Illinois First Up in Final Week of Home Games for Buckeyes
Illinois native Lenzelle Smith Jr.

Feb. 20, 2012

No. 8 Ohio State (22-5, 10-4) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (16-11, 5-9)
Date: Feb. 21, 2012
Value City Arena (18,809)
Game Time: 7:06 p.m. ET
Television: ESPN
Talent: Mike Tirico (Play by Play), Dan Dakich (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)
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Sullinger, Buford Reach 600 rebounds
Jared Sullinger and William Buford each surpassed 600 rebounds for their respective careers at Michigan Saturday. Sullinger, in 62 games played, has 606 boards for an average of 9.8 a game. Buford has played 133 games and has 603 rebounds (4.5 rpg). A total of 19 Ohio State players have recorded 600 or more rebounds in their careers. Jerry Lucas owns the Ohio State record with 1,411 career rebounds over three seasons (1960-62). Thad Matta has coached three of the players in the 600 rebound club during his eight years in Columbus. Terence Dials, the 2006 Big Ten Player of the Year, finished his time (2002-06) in Columbus with 876 rebounds. Evan Turner, the 2010 Big Ten and national player of the year, ended his career with 683 from 2008-10. 

The Last 10 Games
In the last 10 games, Aaron Craft leads the starters from the field, shooting 51 percent (26-51). Four starters are shooting better than 75 percent from the foul line with Silliam Buford leading at 88 pct (15-17) and Deshaun Thomas shooting at an 80 percent clip (28-35). Jared Sullinger is the leading scorer with 18.0 points and 8.5 rebounds. Both Thomas and Buford average 14.3 points since first playing Illinois Jan. 10.   

USBWA Names Sullinger to Watch List
The United States Basketball Writers Association named Jared Sullinger to a list of 20 student-athletes in consideration for the 2012 Oscar Robertson Trophy, given annually to the organization's national player of the year honoree. The award will be presented March 30 in New Orleans. The USBWA selected Sullinger as its Wayman Tisdale Award winner in 2011. The award recognizes the national freshman of the year.

Sullinger Paces Buckeyes at Home
Sophomore Jared Sullinger averages a double-double in games played this season in Columbus. He contributes a team-leading 17.4 points and 10.2 rebounds a game on Ohio State's home court. He also is leading the regulars by scoring on 55 percent of his shots from the field (103-186). Senior William Buford averages 15.6 points and has made 88 percent of his foul shots on familiar turf (44-50). Sophomore Deshaun Thomas is the third Buckeye averaging double figures at home with 13.4 points per game. Ohio State is outscoring opponents by 23.3 points per game with an 8.2 rebounds per game advantage in Columbus.

Academics and Athletic Awards for Craft
Sophomore Aaron Craft was selected to the Academic All-District 5 First Team Feb. 2. He now advances to the Capital One Academic All-America Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team Academic All-America honorees will be selected later this month. Craft is majoring in excercise science (pre-med) with a GPA of 3.89. Craft also is among 11 remaining candidates for the Bob Cousy Award after the list was trimmed from an initial pool of 60 candidates. The annual honor, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in college basketball. This current list of candidates will be narrowed down to the final five by March 1. Craft currently leads the Buckeyes in assists (116) and steals (54).

The Buckeyes vs. The Ranked
Ohio State is one of the nation's leaders vs. opponents ranked among the Top 25 with five victories in nine tries this season. The Buckeyes own wins vs. No. 7 Florida, No. 3 Duke, No. 7 Indiana,  No. 20 Michigan and No. 19 Wisconsin. Losses have come to No. 13 Kansas, No. 13 Indiana, No. 11 Michigan State and No. 17 Michigan. The Buckeyes have four players, all starters, averaging in double figures in games vs. ranked opponents. Jared Sullinger leads with 17.0 ppg. He is joined by William Buford (12.8 ppg.), Deshaun Thomas (14.3 ppg.) and Aaron Craft (10.6 ppg.). Lenzelle Smith Jr. contributes 8.4 ppg.Sullinger (8.9 rebounds per game) and Smith Jr. (5.4 rpg.) lead the team on the glass.

