Ohio State vs. The Citadel
When: 7 p.m. TODAY
Where: Value City Arena
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (63 stations), Sirius 137/XM 195, WBNS-FM (97.1)
Records: Ohio State 9-3; The Citadel 5-6
G C.J. Jackson, 6-1, Jr., 13.0
G Kam Williams, 6-2, Sr., 7.3
G Jae’Sean Tate, 6-4, Sr., 13.3
F Keita Bates-Diop, 6-7, Jr., 18.3
C Kaleb Wesson, 6-9, Fr., 12.5
Key reserves: C Micah Potter, 6-9, So., 4.6; G Musa Jallow, 6-5, Fr., 4.3; G Andrew Dakich, 6-2, Gr., 2.9; F Andre Wesson, 6-6, So., 2.3; F Kyle Young, 6-8, Fr., 2.4
G Frankie Johnson, 5-9, So., 7.5
G Tariq Simmons, 6-0, Fr., 13.5
G Kaelon Harris, 6-4, So., 10.3
F Hayden Brown, 6-8, Fr., 6.8
C Zane Najdawi, 6-7, Jr., 8.4
Key reserves: G Matt Frierson, 6-1, Jr., 11.5; G Quayson Williams, 5-11, Jr., 5.7; G Rob Johnson, 6-8, Fr., 5.2; F Alex Reed, 6-5, Fr., 4.3
Ohio State didn’t hold interviews in advance of this game, so Chris Holtmann’s only public thoughts on tonight’s opponent came as part of Monday night’s call-in radio show that he missed the first half of.
“They are a really aggressive, fast team that is going to test us in terms of our ability to handle the ball,” Holtmann said on the show. “Their turnover percentage defensively is high. That’s something we all know we’ve struggled with this year. They will play a mixture of defenses. You could see as many as five different defenses in a given night. A really free-flowing, up and down pace. I know this coach well. He does a really good job with putting his players in creative positions offensively. He formerly coached at VMI. Our practice (Monday) was a lot of that.”
The Citadel is the worst-ranked team on Ohio State’s schedule this season. Nationally, it is third in total steals (132), steals per game (12.0) and turnovers forced per game (21.4) as well as fourth in three-point field goals made per game (11.6), fifth in three-point field goals attempted (367), seventh in turnover margin (+6.5) and tied for ninth in total three-pointers made (128).
But teams are scoring 89.6 points per game against the Bulldogs which is the third-worst mark in all of Division I. Three teams have cracked 100 points, and The Citadel has allowed a staggering 132 points in a loss to Virginia Tech in the second game of the season.
Take out the three non-Division-I opponents the Bulldogs have faced this year, and they are allowing 97.6 points per game. They have not held a Division I team below 72 points.
The Bulldogs were picked to finish tied for seventh in the 11-team Southern Conference in the coaches’ preseason poll and eighth in the media poll.
*The Buckeyes were out-rebounded by Appalachian State on Saturday, making it the first time they lost the rebounding battle and won this season. The Mountaineers won that category 34-30.
The other times Ohio State didn’t win the rebounding battle: vs. Gonzaga in the PK80 Invitational (31-35) and a draw with Clemson (30-30).
*Ohio State tied a season high by forcing 18 turnovers against Appalachian State. It also forced Robert Morris into 18 giveaways in the season opener and William & Mary into the same number in the game prior to Appalachian State.
*Kyle Young played 13 minutes and Micah Potter played one against the Mountaineers after both missing the William & Mary game with ankle injuries. They are likely to shoulder more minutes tonight.
“I’d expect Micah to play more (tonight),” Holtmann said on his call-in show. “Part of it is his injury was more significant and I’ve got to figure out now that we have healthy bodies, you can’t necessarily play 10 guys all the time. I’ve got to figure out how to work with our rotation. Micah said it felt as good as it felt so I’d expect his minutes will get increased, and Kyle’s will as well.”
Potter’s was a high-ankle sprain and Young’s was a regular ankle sprain.
“He’s not at 100 percent,” Holtmann said of Potter. “He practiced (Monday) about as well as he’s practiced as far as feeling healthy.”
It’s worth noting that in his first three games before being injured during the second half of the fourth game of the year, Potter was averaging 11.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in 21.3 minutes per game.
*Bates-Diop has the best individual plus-minus rating on the team for the season at plus-168, followed by Tate at plus-151 and Jackson at plus-141. The best ratings from the Appalachian State game, though, go to Kaleb Wesson at plus-17 and Dakich at plus-15.
*The Buckeyes tied a season high against the Mountaineers with 19 different lineups comprised exclusively of recruited scholarship players. The starting lineup of Bates-Diop, Jackson, Tate, Kaleb Wesson and Williams was plus-4 (24 points scored, 20 allowed) in a combined 10:59 of playing time.
Holtmann’s substitutions were unique for this season. For example: with a 16-point lead and 3:45 to play, he made a substitution to put all of his starters on the court. Bates-Diop, who is unquestionably the star of the team, wasn’t removed until 29 seconds remained and the lead was 15 points.
*Ohio State has recorded more assists than turnovers in each of its last five games, their longest such stretch of the season.
What does KenPom say?
According to the advanced statistics of KenPom.com, Ohio State has a 99 percent chance to win today’s game. After remaining at No. 48 in the national rankings following the win against Appalachian State, Ohio State is projected to beat The Citadel by a score of 101-75. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 316 in the country.
Columbus has submitted a bid to host a regional of The Basketball Tournament. A Dispatch exclusive.
'Member Texas-Arlington? The Buckeyes do, and they don't want the Bulldogs to taste the same success tonight.
Check in with former Ohio State players including A.J. Harris, Mickey Mitchell and Marc Loving in this roundup.
The Appalachian State game was memorable for the mid-game arena evacuation. Here's what happened, plus lots of on-court notes in the postgame blog.