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USC Upstate (6-4) at (2) Ohio State (8-1)



Wednesday, December 14th, 7:30 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor

FACTS & STATS: Site: Value City Arena (19,049) -- Columbus, Ohio. Television: BTN. Home Record: USC Upstate 4-0, Ohio St. 8-0. Away Record: USC Upstate 1-3, Ohio St. 0-1. Neutral Record: USC Upstate 1-1, Ohio St. 0-0. Conference Record: USC Upstate 0-0, Ohio St. 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: Coming off their first loss of the season, the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes return to the friendly confines of Value City Arena, as they take on the USC Upstate Spartans this evening in a non-conference affair.

Thad Matta's Buckeyes opened the season with eight straight wins in Columbus, but a short-handed OSU squad took to the road this past weekend and fell to the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence, 78-67. Matta, who reached 300 career wins with OSU's victory over Texas-Pan American recently, is closing in on his 200th victory with the Buckeyes, as he currently sits at 198-58 with the school.

The Spartans are 6-4 on the season, but come into this contest following back- to-back losses against UNC Asheville (88-81) and most recently, Dayton (72-68). The competition thus far has not exactly been up the Ohio State's caliber, as this is just the second game against a program from a major conference. USC Upstate opened the 2011-12 campaign with a 20-point loss at Arkansas.

This is the first-ever meeting between these two program. Ohio State is a perfect 12-0 against Atlantic Sun Conference members all-time.

The Spartans went toe-to-toe with the Flyers over the weekend, but just weren't able to get over the hump in a four-point road loss. The team shot the ball well enough to win, hitting 50.9 percent from the floor overall, including 53.6 percent in the second half. The problem was that Dayton shot the ball better, at a 57.8 percent clip for the game. The loss spoiled a strong performance by Torrey Craig, who led the charge with 21 points and seven rebounds. Fellow forward Ricardo Glenn chipped in 10 points in the loss. The Spartans aren't an offensive juggernaut by any means, but the team has been efficient in terms of scoring, averaging 74.1 ppg on .467 shooting. Craig is the go-to-guy, averaging 16.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. No one else is currently averaging double figures, although Adrian Rodgers (9.7 ppg), Glenn (9.3 ppg) and Ty Greene (9.0 ppg) do provide some depth.

The road wasn't kind to the Buckeyes over the weekend, although not having All-American Jared Sullinger on the floor was certainly a big reason for the loss. The Buckeyes fell behind early and never led in the 11-point loss to the Jayhawks. William Buford led the way offensively, scoring 17 of his game-high 21 points in the second half. Deshaun Thomas poured in 19 points, while Aaron Craft finished with 11 points and six assists. Clearly, the Buckeyes are a far better team all around with Sullinger in the lineup. The 6-9 sophomore has missed the last two games with back spasms and is expected to miss this contest. On the season, Sullinger is averaging a double-double with team-highs of 19.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Balance comes in the form of Buford and Thomas at 16.6 and 13.6 ppg, respectively. Craft runs the offense and has shown the ability to score (9.9 ppg) as well as distribute (5.6 apg).

The Spartans can compete with a lot of teams this season, but this contest in Columbus will certainly present a problem. Even without Sullinger in the lineup, expect the Buckeyes' superior talent to shine in yet another lopsided win at home.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio State 79, USC Upstate 51

12/14 10:43:16 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ECU 31
UCONN 21
Final
CHA 79
IND 88
Final
CAL 5
CAR 0
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
CAR
 
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
Final
CHA 79
IND 88
Final
DET 109
PHI 103
Final
NOP 88
DAL 85
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
DAL
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
NYK
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
MIA
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
MIN
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
SAN
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
PHO
 
10:00pm Tonight
LAL
SAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
DEN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
POR
 
Final
ECU 31
UCONN 21
Final
VT 6
MIAMI 30
7:00pm Tonight
CIN
SFLA
7:30pm Tonight
SALABAMA
TROY
9:00pm Tonight
BSU
BYU
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
OREG
Final
BOS 2
NYI 3
Final
DET 4
PIT 3
Final
MIN 2
ARI 0
Final
NAS 3
CHI 2
Final
STL 1
VAN 4
Final
CAL 5
CAR 0
Final
LOS 2
BUF 0
Final
SJS 4
CLB 5
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
DAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
TAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
VAN
 
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
CAR
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
CLB
 
Final
DEN 35
SDC 21