In the biggest game of the season so far for No. 1 Ohio State, is is fitting that the two biggest…
As the Buckeyes prepared for Saturday's road contest with Illinois, a video clip featuring three members of the team quickly went viral on the internet. The video, which is slated to appear on the scoreboard at Value City Arena later this season, features Jon Diebler, Aaron Craft and Jared Sullinger crooning along to the Miley Cyrus hit "Party in the U.S.A."
Actually, crooning might be too kind of a description. Typically off key and occasionally not in the same room as the melody, each Buckeye is shown wearing headphones in front of a screen showing Cyrus' original music video. This version is titled "Party in the O-S-U" and Diebler said he got a kick out of his singing debut.
"I really do like that song," he said with a laugh. "It's a good little tune. I've caught a lot of crap for that. We all have. I think Craft is saving Jared and I a lot of punishment though, from what I hear."
Sullinger's voice best resembles a bass, while Diebler's has a baritone feel to it. Craft, on the other hand, finds himself in between pitches and fluctuates between falsetto and what vaguely resembles a tenor.
Craft finds himself attempting to hit the high notes. You can judge for yourself how successful he is by clicking here.
The video runs for 2:13, but Diebler announces that he is done at the 1:30 mark and Sullinger closes things out. According to the senior, Craft has received the most harassment since the video went out.
"I knew when to stop so I just decided to walk off," he said. "Obviously Craft and Jared didn't. I think that for how bad Jared and I were, I think Craft has taken most of the punishment."
Seated to Diebler's left, senior forward David Lighty laughed as his teammate discussed the video. Diebler then outed Lighty and said that all the players filmed similar videos, which appear set to be aired at games throughout the season.
"I can sing sometimes," Lighty said. "Probably when I'm alone though."
Limited to 26 minutes of action, Buford went 2 for 8 from the field and tied a season low with seven points.
"He tweaked his ankle," Matta said. "He's fine now. He was sore and it swelled up a little bit after the game. As we always do we took an X-ray when we got back and it was negative. He (was) moving great (Monday). We expect him to be 100 percent."
Dancing Thomas – Freshman forward Deshaun Thomas had plenty of reason to be dancing following OSU's win at Illinois. The prolific prep scorer had been struggling in recent games, but he contributed eight second-half points in 12 minutes of action to help spark his team's offensive attack.
Thomas has shown a propensity to pull up from just about anywhere on the court – with mixed results. Although he entered the game shooting 49.6 percent (68 for 137) from the field, he was just 9 for 38 (23.7 percent) from three-point range.
He also averaged a shot attempt every 2.3 minutes. So it was that after he hit two treys in quick order against the Fighting Illini, Matta both praised him and offered some words of caution.
"I'll be honest: when he hit those two threes the other day I grabbed him and said, ‘Only good ones now,' " the coach said. "He smiled and understood what I was saying."
In addition to being a spark off the bench, Thomas has inherited a role P.J. Hill held as a senior last season. Shortly before tip-off, the Buckeyes link arms and bend at the waist, forming a circle near the free-throw line closest to the team bench. As they sway back and forth, any player has the opportunity to migrate to the middle and dance.
For the majority of the season, that player has been Thomas.
"Anyone can go up and dance is they want to," Lighty said. "He's just the one that goes all the time."
Added Diebler: "Craft, Sully and I are going to stick to singing."