Sept. 7, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Thad Matta, now in his eighth season as head coach of the Ohio State men's basketball team, has put together one of the nation's top 2011-12 schedules for a squad composed of 11 underclassmen and one senior, guard William Buford.
Every Ohio State game will appear on national television in 2011-12. The Big Ten Network, CBS and the ESPN family of networks will showcase the Buckeyes throughout the season.
Ohio State has won each of the last two Big Ten regular-season and postseason tournament titles and Matta believes the 2011-12 schedule will help his current squad prepare for a run at a three-peat.
"There is no doubt that we have a challenge ahead of us," Matta said. "Once again, we will be playing some of the top teams in the country in both the non-conference and Big Ten. I believe our players and fans are excited about what lies ahead."
Another trip will be a new experience for the Ohio State program with Nebraska joining the Big Ten this year. The Cornhuskers will play host to the Buckeyes Jan. 21 in Lincoln.
Also highlighting to the non-conference schedule will be a matchup against Lamar Dec. 20 at VCA. The Cardinals are coached by Pat Knight, who is in his first year with the program after a stint at Texas Tech, where he took over for his father Bob Knight, the all-time winningest coach in college basketball history with 902 victories.
Bob Knight, a member of Ohio State's 1960 National Championship squad, will be on hand for the Lamar game and will be recognized publicly for his contributions to the college game and his induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in November.
The Buckeyes also will play a game Dec. 22 at Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus. Ohio State will take on Miami (Ohio) as a preview to the NCAA Second and Third Round games at Nationwide in March. As the host school, Ohio State is required to play a game at the venue during the regular season. The Buckeyes are not eligible to play at Nationwide should the Buckeyes qualify for the NCAA tournament this year.
ESPN networks will broadcast at least 12 games and possibly 14 throughout the regular season while CBS has scheduled the Buckeyes twice with opportunities for two others. The Big Ten Network, now in its fifth year, will showcase no fewer than 14 Ohio State games with a pair of additional contests carried on BigTenNetwork.com (Walsh/Texas-Pan American).
The Buckeyes, who earned the outright Big Ten regular-season title a season ago with a 16-2 league mark, aim for their fifth league crown under Matta's direction. The conference returned to the lengthier conference schedule in 2008 after playing a 16-game schedule from 1998-2007. With Nebraska joining the league, the Buckeyes will take on seven league foes twice while playing Penn State and Purdue once each at home and taking on Iowa and Minnesota once each on the road.
Ohio State will play at least 13 games this season vs. nine teams that played in the 2011 NCAA Tournament with five of those games taking place away from Columbus. The Big Ten/ACC Challenge will again be part of the Ohio State schedule this year. The Buckeyes welcome Duke Nov. 29 to Value City Arena for a 9:30 p.m. ET tip on ESPN.
Ohio State opens the regular season Nov. 11 against Wright State at Value City Arena. That game kicks off the Global Sports Shootout event, which includes home games vs. Florida (Nov. 15), Jackson State (Nov. 18) and North Florida Nov. 21. The Florida game will be part of ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon and will tip at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 from VCA.
The Buckeyes then open Big Ten regular-season competition Dec. 28 against Northwestern at VCA. It will start Ohio State's 100th year as a member of the Big Ten Conference in men's basketball. Following the league opener, Ohio State takes to the road for three of the next four games against Indiana, Iowa and Illinois with a home game vs. Nebraska Jan. 3. New Year's Eve will be spent in Bloomington with a 6 p.m. (ESPN2) tip vs. the Hoosiers.
Ohio State returns two starters and four of the top six offensive players from a year ago. The Buckeyes finished 34-3 overall and advanced to the NCAA "Sweet 16."
Buford is the lone veteran with 106 games to his credit. He averaged 14.4 points a game last season behind All-American Jared Sullinger's team leading 17.2 ppg and 10.2 rebounds a contest. Joining Sullinger in Ohio State's sophomore class are key reserves Deshaun Thomas (7.5 ppg.) and point guard Aaron Craft (177 assists, 73 steals).
Five freshmen will see action for the first time Nov. 6 in an exhibition game vs. Walsh University at VCA. McDonald's All-Americans Shannon Scott, Georgia's Mr. Basketball last year and Amir Williams, who finished third in the voting for Michigan's Mr. Basketball in 2011, headline a freshman class that ranks among the nation's Top 10.
2011-12 Ohio State Men's Basketball Schedule
|Nov. 6||WALSH (exhibition)||2 p.m.||BTN.com|
|Nov. 11||1-WRIGHT STATE||9 p.m.||BTN||2-0|
|Nov. 15||1-FLORIDA||8 p.m.||ESPN2||5-4|
|Nov. 18||1-JACKSON STATE||9 p.m.||BTN||0-0|
|Nov. 21||1-NORTH FLORIDA||8:30 p.m.||BTN||0-0|
|Nov. 23||VIRGINIA MILITARY INS.||7 p.m.||BTN||2-0|
|Nov. 25||VALPARAISO||6:30 p.m.||BTN||1-0|
|Nov. 29||2-DUKE||9:30 p.m.||ESPN||2-3|
|Dec. 3||TEXAS-PAN AMERICAN||Noon||BTN.com||0-0|
|Dec. 10||at Kansas||3:15 p.m.||ESPN||3-4|
|Dec. 14||SOUTH CAROLINA-UP STATE||7:30 p.m.||BTN||0-0|
|Dec. 17||at South Carolina||Noon||ESPN||2-1|
|Dec. 20||LAMAR||8:30 p.m.||BTN||0-0|
|Dec. 22||3-MIAMI (Ohio)||8:30 p.m.||BTN||4-1|
|Dec. 28||NORTHWESTERN||5:30 p.m.||BTN||109-45|
|Dec. 31||at Indiana||6 p.m.||ESPN2||74-99|
|Jan. 3||NEBRASKA||6:30 p.m.||BTN||4-2|
|Jan. 7||at Iowa||3 p.m.||BTN||69-73|
|Jan. 10||at Illinois||9 p.m.||ESPN||64-99|
|Jan. 15||INDIANA||1:30/4:30 p.m.||CBS|
|Jan. 21||at Nebraska||8 p.m.||BTN|
|Jan. 25||PENN STATE||6:30 p.m.||BTN||27-12|
|Jan. 29||MICHIGAN||1 p.m.||CBS||90-71|
|Feb. 4||at Wisconsin||2 p.m.||ESPN/2||82-65|
|Feb. 7||PURDUE||9 p.m.||ESPN||76-83|
|Feb. 11||MICHIGAN STATE||6 p.m.||ESPN||51-58|
|Feb. 14||at Minnesota||9 p.m.||ESPN||78-55|
|Feb. 18||at Michigan||9 p.m.||ESPN|
|Feb. 21||ILLINOIS||7 p.m.||ESPN|
|Feb. 25 or 26||WISCONSIN||6/4 or 1 p.m.||BTN/CBS or ESPN(2)|
|Feb. 29||at Northwestern||8:30 p.m.||BTN|
|March 4||at Michigan State||TBA||CBS/ESPN/BTN|
|March 8-11||4-at Big Ten Tournament||TBA||TBA|
Home games in BOLD CAPS // All Times Eastern and subject to change
1-Global Sports Shootout, Columbus
2-Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Columbus
3-Nationwide Arena, Downtown Columbus
WATCH: Thad Matta Press Conference
Buckeyes on the Blacktop Highlights