Matta Earns Another 20-Win Season
For each of the last 12 seasons, all as a head coach, Thad Matta has guided teams to at least 20 victories. Only Mark Few, among active coaches, has more consecutive 20-win seasons to start a career (13). Matta set the Ohio State record for consecutive 20-win campaigns in 2008-09 with a 22-11 record and extended it this year (22-5), the eighth-consecutive Ohio State season with 20+ victories. The previous record was four held by the 1960-63 teams under legendary head coach Fred Taylor. The Buckeyes also own the second-longest streak of 20-win seasons (8) in Big Ten history. Illinois owns the record with nine from (1983-1991). Matta also has won at least 10 Big Ten regular-season games in each of the last seven seasons. That effort eclipsed Taylor's mark of 10+ league wins in each of the seasons from 1960-64. Those were during 14-game regular-season slates. The Big Ten played a 16-game schedule in Matta's first three seasons (8, 12, 15 league wins) and an 18-game schedule the last five (10, 10, 14, 16, 10). Ohio State is the two-time defending Big Ten regular-season champion. The last time the Buckeyes won three or more consecutive titles was from 1960-64, a string of five-consecutive conference crowns.

Ten NCAA men's basketball student-athletes who excel both on and off the court were selected as finalists for the 2011-12 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The winner of the fan vote will be announced at the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans. To vote for Buford visit

Matta Coaches Game 400
Thad Matta has a career record of 314-93 (407 career games) over 12 years as a head coach, which includes a 212-62 record in eight seasons at Ohio State. Matta coached for one season at Butler and three at Xavier before taking over the Ohio State program for the 2004-05 season. In his time with the Buckeyes, Matta has four Big Ten regular season titles and three Big Ten tournament crowns. The Buckeyes have been to five NCAA tournaments with Matta at the helm. He has taken nine teams to NCAA tournament play and won the 2008 National Invitational Tournament with Ohio State.

Buford Reaches 100 Wins as a Buckeye
Senior William Buford reached career win No. 100 as a Buckeye at Iowa Jan. 7. David Lighty (2007-11) holds the Ohio State record for wins with 129. Walk-ons Mark Titus and Danny Peters were part of Ohio State's program for 110 victories over their careers (2007-10). The four-year record for victories by scholarship players was originally set by Jamar Butler and Matt Terwilliger from 2005-08 with 105. The 2009 team had 107 wins from 2006-09 but there were no four-year seniors on that squad.
Wins    Seniors    Yr.-by-Yr.
129    David Lighty (2007-2011)    35,24,7,29,34
110    Danny Peters, Mark Titus (2007-10)    35,24,22,29
109    Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale (2008-11)    24,22,29,34
107    William Buford (2009-12)    22,29,34,22    

107    None (2006-09)    26,35,24,22
105    Jamar Butler, Matt Terwilliger (2005-08)    20,26,35,24

The Buckeyes in the Big Ten
The Buckeyes rank No. 2 in both scoring offense (74.9 ppg.) and scoring defense (57.1 ppg.) after a 22-5 overall start. Ohio State's scoring margin of 17.9 ppg. leads the league while the .478 field goal shooting percentage rates in the No. 2 spot. Led by Jared Sullinger, Ohio State is among the Top 2 teams in rebounding offense (36.6 rpg., No. 2) and defense (29.5 rpg., No. 1). Overall, the Buckeyes are No. 2 in rebound margin (+7.1 rpg.). Behind Aaron Craft, Ohio State is No. 1 in turnover margin (+5.0) and No. 2 in steals (7.7 spg.). Sullinger is No. 3 in scoring (17.5 ppg.) and No. 2 in rebounding (9.2 rpg.). Craft leads the league in steals (2.3 spg.) and is third in assists (4.6 apg.).  

