The third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes put their perfect record on the line on Friday evening, as they play host to the Kangaroos of UMKC in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
UMKC is an even 2-2 on the young season, having alternated wins and losses leading up this matchup with one of the top teams in land. The Kangaroos' two defeats have come against Seton Hall and Albany, while their wins have been over Lincoln (MO) and Norfolk State. Kansas City will open Summit League action next Thursday at home against IUPUI.
The Big Ten Conference presently owns three of the top four spots in the AP Top-25, and the Buckeyes are certainly worthy of being one of them as they possess a wealth of talent and are extremely well coached by Thad Matta and his staff. Ohio State has won all three of its games to this point by double digits, the most recent of which being a 77-66 triumph over Washington last Sunday in the championship game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The Buckeyes will face a serious challenge in their next outing, as they play at Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge next Wednesday. Another tough bout with Kansas looms just before Christmas, setting the team up for the rigors of Big Ten play which begin on Jan. 2, 2013 at home against Nebraska.
As you might expect considering the team's record after four games, UMKC is as average as average gets. The 'Roos are netting 64.2 ppg while allowing 64.5 ppg, and they are dead even in rebounding (33.5 rpg). Where they have excelled is in draining the three-point shot, checking in just shy of 40 percent (27- of-68). Kirk Korver and Estan Tyler are the only two players averaging double digits, but their respective figures of 12.3 and 11.8 ppg aren't about to intimidate a team as mighty as Ohio State. Tyler scored 15 points, leading four players in double figures as Kansas City topped Norfolk State last time out, 63-57. It was the second straight game in which Tyler led the team in scoring, and while it was outscored in the paint (26-16), in second-chance points (14-1) and in bench points (27-17), UMKC used a 21-7 edge in points from the foul line to earn the victory.
Ohio State has had very little trouble imposing its will against inferior competition thus far, as the team is averaging 76.0 ppg while yielding just 61.3 ppg. The Buckeyes are shooting 49.4 percent from the floor, which includes a 45.1 percent showing from three-point range, and the team boasts three double-digit scorers, the most explosive of which being junior forward Deshaun Thomas. A 50.9 percent shooter who has hit a team-high 10 treys, Thomas is averaging a gaudy 25.0 ppg while also heading the team's rebounding effort with 7.0 rpg. Aaron Craft is netting 17.0 ppg and he serves as the team's primary playmaker as well with 5.0 apg. Thomas poured in 31 points in the recent win over Washington, while also grabbing eight of the team's 34 rebounds. Craft added 18 points thanks to a perfect 8-of-8 showing at the free throw line, and Evan Ravenel chipped in with a dozen points for an OSU squad that hit 47.4 percent of its field goal attempts, despite missing 75 percent of its three-point tries (3-of-12).