a game show. They are 47 percent from three, they’re (eighth) in the country in effective field goal percentage. When you’re through eight games right now and shooting 47 percent from three and you’re taking a lot, that ability to spread you out is impressive. They’ve got a really good big kid who leads them in scoring and they’ve got terrific shooters around him.
“It’s a lot for us to be aware of. We’re going to need to have great attention to detail and we’re going to need to weather some three-point barrages. It’s a great test for it. They’re one of the better non-conference teams we’re going to play and certainly one of the harder non-conference teams we’re going to have to guard with their ability to spread you out.”
Defensively, the Buckeyes held Michigan to 8.3 percent three-point shooting during the second half of Monday’s home win as they put together their comeback. They also held Wisconsin to 28.6 percent three-point shooting in the first half of last Saturday’s game in building a stunning, 23-point halftime lead.
Those two halves give Ohio State some sense of how they will need to defend William & Mary’s perimeter game.
“They’re a good team,” junior point guard C.J. Jackson said. “We know they shoot the three-point shot really well. We’re trying to get our defensive schemes down, sharpen things on offense and be ready to play at noon. (We need to have) just a sense of urgency. We realize guys are going to make tough shots but we want to contest all shots and be there on the catch and make every basket tough for them.”
*Ten games into the season, I asked Holtmann about where Ohio State sits in three key analytical categories: adjusted offensive efficiency, adjusted defensive efficiency and turnover percentage. Entering today’s game, the Buckeyes are ranked 65th, 51st and 222nd, respectively, in those categories.
“This is about the time you can see real trends and patterns in your team and you have enough data to get a feel for where you’re at,” he said. “I think we have to continue to improve our defensive numbers. We’ve shown some improvement. Obviously tomorrow’s going to be an incredible test because of their offensive efficiency. That’s good, but it needs to get better and it needs to be consistently good. If we could be a top-40 defensive team that would be really good. Offensively that would be a goal as well. Then I would love to see at some point, our turnover percentage get into the mid-100s. I think we can do that, but you can’t turn it over 21 percent of the time and do that.
“It’s really been interesting, we’ve seen a lot of different defenses in this stretch of games, more than I’ve probably ever faced in my time as a head coach so that makes your players think and early in the season you have to be able to be organized and it just requires more thinking as opposed to going against the same defense every time. That’s been good growth for us to have seen as much as we’ve seen.”
* After playing six games in 11 days, this game is Ohio State’s only one in the span of 11 days.
*William & Mary coach Tony Shaver has 199 career wins.
*Senior Jae’Sean Tate passed John Havlicek in Monday’s win against Michigan on the all-time scoring list at Ohio State. He enters today at No. 35 with 1,227 points, one behind Larry Siegfried and 13 behind Ronnie Stokes.
*William & Mary was picked to finish eighth in the 10-team Colonial Athletic Association.
*Ohio State’s starting lineup against Michigan only played together for 5:42, and it was outscored 12-6. It’s the fewest minutes logged by a starting group in a game this season.
*Kam Williams had the best plus-minus rating among the Buckeyes against Michigan at plus-11. For the season, Bates-Diop leads the team at plus-115.
*Ohio State’s last six teams had an average KenPom national ranking of 48.8. These next three teams have an average of 225.3.
What does KenPom say?
According to the advanced statistics of KenPom.com, Ohio State has a 90 percent chance to win today’s game. After climbing three spots to No. 58 in the national rankings after the Michigan win, Ohio State is projected to beat William & Mary by a score of 87-72. The Tribe is ranked No. 186 in the country.
In today's Dispatch, C.J. Jackson discusses the message Holtmann sent by benching him and how he's responded.
At 7-3 overall, the Buckeyes have started the season with some confidence.
Jae'Sean Tate is healthy for today's game. That and more in Friday afternoon's notebook.
Holtmann and assistant coach Ryan Pedon took in the home opener for Garfield Heights, Ohio, on Tuesday night. They saw some future talent and some of the NBA's best and have the Garfield Heights coach talking about a pipeline to the program.
Here's how the Buckeyes overcame a 20-point deficit to Michigan.