As Rhody looks for their first win of the season, all they have to do is beat a Final Four team from a year ago…and get their first win versus a ranked opponent since 1998… Sounds simple, right? The schedule gets worse before it gets better, but as Rhody moves out of the frying pan and into the fire, let’s take a look at The Ohio State University.
The Ohio State University
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Conference: Big Ten Conference
2011-12 Record: 31-8 (13-5) [#2 seed in NCAA Tournament, lost in Final Four]
So all Ohio State did last year was lock up a two seed in the dance and roll through to the Final Four, where they lost to National runner-up Kansas. En route to New Orleans, they topped 15-seed Loyola-MD, 7-seed Gonzaga, 6-seed Cincinnati, and 1-seed Syracuse (albeit without Fab Melo). Also of note is that seven of the Buckeyes eight losses last year came against ranked teams – the one exception being a January 10th loss to Illinois. OSU lost All-American Jared Sullinger from last year, but returns three of five starters from a season ago:
Projected Starting Lineups
G: Aaron Craft, Jr, #4, 6’2″, 195
G: Lenzelle Smith Jr, Jr, #32, 6’4″, 210
F: Sam Thompson, So, #12, 6’7″, 200
F: Deshaun Thomas, Jr, #1, 6’7″, 215
F: Evan Ravenel, Sr, #30, 6’8″, 250
G: Mike Powell, So, #1, 5’11″, 175
G: Xavier Munford, Jr, #5, 6’2″, 180
G: Andre Malone, Sr, #12, 6’6″, 210
F: Nikola Malesevic, Sr, #23, 6’7″, 200
F: Ryan Brooks, Sr, #33, 6’8″, 220
The Buckeyes should have two games completed, but as you probably know, the annual Carrier Classic game between Ohio State and Marquette was canceled due to condensation on the court. Instead, their lone contest was an 82-60 drubbing of the Albany Great Danes back on November 11th. And OSU point guard Aaron Craft went absolutely off in that game, recording 20 points and 7 assists. Craft also shot 5-7 from three-point range, and he’s sure to test Mike Powell on both ends of the floor. Forward Deshaun Thomas is also likely give the Rams fits – he’s coming off a season in which he averaged 16 points a game, most of them coming on high percentage shots. Thomas shot 52% from the floor last season, and he followed it up with a 19 point effort against Albany. The dangerous part about the 6’7″ swingman’s game is his three-point prowess. Like Craft, Thomas also buried four triples a week ago. The good news for Rhody is the fact that their defense has been their strength this year, though it certainly will be put to the test tomorrow.
Any Ram fan expecting a win tomorrow is… well, crazy. Here’s hoping that URI can hang with the Buckeyes, play strong defense, and use the game as a learning experience to improve on. Hey, there’s no pressure and they’ve got nothing to lose. Maybe, just maybe… eh, never mind. Let’s just leave it with: GO RHODY!