Buckeyes Home for Next 2 at Value City Arena

Jan. 21, 2014

Lenzelle Smith Jr. is one of two Buckeyes from the state of Illinois.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. is one of two Buckeyes from the state of Illinois.
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No. 17 Ohio State Buckeyes (15-4, 2-4) vs. the Illinois Fighting Illini (13-6, 2-4)

Date: Jan. 23, 2014
Site: Value City Arena (18,809)
Game Time: 7:02 p.m. ET
Television: ESPN
Talent: Joe Tessitore (play-by-play)
Sean Farnham (expert analysis)
Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (56 stations)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 91/XM 91
Local Radio: WBNS FM-97.1 AM-1460
Radio Talent: Paul Keels (play-by-play)
Ron Stokes (expert analysis)

Vote Thad Matta
Thad Matta is one of 48 Division I coaches participating in the third annual Coaches' Charity Challenge, a fan-vote contest, with the total contributions exceeding $300,000. Matta won the challenge in 2012 and 2013, earning $100,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. He is once again supporting RMHC. This year, the challenge will run for 10 weeks in a tournament-style contest. For the next three weeks, fans can vote once a day at VoteCoachMatta.comto help Matta advance to the round of 24. Votes will not carry over to the next round.

Craft Finalist for 2014 Collegiate Wooden Cup
Senior Aaron Craftis a finalist for the 2014 Collegiate Wooden Cup, given annually to a collegiate and a professional athlete who have made the greatest positive influence in the lives of others. Craft is one of five collegiate finalists for the award, which will be presented April 22 in Atlanta. A champion on the court, Craft also finds time to work with others in the Columbus community and abroad. He traveled to Haiti last summer on a mission trip, has volunteered at a local food bank and provided support to children suffering from life-threatening illnesses.

Craft Earns Big Ten Player of the Week
Aaron Craftreached 600 career assists with 10 helpers at Purdue to crack the Top 10 all-time in Big Ten history. He finished the first week of conference play with 14 assists, no turnovers and seven steals to lead Ohio State to a 2-0 start in Big Ten Conference play and an overall mark of 15-0. Craft averaged 8.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 3.5 steals and shot 50 percent from the field (7-14) in wins at Purdue (78-69) and at home vs. Nebraska (84-53).

The Illinois Series
Illinois leads the all-time series with Ohio State 101-66. Ohio State is 42-40 in Columbus. The Buckeyes are 23-11 vs. Illinois when ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. Thad Matta, since taking over the Ohio State program in 2004-05, is 12-5 against Illinois. Matta teams ranked against Illinois are 9-2, including a 5-0 record in Columbus. Aaron Craft is the lone Buckeye averaging double figures offensively vs. the Illini. The senior point guard averages 10.8 points in the series. He is making 51 percent of his field goal attempts (24-47) and 87 percent of his foul shots (13-15). Shannon Scott, a sophomore guard, is the leading Ohio State rebounder in the series with 5.0 rpg. Illinois is 2-7 at Value City Arena.

A Look at the Illini
Illinois opened the season with an 11-2 record in non-conference play. The Illini began Big Ten play with an overtime win vs. Indiana and another victory in Champaign over Penn State. Illinois has since lost four in a row, at Wisconsin and Northwestern and then at home to Purdue and Michigan State. Rayvonte Rice leads the team in scoring (17.4 ppg.) and rebounding (5.9 rpg.). Tracy Abrams adds 12.8 ppg and Joseph Bertrand 10.6 ppg.

Ohio State vs. The Big Ten
Ohio State is in its 102nd season as a member of the Big Ten Conference. The Buckeyes own an overall record of 757-677 against current league members. Thad Matta, in 14 seasons as a head coach, owns an overall record of 135-56 vs. league members, including a mark of 132-54 while coaching the Buckeyes.

Matta Extends Streak vs. Non-Conference Foes
Thad Mattahas directed Ohio State to at least 10 wins during non-conference play in each of his 10 seasons in Columbus. Matta is 133-23 vs. non-conference competition at Ohio State and 132-54 vs. Big Ten foes (regular season and Big Ten tournament games) for an overall record of 265-77. In 14 seasons as a head coach (1 at Butler, 3 at Xavier and 10 at Ohio State) Matta is 135-56 vs. the Big Ten. He has winning records vs. nine league teams (ILL (12-5), IND (11-7), IOWA (11-5), MICH (17-4), MINN (10-6), NW (15-1), PSU (17-0), PUR (15-6) and NEB (6-1). Matta is 11-11 vs. Wisconsin and 10-10 vs. Michigan State.

Buckeyes Among National Stat Leaders
After 18 games, Ohio State ranks No. 3 nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.266), No. 7 in scoring defense (57.9 ppg.), No. 9 in fewest fouls per game (15.8) and No. 12 in scoring margin (15.9 ppg.). Aaron Craft is No. 9 nationally in total steals (43). Shannon Scottis No. 24 (39).

Noting the Nebraska Game

  • Ohio State leads the all-time series against the Cornhuskers 10-3. The Buckeyes own a record of 3-2 in Lincoln.
  • As a ranked team, No. 17 Ohio State is 7-1 when facing Nebraska.
  • The loss snapped a nine-game Ohio State win streak vs. Nebraska. It was the first win for the Cornhuskers in the series since 1985.
  • The Buckeyes own an overall record of 757-677 against current Big Ten members.
  • Ohio State went on an 18-2 run spanning 6:54 of playing time to overcome a 14-point deficit (34-20). With the run, the Buckeyes regained the lead, 38-36 in the second half.
  • The Buckeyes have not recorded four-consecutive losses since the 2007-08 campaign when the squad fell to Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota (Feb. 17 - March 1).
  • Ohio State has lost back-to-back games against unranked opponents for the first time since the 2008-09 season (at Wisconsin, at Northwestern)
  • As a ranked team, No. 17 Ohio State is 470-128 all-time.
  • Ohio State held Nebraska to season-lows in made 3-pointers (2) and 3-point percentage (15 percent, 2-13). Opponents are shooting 26.1 percent (81-310) from long distance against the Buckeyes this season.
  • The Buckeye defense forced a season-high 17 turnovers for the Cornhuskers.
  • Ohio State scored 21 bench points. The Buckeye bench has outscored opponents 411-260 this season.
  • Thad Matta is 265-77 during his career at Ohio State and 367-108 overall as a head coach.
  • In 14 seasons as a head coach, Matta owns an overall record of 135-56 vs. Big Ten members, including a mark of 132-54 while coaching the Buckeyes. Matta is 6-1 against Nebraska as OSU head coach.
  • Against unranked opponents, Matta owns a 219-24 record as Ohio State head coach.
  • Matta is 54-26 in the month of January as OSU head coach.
  • Sam Thompson recorded three steals vs. Nebraska, tying a career high.
  • LaQuinton Ross has scored in double figures in 12 of his last 14 games.
  • Aaron Craft collected two steals against Nebraska. He ranks third all-time in Big Ten history with 293. He needs eight steals to pass Gary Grant of Michigan (300) for second all-time and 32 to pass Bruce Douglas of Illinois (324) for first.
  • Craft had three assists vs. the Cornhuskers. He is Ohio State's all-time assist leader with 623 for his career. Craft ranks eighth all-time in Big Ten history. He needs 23 assists to pass Scott Skiles (645) of Michigan State for seventh.
  • Craft scored 12 points. He ranks 37th all-time at Ohio State with 1,146 career points. He passed Jamaal Brown (1,139) during the matchup with Nebraska. He needs two points to pass Frank Howard (1,147) for 36th all-time.

For more on the Buckeyes click on the Ohio State Noteslink above.