On Thursday, the 24th-ranked and fifth-seed Ohio State Buckeyes take on the No. 12-seed Purdue Boilermakers in the first round of the Big Ten Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament. Tip-off at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is scheduled for approximately 2:25 p.m. ET, or 25 minutes after the conclusion of the first game between Indiana-Illinois.
Since its inception in 1998, Ohio State is 22-9 in the tournament, has advanced to the championship game eight times, and has cut down the nets in four of those title tilts (2007, 2010, 2011, 2013). Buckeyes’ head coach Thad Matta is the winningest coach in Big Ten tournament history, posting 19 wins with just five losses (.792).
Ohio State, though, will have play four games in four days to win it all this year as the No. 5-seed. In the previous four times the Buckeyes won the tournament, OSU was no worse than a two-seed. Twice, Ohio State has advanced to the championship game as a lower seed, but only once did the Buckeyes have to play in the opening (or first) round of the tourney. In 2003 as the eighth-seed, Ohio State knocked off No. 9-seed Iowa, No. 1-seed Wisconsin, and No. 5-seed Michigan State before losing to No. 2-seed Illinois 72-59 in the title game.
One other note, only one team lower than a No. 4 seed has won the Big Ten tournament in its’ 16-year history. In 2001 as a No. 6-seed, Iowa won the title. But the Hawkeyes got plenty of help as No. 7-seed Penn State defeated No. 2 seed Michigan State, and No. 4-seed Indiana knocked off No. 1-seed Illinois.
Purdue is 9-15 overall in the Big Ten tournament and has appeared in two championship games, winning one title by defeating Ohio State, 65-61, in 2009. The Boilermakers have not advanced past the quarterfinals since 2010.
TV and Radio:
The game will be televised on BTN with Kevin Kugler and Stephen Bardo. On your terrestrial radio dial, WBNS-FM 97.1 The Fan is the flagship station for the 56 outlets on the Ohio State IMG Sports Network. Paul Keels will call the play-by-play with analysis from Ron Stokes. The game can also be heard live via satellite on Sirius 91 and XM 91.
Ohio State enters the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 5 seed after posting a 23-8 record and a 10-8 mark in the Big Ten race. The Buckeyes are coming off a 69-67 victory over Michigan State which halted a two-game losing streak.
Ohio State started the season 15-0 and were ranked as high as No. 3 in the country before losing five of their next six games to fall to 16-5 overall. Ohio State then rambled off six wins in its next seven games.
The Buckeyes come into the tournament as the top defensive team in the conference, allowing just 59.1 points per game, almost four points better than the No. 2-ranked scoring defense, Illinois, at 62.8 ppg. The Buckeyes allow foes to shoot just 40.3 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from long distance. Offensively, Ohio State is averaging 70.0 points per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 33.4 percent from beyond the arc.
A pair of Buckeyes earned third-team All-Big Ten accolades as LaQuinton Ross and Aaron Craft, the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, both were named on the squad. Ross leads Ohio State in scoring at 14.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Lenzelle Smith Jr. averages 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest, while Craft contributes 9.5 points, 4.6 assists and 2.5 steals per outing.
Purdue looks to rebound from a rough 2013-14 season with a magical run to the Big Ten Tournament crown, entering the event with a 15-16 overall record and a 5-13 Big Ten mark. The Boilermakers have lost six games in a row with the last four of the setbacks coming by a combined 23 points (1, 7, 6 and 9 points).
Purdue has struggled mightily on the defensive end, allowing foes to average 71.9 points per game, the team’s highest average since the 1997-98 team allowed 72.3 points per game. Six straight opponents have scored at least 74 points, the first time six-straight foes have scored 70 or more points since Dec. 2002. In 31 games this year, Purdue has allowed opponents to score 70 points in 19-of-31 games (6-13 record). By contrast, Purdue is 9-3 when holding foes to 69 or fewer points.
Terone Johnson leads three players in double figures by averaging 12.0 points per game. Ronnie Johnson follows at 10.8 points and 3.7 assists, while A.J. Hammons is next at 10.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game.
Hammons was named an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection and to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team, while freshman Kendall Stephens (7.9 ppg, 63 3-pt. FG) was honored on the All-Freshman Team.
Purdue leads the all-time series with the Buckeyes, 83-81. Ohio State is 2-1 in neutral-site games vs. the Boilermakers. The Buckeyes won both meetings with Purdue during the 2014 Big Ten regular season with a 78-69 victory Dec. 31, 2013 in West Lafayette, and a 67-49 win in Columbus on Feb. 8. Three Buckeyes averaged in double figures vs. Purdue this season with LaQuinton Ross leading the way with 21.0 ppg., Lenzelle Smith Jr. contributed 15.0 ppg., while Shannon Scott contributed 13.5 ppg.
Thad Matta is 15-5 vs. Purdue as the coach of the Buckeyes. Ohio State has won the last five games in the series. As a ranked team in the Associated Press Top 25, Ohio State is 26-4 vs. Purdue. In the last 14 games in which Ohio State has been ranked vs. the Boilermakers, the Buckeyes are 12-2.
BIG TEN MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Game 1: No. 8 Indiana vs. No. 9 Illinois, Noon ET, BTN
Game 2: No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 12 Purdue, 25 minutes after Game 1, BTN
Game 3: No. 7 Minnesota vs. No. 10 Penn State, 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Game 4: No. 6 Iowa vs. No. 11 Northwestern, 25 minutes after Game 3, BTN
Friday, March 14, 2014
Game 5: No. 1 Michigan vs. Game 1 winner, Noon ET, ESPN or ESPN2
Game 6: No. 4 Nebraska vs. Game 2 winner, 25 minutes after Game 5, ESPN/ESPN2
Game 7: No. 2 Wisconsin vs. Game 3 winner, 6:30 p.m. ET, BTN
Game 8: No. 3 Michigan State vs. Game 4 winner, 25 minutes after game 7, BTN
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Game 9: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 1:40 p.m. ET, CBS
Game 10: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 25 minutes after Game 9, CBS
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Game 11: Championship Game, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS