Preview: Northwestern at #25 Ohio State

By Corey Carpenter on January 19, 2010 at 7:00a
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The return of Dallas SwatterdaleGut feeling, Swatterdale makes an appearance.
Ohio State Buckeyes #25 Ohio State 13-5, 3-3 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 7:00 PM ET - BTN —— The Schott Columbus, OH Northwestern Wildcats Northwestern 13-4, 2-3 Big Ten Roster | Schedule

The Buckeyes are looking to win their third straight and get above the .500 mark in conference play, while the Wildcats are fresh off a home win against Purdue, but haven't won in Columbus since 1977.

They did however take down the Bucks last year in Evanston, 72-69, when John Shurna hit a 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left, giving the Wildcats 13 treys made in the game.

NU is a young squad after losing Kevin Coble to a season-ending injury, but Bill Carmody has parlayed that into the Wildcats's best 17 game start since the 1945-46 season.

#NamePTSREBASSTPOS#NamePTSREBASST
21 Evan Turner 18.5 9.4 5.3 G 22 Micahel Thompson 14.4 2.1 4.4
33 Jon Diebler 13.3 3.0 1.8 G 23 Jeremy Nash 8.6 3.5 2.8
44 William Buford 13.3 5.3 3.2 F 24 John Shurna 16.8 7.1 2.6
23 David Lighty 13.3 4.9 2.8 F 1 Drew Crawford 10.9 4.6 1.6
52 Dallas Lauderdale 6.9 4.9 0.3 C 12 Luke Mirkovic 7.7 6.1 2.5

Opponent

Northwestern started the season 10-1 and had a brief stay in the top 25 before conference play started. Besides the Purdue win, they've taken down NC State, Notre Dame, Stanford and Michigan. Carmody finally found an inside presence, to go along with his love of the three point attempt and 2-3 zone.

At 9.12 treys made per game, the Wildcats lead the B10 and rank 10th nationally, while also ranking 4th with 25.3 attempts from the arc. As expected, NU takes great care of the ball, leading in A/T.O. ratio with 16.9 to 11.3 and their zone has held opponents to just 28.7 percent from deep, which also ranks as best in the league. The Wildcats come in scoring 69.8 points per game on 43.1 percent shooting overall and 36.1 from triple land.

The Wildcats aren't very deep and Carmody usually runs with his starters from most of the game. Sophomore 7-foot center, Kyle Rowley has seen his minutes dip lately, mainly due to the play of Mirkovic, but he is the primary height off the bench, averaging 10 minutes, 2.3 points and 2.4 boards. Freshman Alex Marcotullio plays 16 minutes a game and will pose a threat from the arc, averaging 6.1 points on the heels of 37.1 percent from deep.

As mentioned, Mirkovic has developed into a presence down low, recording 10.7 points and 9.7 boards in his last 4, including a 16 and 10 effort against Purdue. The game before against Whisky saw him register 8 points, 10 caroms and 6 dimes, against 0 turnovers.

Buckeye Breakdown:

Ohio State comes in scoring 75.4 points a game and shoot 49.7 percent from the floor, which has crept them back up to 8th nationally. They lead the conference in that category for all games, along with 3 point percentage (39.6) and scoring margin (14.3), while ranking second in scoring defense at 60.7 points.

In case you missed it, Turner was named the POW for the 4th time this year and 7th time in his career, after scoring 23.5 PPG last week. The Buckeyes are now 3-1 against top 25 teams when ET is in the lineup, with Turner averaging 24.2 points, 9.6 boards and shooting 58 percent. Evan needs 7 more assists to become the second Buckeye (Jim Jackson) to record 1,000 points, 500 boards and 300 assists in a career.

As Jason pointed out yesterday, it's time for the Buckeyes to make a run. Their next 6 conference games are against the lower half of the standings and 4 of them are at home, with roadies at Iowa and Indiana. Wisconsin and Michigan, the 2 teams ahead of OSU have to each visit Purdue, host MSU and play one another over their next 4 games.

If you noticed, the trio of secondary scorers behind The Villian are sitting on a statistical oddity, each averaging 13.3 points per game or having scored 240 points on the season. Diebler has had good success against the Wildcats, scoring almost 16 per game and connecting on 18 of 32 from deep, including a career high 8 triples and 28 points last year in Evanston. Buford and Lighty need to have an attacking mentality tonight, looking to find the open gaps of the defense, but also must be aware of the Wildcats lulling them to sleep and creating a little impatience on the offensive end.

The Wildcats are a much improved team and John Shurna has stepped up his game, but with Turner back and the trio of scorers behind him, I think there's too much talent on Ohio State's end to loose this game. NU will make some triples to stay close, but Dallas has a big game defensively and limits their scoring options, to help OSU win 74-61.

Etc

  • NU outrebounded Purdue 42-23.
  • 6 Buckeyes are shooting over 50% at home this year, lead by Lauderdale's 30 of 37.
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