100 Years in Big Ten
Ohio State celebrates 100 years as a member of the Big Ten Conference in men's basketball in 2012. The Buckeyes finished in the No. 6 spot in the 1913 conference standings, the first season of league play. Over the 99 previous seasons, Ohio State has earned 19 Big Ten regular-season titles with 23 NCAA tournament appearances, one national championship (1960) and nine trips to the Final Four. Eight former coaches and players are members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame while nearly 50 student-athletes have been drafted by National Basketball Association teams, including 22 in the first round.

Ohio State VS. Illinois
Illinois leads the all-time series with the Buckeyes 100-64, though Ohio State has closed the gap of late with a streak of five wins in six tries and wins in 10 of the last 13 meetings. All-time, Ohio State is 39-40 in games played in Columbus. Ohio State enters the game ranked No. 8 nationally in the Associated Press Poll and is 21-10 all-time as a ranked team in the series with wins in 11 of the last 12 games in the series as a ranked team. Jared Sullinger is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Buckeyes in the Illinois series. He has averaged 20.0 points and 10.7 rebounds while connecting on 22 of 45 FGs (.489) and 14 of 17 foul shots (.825). William Buford averages 13.8 points in eight career games vs. the Illini. He has made 11 of 15 foul shots (.733) against Illinois and averages 4.8 rebounds. Sophomore Deshaun Thomas contributes 12.3 points on 13 of 19 (.684) shooting in three career games vs. the Illini. The current Ohio State roster has 23 total games played vs. Illinois with a total of 241 points scored and 98 total rebounds. The team is shooting 80 percent from the foul line in the Illinois series (37-46).      

Ohio State vs. the Big Ten
Ohio State is 734-666 vs. current members of the Big Ten Conference. The Buckeyes are playing their 100th season of Big Ten Basketball this season.

OSU vs. The Big Ten
Illinois            64    100
Indiana          75    100
Iowa               70    73
Michigan         91    72
Michigan State  51    59
Minnesota        79    55
Nebraska           6    2
Northwestern    110    45
Penn State      28    12
Purdue           77    83
Wisconsin        83    65
Totals                 734    666

The Third to 200 as a Buckeye
Two previous coaches have reached the 200-win plateau at Ohio State. Thad Matta became the third with the 74-66 win at South Carolina Dec. 17. Fred Taylor recorded 297 career victories from 1959-1976 while also earning 158 Big Ten Conference regular-season victories. Harold G. Olsen tallied 259 all-time wins from 1923-46. He accumulated 154 Big Ten victories. Matta has 212 wins as a Buckeye over eight seasons with 95 wins in Big Ten regular-season play. His winning percentage of 77.4 overall and 71.0 in conference play are tops among the 13 head coaches in Ohio State history.

NCAA Stats Update (as of 2/20/12)
Ohio State rates among the Top 10 in several NCAA statistical categories after 26 games. The Buckeyes are No. 2 in scoring margin (+17.9 ppg.), No. 4 in turnover margin (+4.9) and No. 8 in scoring defense (57.1 ppg).

 Upcoming Games
All Times ET and subject to change
3/30/13(9) Wichita St.7:05 p.m. ET
4/6/13NCAA Final Four. *6/9 p.m. ET
4/8/13NCAA Final. *9 p.m. ET
* - if necessary
Complete Schedule   
 Big Ten Conference Standings
(Final Reg. Season Standings)
Ohio State13-523-7
Michigan State13-524-7
Penn State2-1610-20 Standings   
/>Ohio State at No. 8 in AP Poll
Ohio State is No. 8 in the Associated Press poll released Feb. 20. The Buckeyes are 7-3 all-time as the No. 8-ranked team in the AP poll. In the most recent poll seven Buckeyes' opponents are among the Top 25.

Buford 17th to Reach 1,500 Career Pts.
With 23 points against VMI Nov. 23, senior William Buford surpassed 1,500 career points to become the 17th Buckeye in history to reach that mark. Over 133 career games, Buford has averaged 13.8 points for a total of 1,829. He also became the 23rd player all-time to reach both 1,000 points and the 500-rebound mark (603) with five boards vs. Duke Nov. 29. Jared Sullinger is the latest (24th all-time) on the 1,000/500 chart after scoring 24 points to reach 1,000 points at Wisconsin Feb. 4. He has 1,072 career points and 606 career rebounds.

