Greetings Hoops Fans! This is Dave Horning for Fan Podcast with a preview of the next Ohio State Buckeyes game which will be a first round game in the NCAA Tournament – March Madness has arrived at Ohio State.

On the CBS Selection Show last Sunday night, it was revealed that Ohio State would be playing the South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Thursday, March 15th at the Taco Bell Arena on the campus of Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. Tip-Off is 4:00pm Columbus Time. The game will be televised on the TNT Network.

In the Team Rankings Website of all 351 Division 1 Men’s basketball programs, Ohio State is ranked Number 20, South Dakota State is ranked Number 35, and Penn State is ranked Number 77. South Dakota State is also ranked higher than UCLA, Louisville, Butler and Syracuse.

The Taco Bell Arena seats 12,644 and has hosted the NCAA March Madness first or second round games eight times in the past – it is a popular site for the NCAA.

The good news for the Buckeyes is that Ohio State fans travel well, so there will be a couple thousand fans in the stands to cheer on the Buckeyes. The campus of South Dakota State University is located in the city of Brookings – on the eastern side of South Dakota which means that it is a long long way from Boise – it would be a 1,344 mile or 18 1/2 hour drive – so there won’t be many Jackrabbit or Buckeye fans driving to this game. The South Dakota State Jackrabbits, or the Jacks as they are called for short, play in The Summit League, which includes South Dakota and North Dakota State. The farthest team west is the University of Denver – so Boise Idaho is not a location where the Jacks play on a regular basis. However, the local fans in Idaho will be more likely to root for the most western team, and also for the underdog, so this will be more of an away game than a neutral site for the Buckeyes. But, it’s not as bad as Lipscomb having to play the North Carolina Tarheels in Charlotte, or Bucknell having to play the Michigan State Spartans in Detroit.

The Buckeyes will not have a difficult time getting motivated for this game. Many “Bracketology” experts are picking this as their upset special. One reason is that the Jacks are appearing in their third straight NCAA Tournament – so this is an experienced team looking for its first win in the NCAAs. Last year, they were a 16th seed and were beaten by Gonzaga in the First Round, but they have gained experience and are having a much better season this year, having won their last 11 games in a row and sporting a record of 28 wins against 6 losses.

The other reason many so-called Bracketology experts are picking an upset is because South Dakota State has a genuine star player in Number 24 – 6-9 Junior Power Forward Mike Daum, or as CBS Selection show host Greg Gumbel called him, “The Daum-inator”. He was the Summit League Player of the Year, averaging 23.8 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game. There is a lot of talk that he will skip his Senior year and make himself available for the NBA draft – so this will be an interesting match-up between him and Keita Bates-Diop. There will be many NBA scouts watching this game.

The Daum-inator had 11 games where he scored 30 points or more, Keita had 2.
The Daum-inator made 91 3-point shots this season – shooting 42%
Keita Bates-Diop made 58 3-point shots this season – shooting 36%
The Daum-inator has 63 offensive rebounds, Keita has 47
The Daum-inator has 353 total rebounds, Keita has 281

I hope these statistics help fire up Keita Bates-Diop – it is tournament time and the star player usually carries his team forward.

Keita Bates Diop gave out 54 assists, The Daum-inator only 45
Keita Bates-Diop had 31 steals, the Daum-inator only 17
Keita Bates-Diop blocked 53 shots, the Daum-inator only 25
Keita Bates-Diop fouled only 55 times, the Daum-inator fouled 82 times.

In fact, in the Jacks last game, the Summit League championship game, Mike Daum got into foul trouble early and played only 27 minutes.
The Daum-inator is the listed as a Power Forward, and is, in fact, one of 5 finalists for the Karl Malone award as the NCAA Power Forward of the Year. However, as the tallest man and biggest man on the floor for the Jacks, he will probably be the one to guard Kaleb Wesson. Let’s hope the ball goes down low into Kaleb early and often, and that Kaleb can draws fouls on Mike Daum. It will be a great match-up to watch when the Buckeyes are on offense.

When the Jacks have the ball, who will guard The Daum-inator? Will it be Keita Bates-Diop, or will Andre Wesson get playing time in this capacity? On the radio show called “Pushing the Odds with Mike Perrault”, the South Dakota State coach, TJ Otzelberger, talked about how hard it is to guard “The Daum-inator” because of his high-release point – and, that he has range, which concerns me because that is the problem that Penn State gave us – their two 3-point threats, Shep Garner and Tony Carr, both shot from well behind the 3-point arc. Think of Mike Daum as a 6-9 Shep Garner – that is the challenge facing the Buckeyes.

In fact, Mike Perrault was saying that if a team has trouble guarding the 3, they could be in trouble against the Jacks. In the Summit League Championship game, the Jacks were 14 of 28 on their 3-point attempts as a team – so it is not just The Daum-inator who can shoot. Everyone on South Dakota State can and will shoot the 3-point shot.

The starting Lineup for the South Dakota State Jackrabbits will have one forward and 4 guards:
Number 24 6-9 Junior Forward Mike Daum – Number 24 – The Daum-inator
Number 23 6-6 Senior Guard Reed Tellinghuisen
Number 1 6-6 Senior Guard Skyler Flatten
Number 5 6-2 Freshman Guard David Jenkins Jr, their second leading scorer averaging 16 points a game – that’s Number 5 David Jenkins,
and finally, at point guard, Number 2 – 6-2 Junior Guard Tevon King, their assist leader with 103 assists on the year.

The Jackrabbits are coached by TJ Otzleberger, in his second year.

The Jacks have two key subs that will play:
Number 0 – 5-10 Junior Guard Brandon Key, who also gave out more than 100 assists on the year, and Number 25 – 6-5 Senior Guard Lane Severyn.

Ohio State’s Starting Lineup will be:
Number 34 – 6-9 Freshman Center Kaleb Wesson
Number 33 – 6-7 Junior Power Forward Keita Bates-Diop, the Big Ten Player of the Year,
Number 15 – 6-2 Senior Shooting Guard Kam Williams
Number 3 – 6-1 Junior Shooting Guard or Point Guard CJ Jackson, the Buckeyes leader in assists with 123 this season, and finally
Number 1 – 6-4 Senior Jae’Sean Tate, Point Guard or Small Forward

Ohio State is coached by Chris Holtmann in his first year at Ohio State, and it has been a great first year. A win in the first round of the NCAA tournament would be the cherry on the top. Let’s take it one game at a time from here on out – let’s beat these Jackrabbits.

The key to this game for the Buckeyes will be rebounding – returning to the principle of blocking out on defense to deny South Dakota State those second chance points. Over the entire season as a team, the Jacks have made 40% of their 3-point shot attempts, making 361 3-pointers this season. Ohio State has shot 35% over the season as a team, and have made only 216. We can NOT let them have second chances. That is how Penn State has been beating us.

When a team shoots and misses a 3-point shot, there is often a long rebound – that is why blocking out is so important – and not just the big men in the paint.

The game will be televised on the TNT Network at 4:00pm Columbus Time on Thursday, March 15th.

This is David Horning for Fan Podcast. It’s March Madness ! Go Buckeyes! Beat the Jacks!