Two-Minute Drill: Matta, Buckeyes Ready for Carrier Classic
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State men’s basketball team practiced in Columbus for the final time Wednesday before making the trip to South Carolina.
That’s where Thad Matta and the Buckeyes will face Marquette University Friday evening (7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports) in the first game of the 2012 Carrier Classic. It will also be the first game of the season for Ohio State, which Matta talked about Wednesday when he met with the media, along with Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft.
* Matta kept asking himself over the summer why he signed up for the Carrier Classic, but it really hit him that it's about the troops.
* Matta said he hopes this event heightens his players' awareness of what the real world is like.
* Thomas said he's motivated to play well in front of the military guys this weekend.
* Craft said his brother, Brandon, will get back to the United State later this month. Just finished his last mission.
* Thomas on the camo uniforms: "I hope we get to keep them, but I heard we were going to give them to the troops."
Responding from Exhibition Game
* Craft said the team has responded well after the a shaky performance in the exhibition against Walsh.
* Craft said the young guys learned that just putting on the Ohio State uniform is not good enough. They have to work hard every day.
* Matta said with two days still to go he doesn't know if he'll start Sam Thompson or LaQuinton Ross.
* Matta said he's not 100% sure who he will start at center. They're still competing in practice, but he's not as concerned about who starts.
* Matta said his goal is start 5 guys who play the best together. Could have 70 different starting lineups this year, if that's what it takes.
* Matta said he thought about practicing outside but couldn't find a place he felt good about.
* Thomas on playing on the Carrier: "Hopefully if Aaron sees me diving in to the water, he'll try to catch me."
* Craft said if anyone can shoot through the wind on the Carrier, it's Deshaun. "He'll find a way to put the ball in the basket."
* Thomas said he got his start playing outside in Indiana, playing in the rain, so he's ready.
* Matta said Deshaun Thomas is the kind of kid where if there was a game going on, he was going to find a way to be there.
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