2007 Ohio State Buckeyes Basketball Preview
Last season’s Big Ten Champs, the Ohio State Buckeyes (35- 4 overall, 15- 1 Big Ten), went down to the final NCAA bracket championship game where they were defeated 84- 75 by Florida. It was an amazing season, as coach Thad Matta (86- 46 in four years at Ohio State, 154- 101 in eight years) helped the team improve from 21 to 35 wins in one year. But this year’s Buckeye club returns only one starter, losing center Greg Oden (15.7 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 3.3 BPG), guard Mike Conley (11.3 PPG, 6.1 APG, 2.2 SPG), guard Ron Lewis (12.7 PPG, 64- three-pointers) and others.
With their starting ranks decimated, the Buckeye numbers could be skewed in the NCAA basketball odds. Then again, due to Matta’s recruiting and coaching, they could be right on target. Although the team was seventh in the Big Ten in scoring defense (62.0 PPG) that stat was offset by their output at the other end of the court as they dumped in 74.5 PPG. Overall, the team shot well from all areas, hitting for .472 from the floor, .361 from downtown and .703 from the charity stripe.
Senior Othello Hunter (5.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 56 FG%), a former junior college player, is the man who must fill in the gap that Oden’s departure has created. He’s got good skills and can play both ways. He’ll share time with Matt Terwillinger (2.2 RPG, 1.8 RPG), who’s a fine fourth-man upfront. Freshman Kosta Koufos possesses a host of skills, ably holding the post, shooting threes and putting the ball to the floor. Small forward Evan Turner, another freshman, is extremely versatile player that can help with the NCAA picks.
Point guard goes to senior Jamar Butler (8.5 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 39.4 FG%) who can hit threes and make massive plays off the high screen. At shooting guard, freshman Jon Diebler can knock the lights out of the scoreboard. Guard/forward David Lightly (3.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 37.4 FG%) is a fine defensive player.
Here’s the thing about Ohio State—coach Matta has a great group of incoming guys, which means the club will still be a contender. Top 25 is possible, Big Ten Champs could happen and another long NCAA post-season run in the NCAA brackets is not out of the question.