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Last updated: 11/04/2011 5:07 PM

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Men's Basketball
Two-Minute Drill: Matta Previews Walsh Exhibition
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Luke Fickell and the football Buckeyes have a noon kickoff this weekend against Indiana, but Thad Matta and his group will also be in action.

The No. 3 team in the country, and preseason pick to win the Big Ten, will host Walsh University in an exhibition game Sunday (2 p.m. ET, BTN.com) at Value City Arena.

Matta and his top returning players, Jared Sullinger and William Buford, met with the media Friday to preview the upcoming game.

Scrimmage vs. Ohio U

  • Matta said he didn't think his team was ready for the scrimmage against Ohio University last weekend.
  • William Buford agreed. He said they played a decent 40 minutes, but they got tired and did not play through it. He said that is the biggest thing right now with the young guys.
  • Jared Sullinger said “it’s obvious we’re young.” Also said they need to learn how to value possessions more. That's something Lighty, Diebler and Lauderdale hammered home last season.
  • Buford and Sullinger said it has been an extremely intense/hard week of practice following the scrimmage. They are trying to see how guys will respond when they are dead tired.
  • Buford said he has a more vocal leadership style than last year's seniors. Sullinger joked Will might throw a punch if guys don't listen.

Starting Five

  • Matta said he wasn't sure what his starting lineup would be for Sunday's exhibition, but he's excited about that. Good competition so far.
  • It could come down to combinations, which guys work best with which other guys.
  • Matta said 3 spots are open in the starting lineup, but he could be  referring to whether Aaron Craft would be at the 1 or the 2 and where Sullinger would be playing.
  • Sullinger said he has played as much PF as C so far in practice. Starting out at C and then moving to PF when another big checks in. That's the opposite of last year, when he started at PF and then moved to C when Craft came in to replace Lauderdale.

Upcoming Exhibition

  • Matta said rebounding will be a huge key Sunday against Walsh and heading into the season.
  • They will get a good test this week because Walsh can rebound the ball. Their big guy Kenny Kornowski (Jr., 6-9, Marshallville, OH/Smithville) scored 30 against Dayton in an exhibition loss to the Flyers.

Freshmen Coming Along

  • Matta said he really likes where all four of the freshmen are right now. Coming along faster than expected and eager to learn, but it's a process.
  • Sullinger mentioned they have only 5 guys who played any real minutes for OSU last year and two of them are Deshaun Thomas and Jordan Sibert.
  • Matta said he really likes where “DT” is right now. Has become a more well-rounded offensive player. Thomas is learning to play off guys like Sullinger and Buford, and realizing that it makes his job so much easier.

  • Sullinger mentioned that Evan Ravenel had experience playing in the ACC, but that's not the same as the Big Ten. Sullinger told him the Big Ten is more physical, a lot of bodies being thrown around. Not like the finesse/skill game of the ACC.


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