Where: The Schott â€“ Columbus, OH
When: 8:00pm EST
Records: OSU 14-3 (2-1); Wildcats 10-7 (0-4)
Opponent: The Wildcats and their Princeton offense visit The Schott in the midst of a 4 game losing streak after falling to #3 Wisconsin 56-50 on Saturday. Freshman Jeff Ryan started in place of the teams injured leading scorer, Kevin Coble, and led Northwestern with 18 points. NU led 26-24 at the break and trailed just 43-42 with seven minutes left before finally taking the needle. Coble, a 6â€™10â€ freshman from Phoenix, is listed as doubtful with a twisted ankle suffered in practice last Wednesday. If he canâ€™t go, thatâ€™ll be a major setback to any chances the Wildcats have of pulling what would be a ridiculously huge upset. How ridiculous, you ask? Northwestern hasnâ€™t beaten Ohio State in Columbus since 1978 (23 straight) and they're 2-27 against ranked OSU squads. (Those two nuggets are straight out of my new $25 media guide. FEEL the value!)
Players: The â€˜Cats only give seven guys significant minutes and thatâ€™s with a healthy Coble. Sophomore guard Craig Moore is the 2nd leading scorer with 10.2 a game followed by senior guard Tim Doyle, who scores 10.1 per game along with 5.6 assists but 2.6 turnovers a night. 6â€™10â€ senior center Vince Scott will draw the assignment of containing Old Man Oden. As usual, Northwestern will look to slow the game down and force OSU to execute in the half-court on offense and especially defense. The Wildcats will get killed on the boards but wonâ€™t turn it over much, averaging just 11 miscues per game.
Notes: The Wildcats held Wisconsin to just 2-12 from downtown and registered 9 stealsâ€¦NUâ€™s last victory against OSU occurred on 2/21/98 in Evanstonâ€¦Bill Carmody is in his 6th season (82-95) at the helm.
Buckeye Breakdown: OSU looks to build on their first win against a ranked opponent, a 68-66 decision over #16 Tennessee on Saturday. Greg Oden got loose on the small Vols to the tune of 24 points, 15 rebounds and 4 assists and Ron Lewis nailed a three with 11 seconds left to secure the victory. Amazingly, the Bucks shot 90% from the line going 18 of 20. The news wasnâ€™t all good as OSU struggled to solve Tennesseeâ€™s full court pressure, coughing up 20 turnovers and the trio of Jamar Butler, Daequan Cook and Ron Lewis all but disappeared offensively, combining for 11 points and 9 turnovers. Yikes. I can smell those rancid numbers from here.
Key Players: Matta will likely give NU a steady dose of Oden whenever the opportunity to run is denied. Mike Conley will look to push the tempo when itâ€™s there and feed the Manchild in the post when itâ€™s not. Conley will be focused on taking better care of the ball after committing five turnovers against UT. The five TOâ€™s were a season high for Conley, who committed just 4 turnovers in the previous 4 games. Cook is set to go off after back to back stinkers in which he shot a combined 3-16 for 9 points.
Notes: OSU leads the all-time series 101-44â€¦Ron Lewis averages 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 4 career games against Northwestern while Jamar Butler averages 9.7 points in 3 gamesâ€¦OSU leads the conference in Scoring Offense (78.7), Rebounds (37.5), Field Goal Shooting (48.6%) and 3-Point Shooting (38.9%)â€¦Next up: Iowa (Sat 1/20 @ 8pm)