Sullinger Moving up Career Double-Double Charts
Sophomore Jared Sullinger has recorded at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in 11 games this season for a career total of 29. He tied the Ohio State freshman record with 18 double-doubles a season ago. His career total is 11th all-time. Through 26 games, Sullinger is averaging 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds a game. He tallied 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds a game as a freshman.

Noting the Michigan Game (Feb. 18)
•    The Buckeyes move to 91-72 all-time vs. Michigan and 36-45 in Ann Arbor.
•    As a ranked team, the Buckeyes are 33-5 vs. the Wolverines.
•    When Michigan is ranked, Ohio State is 13-23.
•    When both teams are ranked in the Top 25, the Buckeyes are 5-3.
•    Ohio State moves to 734-666 overall in the Big Ten, including a 68-19 record at Value City Arena.
•    As a ranked team, Ohio State is 417-113 overall and when ranked in the AP Top 10, the Buckeyes are 296-64.
•    As the Associated Press No. 6 team, Ohio State is 20-7 overall.
•    The Buckeyes have an all-time record of 144-228 vs. ranked opponents in the AP Top 25.
•    In games when both teams enter with a Top 25 ranking, Ohio State is 64-53.
•    Ohio State moves to 5-4 vs. Top 25 opponents this season.
•    Two players scored in double figures for Ohio State. So far this season, seven Buckeyes have scored in doubles figures a total of 86 times.
•    In their last 82 games, the Buckeyes are 73-9.
•    This is the 289th-consecutive game Ohio State has made at least one 3-point field goal (1/10/04 vs. Penn State was the last game with zero made).
•    Ohio State has had a player record a double-double in 837 games. The Buckeyes are 576-261 in those contests. Deshaun Thomas (25 points, 13 rebounds) had his first career double-double in tonight's game vs. Michigan.
•    The starting lineup of Buford, Craft, Smith, Jr., Sullinger and Thomas is 20-4 this season.
•    The Buckeyes have now amassed 174 assists in the Big Ten while only allowing 131 from their opponents. For the season, Ohio State has 410 assists, while its opponents only have 248.
•    Ohio State went 10-15 from the free-throw line. They now have attempted 594 free throws this season, while only allowing its opponents to attempt 398 from the stripe. The margin is 299-212 in the Big Ten.
•    Matta's career record moves to 314-93 overall and 212-62 at Ohio State.
•    With the loss, Matta moves to 112-45 in the Big Ten during his career.
•    Matta now has a 15-3 record vs. Michigan, all at Ohio State.
•    Matta is 4-3 at Michigan (Crisler Center).
•    Matta's .774 winning percentage at Ohio State is the best among Big Ten coaches since Matta became the Buckeyes' head coach in 2004.
•    Ohio State is 37-18 in February under Coach Matta.
•    The Scarlet and Gray are 130-20 when grabbing more rebounds than the opponent, including 19-3 this season (OSU outrebounded Michigan, 34-25).
•    Ohio State is 21-3 this season and 198-49 when holding their opponents to under 50 percent shooting.
•    The Buckeyes are 19-4 this season and 180-49 under Matta when limiting themselves to 15 or fewer turnovers. Ohio State had 13 turnovers vs. the Wolverines.
•    The start was William Buford's 125th donning the Scarlet and Gray, tying David Lighty (125) for third all-time in games started at Ohio State. He is one away from tying Alex Davis and Jamar Butler (126) for most games started as a Buckeye.
•    The game is the 133rd that Buford has played in, which ties Jerry Francis for fifth all-time at Ohio State.
•    Buford has been a part of 108 wins at Ohio State, which is sixth all-time.
•    Buford is just the fourth Buckeye in recorded history to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists. Buford's current totals are 1,829/603/340.
•    Buford scored six points for the Buckeyes, improving his career total to 1,829, 50 behind Michael Redd (1,879) for fifth place in Ohio State scoring history.
•    Buford has now scored 969 points in the Big Ten. He is currently the second highest active scorer in the Big Ten.
•    Buford had six rebounds to push his career total to 603. He is one of 17 former Buckeyes in the prestigious 1,500 point and 500 rebound club.
•    Buford became the fifth player in Ohio State history to join the 400 (made field goals) and 4,000 (minutes played) Club. After the Michigan game, Buford has now tallied 691 made field goals and 4,311 minutes played in 132 career games (J. Diebler, D. Lighty, J. Butler and H. Williams are the other Buckeyes to achieve this feat).
•    Buford had two assists in the game for a career total of 340.
•    With three made field goals, Buford now has 691 for his career, eight behind Michael Redd (699) for fifth all-time in Ohio State history.
•    Sullinger had 14 for the Buckeyes. It is the 24th time this season and 58th time in his career he has scored in double figures.
•    With 14 points, Sullinger added to his 1,000 point club total (1,072). He is one of seven total players in Ohio State history to score at 1,000 or more points in two years.
•    Sullinger had eight rebounds, passing the 600 rebound threshold, to now have 606 for his career.
•    Deshaun Thomas finished with a game high 25 points. It is the 34th time in his career he has scored in double figures and 23rd time this season.
•    Thomas has scored in double figures in 23 of the Buckeyes 27 games this season.
•    With a career high 13 rebounds along with his 25 points, Thomas posted his first career double-double.
•    Aaron Craft had three assists to push his season total to 124 and his career total to 301.
•    With his third assist, Craft passed the 300 career assist milestone.
•    Craft had two steals. He has 134 for his career. He has had at least one steal in 25 of 27 games this season.

