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Thad Matta’s not keen on sitting Jared Sullinger much longer


Mike Miller

Ohio State coach Thad Matta’s clearly in no rush to get Jared Sullinger back on the court. If he didn’t push him to play at Kansas – the Buckeyes’ first loss of the season – then he surely won’t push him to suit up Wednesday against South Carolina-Upstate.

Or will he?

Sullinger, the Buckeyes’ All-American center who leads the team in scoring and rebounding, worked out after practice Monday and looked “pretty good,” Matta said on his radio show, via the Columbus Dispatch. But the last thing Matta wants is to sit Sullinger for such an extended period that that he gets rusty.

“If he’s good and we have no risk, I’d like to ease him back in,” Matta said of Sullinger, “because if you’re off for a two-week stretch or whatever it would be . . . it’s not quite as easy as riding a bike where you just get on and take off again. We’re going to continue to look at him in practice and gauge how he feels the next day.”

Matta says it’s “obvious” Ohio State needs Sullinger back in the lineup. But when?

If not Wednesday, perhaps Saturday at South Carolina or Dec. 20 vs. Lamar. A Dec. 22 home game against Miami (Ohio) is the Buckeyes’ last tune-up before Big Ten play begins, so that may be the last chance if Matta seeks some kind of offensive cohesion.

Ohio State also has to work in freshman LaQuinton Ross, who practiced Monday for the first time with the team. The 6-8 wing is “OK” conditioning wise and should be able to contribute immediately thanks to his shooting skills.

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