Breakdownability: Minnesota at Ohio State

Written February 19th, 2013 by Ken

School: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Location: Minneapolis, MN and St. Paul, MN

Founded: 1851

Student Population: 51,853 total, 30,375 undergrad

School Type: Public

Stadium: Williams Arena, AKA ‘The Barn’

Seating: 14,625

Opened: 1928

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.

#20 A. Hollins 26 30.1 11.3 41.5 34.4 78.8 3.4 2.7 1.4
#1 A. Hollins 26 29.1 13.7 41.1 39.7 79.4 3.2 3.4 2.4
#11 J. Coleman 26 28.1 9.4 47.3 34.8 68.7 4.1 1.7 2.2
#33 R. Williams 25 28.7 11.4 50.2 25.0 65.9 5.3 1.5 1.6
#32 T. Mbakwe 26 24.5 9.7 56.5 0.0 61.4 8.6 1.1 1.8

Ohio State

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:

#1 D. Thomas 25 35.0 20.1 45.6 38.5 83.2 6.2 1.5 1.4
#4 A. Craft 25 33.3 9.3 39.0 29.9 81.3 3.7 4.4 1.8
#32 L. Smith Jr. 25 28.1 10.2 45.5 39.1 67.9 5.2 1.7 1.5
#12 S. Thompson 25 24.0 7.1 48.9 32.4 68.3 3.3 1.1 1.1
#23 A. Williams 25 17.0 4.4 59.6 0.0 54.7 4.0 0.1 0.8

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)
Minnesota 49.9% 21.5% 45.2% 42.7% 64 1.10 0.96
Ohio State 51.2% 17.1% 33.4% 34.2% 65 1.10 0.92

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.


I’m sure you’ll figure something out Thad.

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.

Go Buckeyes!

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.


  1. RyanNo Gravatar
    February 19th, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Definitely a must win.


  2. GaryNo Gravatar
    February 19th, 2013 at 10:22 am

    A loss here could drop them out the Top 25?


    ErictBBCNo Gravatar
    February 19th, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Not likely. A loss here maybe drops them to the bottom of the top 20. We’re still 11 after the pasting in Madison, so anything really goes this year.


    KenNo Gravatar
    February 19th, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I’m not sure, Gary. Buckeyes dropped 5 spots this week after the Madison Mauling, and have lost 3 of 4, which is not the best trajectory. A loss to Minnesota, depending on how “pretty” it is would likely get us close to Top 25 cutoff.


  3. C-DogNo Gravatar
    February 19th, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I’m pretty much done with these guys after Sunday. What a crappy, lackluster effort against a team whose players are inferior to Ohio State at EVERY single position. Even the last guy off of Ohio State’s bench is better than the last guy off of Wisconsin’s bench. Yet Ohio State shows up and stands around like the game is merely a shoot-around. If they don’t wanna play, I don’t wanna watch ‘em. Aren’t there any more new football recruits to talk about?


    C-DogNo Gravatar
    February 19th, 2013 at 10:33 am

    This is barely a top 40 team.


    WVaBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    February 19th, 2013 at 11:29 am

    lots of respect in place Nationally for this program, may help with confidence down the stretch but im not sure how


    GaryNo Gravatar
    February 19th, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I agree that this team has issues but we are talking about a very tough B1G conference. I think their inability to find an identity, combined with the conference toughness is making for bad results at the moment.


    C-DogNo Gravatar
    February 19th, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    This is an excuse for lack of effort. Disgusting. If Thomas leaves at the end of the season, this team will win 15 games next year.


    KenNo Gravatar
    February 19th, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    C-Dog, I don’t think it’s so much a lack of effort, although that reason is very possible, as the lack of production.

    Gary, that’s a good point about the lack of identity.

    The thing that confounds me, is a consistent lack of scoring from Smith and Craft. Maybe I’d expected too much from them, but since they are the upperclassman leaders, along with Thomas, I’d expected more consistent scoring from AC and LSJr.

    GaryNo Gravatar
    February 19th, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    I don’t feel it’s an excuse, I feel it’s an explanation. I also am not saying that they shouldn’t be playing better either b/c I think they should be.

  4. KenNo Gravatar
    February 19th, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Another potential flaw is the way that Thad historically distributes playing time, and it’s impact down the road on player development/game readiness. This point has nothing to do with who he’s recruit how, but past playing time.

    It strikes me that Thad has been forced to go with different combinations and with the bench getting more playing time this year than the past few years. I think he’s trying to find a handful of players that play well together (see ‘Identity’) and hasn’t found it yet.

    That’s just a gut feel right now. Maybe I’ll Muse about it next week.


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