Breaking Down Ohio State's 2008-2009 Basketball Schedule

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Breaking Down Ohio State's 2008-2009 Basketball Schedule
Questions surround the 2008 Basketball Buckeyes.
Who will replace Jamar Butler?
Can B.J. Mullins follow in the footsteps of Greg Oden and Kosta Koufos to be the next great OSU center? 
Will David Lighty step up and be the leader of this team?
Has Jon Diebler regained his shooting touch from his high school days and be able to be the shooting threat the Buckeyes so desperately need?
The 2007 Buckeyes rebounded nicely from the disappointment of not making the NCAA tournemant and went on the win the NIT Championship.
The 2008 team will face a tough schedule, but the team has the talent to make a run. Will that talent produce? Time will tell.

Let's take a look at the 2008 schedule.

Nov. 20 Delaware State (MEAC)
A perennially pesky team that is well coached. The Hornets maximize the talent on their roster and play defense first. DSU returns just about every major contributor from last season's team.

Nov. 24 Bowling Green (MAC)
Second year coach Louis Orr looks to build off last season's 13-17 record.  Chris Knight, a 6’ 7” product of Cincinnati, mad a splash in his first season.  If Knight can achieve better consistency in his second season, he could be a star in the MAC.

Nov. 29 Samford (OVC)
The Bulldogs are a scrappy bunch led by 6’ 10” center Travis Peterson who ended last season as one of only eight players in the country to lead his team in points, rebounds, and assists per game.

Dec. 02 at Miami (ACC)  *Big Ten/ACC Challenge
Miami returns four starters and its top-five scorers from that NCAA Tournament team, including All-America candidate and 2007-08 All-ACC First Team selection Jack McClinton, who averaged a team-high 17.7 points per game for the season and 18.8 points per game in ACC play.

Dec. 06 at Notre Dame (Big East)
The Buckeyes will face Notre Dame in the first ever basketball event at the new Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.  The Irish return nine upperclassmen form last season’s NCAA Tournament team and will make for a tough test for Ohio State.

Dec. 13 Butler (Horizon League)
Thad Matta’s Alma Mater and the school that gave him his first coaching job come to Columbus with a young but talented team.  Ohio State lost to the Bulldogs last season and will face a stiff test at home this season.

Dec. 17 Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun)
Dolphins Head Coach Cliff Warren will bring a very young and inexperienced squad to Columbus.

Dec. 20 Iona (MAAC)
The Gaels will be a tough test for the Buckeyes.  Iona has more than a few players that can score and are a very good rebounding team.  Talented freshman Trinity Fields joins seniors Devon Clarke, Gary Springer, and junior Alejo Rodriguez as the team’s best threats.

Dec. 22 UNC Asheville (Big South)
The Bulldogs have the tallest player in the NCAA in 7’7” senior Kenny George.  George also happened to lead the nation in field goal percentage for the 2007-2008 season shooting 69.6% from the field.  Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) George may not play this season because of a foot injury.

Dec. 27 West Virginia (Big East)
Athletic junior Wellington Smith will fill the shoes of superstar Joe Alexander and the Mountaineers have plenty of other talented players returning including forward Da’Sean Butler.  This may be the Buckeyes biggest non-conference test of the season.

Dec. 31 Iowa and Mar. 03 at Iowa
Iowa is consistently solid and the Hawkeyes will look to improve upon last seasons record under second year coach Todd Lickliter.  Iowa returns Cyrus Tate who lead the team in rebounds last season, three point sharp shooter Jake Kelly, and last season co-captain Jarryd Cole.

Jan. 03 at Minnesota and Feb. 07 Minnesota
The Gophers were a scrappy bunch last season and will certainly be much improved under second year head coach Tubby Smith.  Minnesota returns center Jonathan Williams, guard Jamal Abu-Shamala, and guard Lawrence Westbrook form last season’s NIT team.

Jan. 06 at Michigan State and Jan. 25 Michigan State
Michigan State is a perennial Big Ten contender and this season should be no different for the Spartans who return a talented group of players that include Marquise Gray, Goran Suton, and Raymar Morgan.

Jan. 09 Houston Baptist (Great West)
This should be a break from conference play for the Buckeyes, but the Huskies are talented and can score a lot of points.  Ohio State will have to be ready to play.

Jan. 13 Indiana and Jan. 31 at Indiana
Kelvin Sampson left the Hoosiers in shambles, but Tom Crean will get the program turned around and back to their winning ways.  It won’t happen this season though as the Hoosiers and short on experience and players because of NCAA sanctions.  Eight of the fifteen players on the roster are true freshman.

Jan. 17 at Michigan and Jan. 28 Michigan
The Wolverines will field a young and inexperienced team to start the season, but coach John Beilein will have his team ready to play once they get to the meat of the Big Ten schedule.  Talented incoming freshman and seven footer Ben Cronin will add some much needed height to the roster.

Jan. 20 at Illinois and Feb. 21 Illinois
The Illini are young, but always a dangerous.  Bruce Weber will use a relatively easy non-conference schedule to get his team ready for the Big Ten which could give the Illini confidence, but not necessarily prepare them for the tough Big Ten schedule.

Feb. 03 Purdue and Feb. 28 at Purdue
Purdue looks like the team to beat this season.  This is by far Matt Painter’s best team yet as head coach of the Boilermakers and they will be a tough team for anyone to beat.  The Buckeyes will have to be at their best.

Feb. 14 at Wisconsin
Wisconsin is always tough and solid.  This season will be no different.  Last season’s Big Ten Champs had a disappointing effort in the NCAA Tournament and will look to rebound this season and defend their title.

Feb. 18 at Northwestern and Mar. 08 Northwestern
Northwestern has been at the bottom of the basketball ranks in the Big Ten for a number of years, but they did show some improvement last season.  Coach Bill Carmody hopes this season is the season his team puts it together, but it will be a tough test.

Feb. 24 Penn State
Coach Ed DeChellis and the Nittany Lions will try to build off of last season’s moderate success and improvement.  The Lions will need leadership from seniors Jamelle Cornley, Will Leiner, Joonas Suotamo, and Danny Morrissey.
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