400 And 4,000 Club   
Senior William Buford has scored 691 career field goals and logged 4,311 career minutes in 133 games. He joined a small group of former Buckeyes with more than 400 field goals and 4,000 minutes played. David Lighty was added to an exclusive club following the game vs. Illinois Jan. 22, 2011. The former Buckeye reached 4,000 minutes played with more than 400 field goals in the Illinois win in Champaign. Lighty made 516 career field goals and logged 4,582 career minutes during his 157-game career. Lighty's classmate Jon Diebler had 473 made baskets (374 of which are 3s) while playing a total of 4,687 minutes in 144 games. He reached 400/4,000 with a triple and 36 minutes vs. Iowa Jan. 19.
    Herb Williams and Jamar Butler also logged 4,000+ minutes at Ohio State. Williams made 834 career field goals over 114 games and 4,216 minutes. Butler connected on 420 FGs (242 3FGs) over 139 games and 4,213 minutes played.

Buford Joins Turner, Jackson, Lighty
Evan Turner (1,517 pts., 682 rebs., 414 asts.) became just the second player in recorded history to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists with eight helpers vs. Northwestern Jan. 19, 2010. Jim Jackson was the only other Buckeye to do so with 1,785 career points, 552 career rebounds and 372 career assists from 1990-92. David Lighty joined the duo last season. He finished with 1,458 points, 577 rebounds and 374 assists to his credit. Only 24 players in Ohio State history have scored more than 1,000 points and collected 500+ rebounds. William Buford currently has 1,829 points, 603 rebounds and 340 assists. He handed out four assists vs. Miami (Ohio) to join the quartet.

Double Digit 3s
Ohio State has made 10 or more 3-pointers in a game 79 times since the shot was instituted for the 1986-87 season. The Buckeyes are 68-11 in those games after knocking down 10-of-20 treys vs. Northwestern Dec. 28. Opponents have made double-digit 3s 93 times and are 37-56 in those games vs. the Buckeyes. Matta's Ohio State teams are 53-9 when making 10 or more 3s in a game. Opponents are 9-30 against Matta-coached teams when making 10 or more treys.

