Roundball Preview: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 13 Kansas

Allen Fieldhouse

Named in honor of Dr. Forrest C. "Phog" Allen, who coached the university's men's basketball team for 39 years, Kansas' Allen Fieldhouse is one of college basketball's most historically significant and prestigious buildings. Last year, ESPN The Magazine named Allen Fieldhouse the loudest college basketball arena in the country.

The second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes basketball team hits the road for the first time this season as they travel to Lawrence to take on No. 13 Kansas, Saturday afternoon. Tip-off at the historic Allen Fieldhouse is scheduled for 3:15 p.m., and it will be televised on ESPN.

The Buckeyes are the second No. 2 team the Jayhawks will have played this season. KU lost to then-No. 2 Kentucky 75-65 in the State Farm Champions Classic on Nov. 15 in Madison Square Garden. Ohio State is the highest-ranked team to come to Allen Fieldhouse since No. 1 Arizona defeated No. 6 Kansas, 91-74, on Jan. 25, 2003, in a non-conference battle. Since then, Kansas has faced either a No. 1 or a No. 2 team four times with a 3-1 record, all during the Bill Self era at KU.

Kansas is 6-2 on the season after defeating Big West Conference favorite Long Beach State, 88-80, Tuesday, in Allen Fieldhouse. Both of Kansas’ losses this season have been to teams ranked sixth or higher, including current No. 1 Kentucky. Kansas averages 75.0 points per game and allows 61.5 for a +13.5 scoring margin. KU is using solid defense as four opponents have scored 56 points or less this season. KU is outrebounding foes by 9.1 per game, including three games of +13 or better. KU outrebounded Long Beach State 41-24 on Tuesday.

Additionally, KU averages 14.6 assists per contest. The Jayhawks are led by All-American candidate Thomas Robinson who scored a career-high 26 points against Long Beach State and averages 17.4 points per game. He has seven double-doubles this season and leads the Big 12 with 12.0 rebounds per contest.

Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor is next in scoring at 16.8 points per game. He is shooting a team-best 57.1 percent from three-point range and is second on the squad with 29 assists, one behind junior guard Elijah Johnson’s 30. Johnson scores 8.6 points per game and leads KU in assists with 30.

Rounding out the KU starters are juniors Travis Releford and Jeff Withey. Releford averages 8.3 points per game and is second on the team with 11 steals. Withey, KU’s center, had a near triple-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocked shots against Long Beach State. Withey has scored 10-plus points in three of his last four games and is averaging 8.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest. He leads KU with 23 blocked shots.

Senior guard Conner Teahan, who started against Long Beach State, scores 7.8 points per game and has made 14 three-pointers, including a career-best four against LBSU.

Sophomore forward Justin Wesley joins Teahan as the first two off the bench. Wesley averages 2.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per contest. Junior forward Kevin Young (3.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg) and freshman guard Naadir Tharpe (1.1 ppg, eight assists) are the other KU regulars.

Ohio State, on the other hand, may be without the services of All-American forward Jared Sullinger, who may sit this one out with back spasms. During his press conference on Thursday, OSU head coach Thad Matta said this about Sullinger: “He just told me he feels great. He said he woke up and was dancing this morning.” That could be a good sign, but Matta also added that Sullinger will be a “game time decision.”

No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes
(8-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
No. 13 Kansas Jayhawks
(6-2, 0-0 Big XII)
Date: Saturday, December 10
Time: 3:15 PM ET
Venue: Allen Fieldhouse
Location: Lawrence, KS
TV: ESPN with Dave O’Brien, Jay Bilas and Bob Knight calling the action.
Radio: WBNS-FM 97.1/WBNS-AM 1460 The Fan in Columbus are the flagship stations for the 56 outlets on the Ohio State Buckeyes Radio Network. Paul Keels will call the play-by-play with analysis from former Buckeye Ron Stokes. For a list of the terrestrial radio stations, click here.
Series History: Kansas leads the series, 5-3.
Last Time: Kansas defeated Ohio State, 69-68, on Dec. 23, 2000 at Value City Arena in Columbus. Brian Brown led the Buckeyes with 17 points.

OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
Head Coach: Thad Matta
PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. MPG PPG RPG APG FG% 3FG% FT%
F 0 Jared Sullinger 6-9 265 So. 29.4 19.1 10.3 1.7 .622 .286 .833
F 1 Deshaun Thomas 6-7 225 So. 25.1 12.9 4.0 0.6 .488 .292 .783
G 44 William Buford 6-6 220 Sr. 30.6 16.0 4.4 3.4 .471 .462 .769
G 32 Lenzelle Smith Jr. 6-4 205 So. 20.9 5.1 5.0 2.4 .552 .444 .278
G 4 Aaron Craft 6-2 190 So. 28.6 9.8 3.1 5.5 .481 .333 .719
Key Reserves:
G 2 Jordan Sibert 6-4 185 So. 16.9 4.1 2.0 1.2 .324 .304 .400
F 30 Evan Ravenel 6-8 260 Jr. 12.6 5.4 2.5 0.8 .680 .600
TEAM STATS
PPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG TPG SPG BPG
OHIO STATE 82.5 .509 .333 .670 39.4 19.3 10.9 9.0 2.4
– Opponents 53.2 .382 .316 .619 29.1 9.0 19.6 4.0 2.4

KANSAS JAYHAWKS
Head Coach: Bill Self
PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. MPG PPG RPG APG FG% 3FG% FT%
C 5 Jeff Withey 7-0 235 Jr. 22.6 8.5 6.2 1.0 .558 .870
F 0 Thomas Robinson 6-10 237 Jr. 31.8 17.4 12.0 1.8 .510 .000 .688
G 2 Conner Teahan 6-6 212 Sr. 21.8 7.8 2.6 1.1 .463 .457 .769
G 24 Travis Releford 6-6 210 Sr. 29.8 8.2 3.1 1.9 .519 .278 .700
G 15 Elijah Johnson 6-4 195 Jr. 29.9 8.6 2.8 3.8 .373 .273 .778
Key Reserves:
G 10 Tyshawn Taylor 6-3 185 Sr. 32.2 16.8 1.5 3.6 .459 .571 .800
F 4 Justin Wesley 6-9 220 So. 15.2 2.5 2.8 0.1 .538 .600
TEAM STATS
PPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG TPG SPG BPG
KANSAS 75.0 .475 .349 .745 38.4 14.6 14.9 7.3 6.5
– Opponents 61.5 .385 .371 .678 29.3 8.6 15.4 7.9 4.6