School: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Location: Minneapolis, MN and St. Paul, MN
Student Population: 51,853 total, 30,375 undergrad
School Type: Public
Stadium: Williams Arena, AKA ‘The Barn’
Head Coach: Orlando ‘Tubby’ Smith
Experience: 6th year
The 18th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes host the Minnesota Golden Gophers Wednesday night in the only regular season meeting between these teams. This should be an interesting match-up, since both teams are just about as close statistically as you can imagine, below.
Both teams come off challenging games Sunday afternoon; Ohio State looking abysmal while losing to Wisconsin (49-71) while Minnesota was similarly roasted by Iowa (51-72). Both teams enter the game having lost three of their last four games. This is not the way to build momentum going into tournament play. Granted, during this span, OSU’s losses came against ranked teams, but the Bucks were also ranked, so it’s not like they were fighting above their weight-class. At least on the surface, anyway.
I’ll pull together a few stats, with the usual commentary. Information will be pulled from the excellent site at statsheet. You’re familiar with the drill by now.
The Badgers (18-8, 6-7) closely mirror the Buckeyes in performance and efficiency metrics. Their starting lineup goes; Austin Hollins (G, 6’4”), Andre Hollins (G, 6’1”), Joe Coleman (G, 6’4”), Rodney Williams (F, 6’7”) and Trevor Mbakwe (F, 6’8”). Although Andre and Austin are both from the Memphis area, they are not related. Small world. Starter stats, below.
The Buckeyes (18-7, 8-5) host the Gophers to hopefully get the ship righted. For your reviewing pleasure, your OSU starters; Aaron Craft (G, 6’2”), Lenzelle Smith, Jr. (G, 6’4”), DeShaun Thomas (F, 6’7”), Sam Thompson (F,6’7”) and Amir Williams (C, 6’11”). Seeing significant playing time will be Shannon Scott (G, 6’1”), Evan Ravenel (C/F, 6’8”) and LaQuinton Ross (F, 6’8”). Key stats for starters below:
|#32||L. Smith Jr.||25||28.1||10.2||45.5||39.1||67.9||5.2||1.7||1.5|
The below table has the comparative Four Factors as well as possessions per game (PPP), points per possession – offense (PPP-O) and points allowed per possession (PPP-D).
|eFG%||TO%||Off Reb||FT Rate||PPG||PPP (O)||PPP (D)|
As the key metrics indicate, although their records are similar, there are a few differences. Ohio State is a slightly better shooting team, but Minnesota is a much better offensive rebounding team. Fortunately, the Gophers turn the ball over quite a bit. So, basically the Minnesota offense consists of trying to get the ball down the floor, miss the shot, then grab the offensive rebound for the put-back.
The other noticeable difference is the Gophers shoot more free throws than the Buckeyes; but since they are a worse free-throw shooting team than us, that statistic will probably be a wash in terms of putting points on the scoreboard Wednesday.
Ohio State needs to put forth a much better defensive effort than they showed on Sunday. With Minnesota’s tendency to turn the ball over, OSU needs to apply on-ball pressure. With this offense (DeShaun Thomas and whoever else shows up) the Buckeyes have to play solid, fundamental defense to prevent opponent scoring runs and to create transition opportunities. I want to emphasize this aspect, because in this recent ‘lost 3 of 4′ span, OSU was called for more personal fouls than their opponents in each loss.
Tip-off is on Wednesday at 7:00 PM EST at Value City Arena. Please join us for the live chat at 6:45PM. The game will be televised on the BTN, if you plan to watch.