Indiana vs. Ohio State
Thad Matta might not be the best coach in the Big Ten, but he is an amazing recruiter. Rivals.com ranked this season's recruiting class as the fifth-best in the country, and in Matta's last three classes, he brought in highly ranked big men, including Mr. Greg Oden.
The last two seasons Matta also brought in guards Jon Diebler and William Buford, both of whom came to Ohio State and unfortunately were overshadowed.
Diebler averaged 40 points and 13 rebounds a game his senior year of high school to became Ohio's all-time leading scorer. He also won Ohio's Mr. Basketball. Last season he was recruited by Thad Matta and was quickly overlooked for seven-footer Kosta Koufos.
Buford averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds a game his senior year of high school. He also won Ohio's Mr. Basketball. This season he was recruited by Matta and was quickly overlooked for seven-footer B.J. Mullens.
In last night's 77-53 win against Indiana, Diebler started strong, shooting 3-for-3 from distance, and then finished the game with 17 points, five assists, three rebounds, two blocks, and one steal.
Buford led the Buckeyes in scoring with 19 points and added seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Between the two starting guards, they shot 9-for-16 from behind the arc and only committed one turnover. For this team to be successful, Diebler and Buford have to continue to play at this recent level of production.
The Buckeyes will also need Mullens to live up to the hype, even coming off the bench. His play has improved as of late, and he contributed 14 points and eight rebounds in the win against Indiana. Mullens has scored in double figures four out of the last seven games, but most of his points have come once the game was decided. He has yet to have a double-digit rebound game.
The game was never close. It looked Ohio State had tipped-off against a JV squad, as Ohio State was able to get easy shots and the Hoosiers had to work for everything. While Indiana continues to improve, they will have to be content with moral victories, and this season there will be plenty.
But the rest of the Big Ten better get their shots in now, because Tom Crean has the third-best recruiting class coming next season, according to Rivals.com.
Kentucky vs. Tennessee
Stat Line of the Night: 54 points, 15-for-22 from the field, 10-for-22 from three, 14-for-14 from the charity stripe, eight rebounds, four assists, and one steal.
Jodie Meeks broke Dan Issel's 39-year-old single game scoring record by scoring 54 points and led the Kentucky Wildcats into Knoxville and beat the No. 24 Tennessee Volunteers 90-72.
I am not sure what is more disturbing: the ease with which Meeks scored, the fact that no other Wildcat was in double figures, or the way Tennessee has completely fallen apart.
The typical Tennessee intensity was not present, as the Volunteers were just as excited to watch Meeks break the record, opting not to play defense.
Meeks did put on an amazing show, shooting from everywhere, but he did not force shots. He hit all his free throws and hit shots far behind the three-point line with defenders in his face.
But it was too easy for Meeks, and there was nothing Bruce Pearl and the Volunteers could have done. But they could have at least tried a little harder. Heads-up to Coach Pearl—Meeks wears No. 23 for the blue team. Just thought you should know.
Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism did their best, scoring 19 and 18 respectively and making the game interesting about midway through the second half before Meeks decided to remove all doubt and finish the game and record off.
Tulsa vs. Memphis
Tulsa turned in a solid performance and had the Tigers in a cage until Antonio Anderson hit a driving lay-up as time expired to give Memphis the win on the road, 55-54.
Memphis had led the majority of the game until Tulsa made a comeback in the second half behind juniors Jerome Jordan and Ben Uzoh. The game was tied at 39 points apiece with 12 minutes left in the second half.
The 6'3" Uzoh had a strong game with 16 points, eight rebounds, two steals, and two blocks and hit two clutch free throws with 4.5 seconds to give Tulsa their last lead.
Tulsa's Jordan is playing just his fourth year of organized basketball. Jordan gave the Tigers trouble in the post and finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, and four blocks on Tuesday night. The seven-foot junior has come on strong this season, scoring in double figures in 13 of Tulsa's last 15 games.
For Memphis, the freshman Tyreke Evans finally looked comfortable. He was quick, decisive with the ball, and shot well from the floor. Evans got to the foul line eight times and was 2-for-2 from deep, but did have four turnovers.
Anderson might have carried the ball on the last play, but we won't talk about that.
Dunk of the Night: Florida State freshmen Chris Singleton had a clear path down the lane. He went to the hole to grab a rebound on a missed shot that bounced straight at him. Singleton stretched way back in mid-air, grabbed the ball, and threw it down hard. It doesn't sound as impressive as it was to watch it. But it was ridiculous. FSU won the game, beating North Carolina State 78-65.
The Kansas Jayhawks beat their in-state rivals from Manhattan, Kansas 87-71 behind 24 points of Sherron Collins. This "rivalry" was really good for one season. This season, not so much.
After recently having the nation's longest home winning streak snapped, the BYU Cougars defeated the TCU Horned Frogs 73-61 to stretch their new home winning streak to two games in a row. Only 51 more to match the last one.
Homer Shout Out: The North Dakota Fighting Sioux needed overtime to beat the University of Mary 84-78. UND's Daniel Harkins led all scorers with 25 points.
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