Jent Returns to Ohio State Sideline
Chris Jent left the professional ranks to return to his alma mater as an assistant basketball coach. Jent, who played and coached at the NBA level, played for the Buckeyes from 1988-92 and coached most recently for the Cleveland Cavaliers. As an Ohio State player, he helped the Buckeyes to back-to-back Big Ten titles and three-consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament. He spent 10 seasons in the professional ranks overseas, in the CBA and NBA. He was an assistant and interim head coach with the Orlando Magic before most recently coaching with the Cavaliers.

Buford Working on Record Season
William Buford is the lone senior on the Ohio State roster this season. In fact, he is just one of two upperclassmen and the only player with more than a year of experience in an Ohio State uniform. After transfer Evan Ravenel, who transferred to Ohio State from Boston College and sat out the 2010-11 campaign, there are 11 freshmen (5) and sophomores (6) on the Ohio State roster. Buford has 1,829 career points over 133 career games (13.8 ppg.). Dennis Hopson (1984-87) is the all-time leading scorer in Ohio State history with 2,096 points over 125 career games played (16.8 ppg.). Buford is currently No. 6 spot on the Ohio State all-time scoring list.

Paulus Leaves Navy to Work for Matta
Greg Paulus, who served as an assistant coach at Navy during the 2010-11 season, joined the Buckeyes last May to handle the program's video needs. He replaced Kevin Kuwik, who left Thad Matta's staff to become an assistant coach at Dayton. Paulus played basketball at Duke from 2006-09 and then a year of football at Syracuse.

Titles Mounting for Matta, Buckeyes
Thad Matta's teams have won four Big Ten regular-season titles and three league tournament crowns during his seven-year tenure at Ohio State. Ohio State has won each of the last two regular-season and tournament titles. The Buckeyes have not posted three-consecutive Big Ten Conference crowns since winning a conference record five-consecutive titles from 1960-64 under the direction of head coach Fred Taylor. Taylor led Ohio State to seven league championships from 1959-76. Harold G. Olson win five Big Ten titles as coach between 1923-46.

Scott, Williams Add to Ohio State's 17-Player McDonald's List
Ohio State incoming freshmen Shannon Scott and Amir Williams were selected Feb. 10, 2011 to represent the East (Scott) and West (Williams) teams in the 2011 McDonald's All-America game. The game was played March 30 at the United Center in Chicago. Scott led both teams with five steals. The East won the game 111-96. Scott also had four points, two rebounds and two assists over 12 minutes. Williams had six points, three rebounds and a steal in 11 minutes for the West squad. The Buckeyes will have five All-America game participants on their roster in 2011-12 in Jared Sullinger (2010), Deshaun Thomas (2010), William Buford (2008), Scott and Williams. Four McDonald's All-Americans were a part of Ohio State's 2006-07 squad that finished 35-4 overall, 15-1 in Big Ten Conference play, won the league regular-season title outright and played for the NCAA national title vs. Florida in April of 2007. Ivan Harris (2003), Greg Oden (2006), Mike Conley Jr. (2006) and Daequan Cook (2006), all former McDonald's All-Americans, played for the Buckeyes in 2006-07. Previously, B.J. Mullens (2008), Kosta Koufos (2007), Clark Kellogg (1979), Perry Carter (1987), Treg Lee (1987), Jim Jackson (1989), Charles Macon (1992) and Greg Simpson (1992) all played for Ohio State after playing in the McDonald's All-America game before joining the Ohio State program, a total of 17 all-time.

Five Mr. Basketball Honorees on Ohio State Roster
Ohio State's contains four players who have combined to win five Mr. Basketball awards in their respective home states. Jared Sullinger leads the team with two Mr. Ohio Basketball accolades, achieving the distinction both in 2009 and 2010, while playing at Northland High School. Deshaun Thomas, a native Fort Wayne, Ind., and Bishop Luers High School, captured Mr. Indiana Basketball in 2010. Senior William Buford claimed 2008 Mr. Ohio Basketball with his performance at now-closed Libbey High School in Toledo. Freshman Shannon Scott brings the recognition of being named 2011 Mr. Georgia Basketball to Columbus after starring at Milton High School in Alpharetta, Ga. Freshman Amir Williams finished third in the 2011 Mr. Michigan Basketball voting.