Breakdownability: Northwestern at Ohio State

Written February 13th, 2013 by Ken

Northwestern basketball, I think.

School: Northwestern University
Location: Evanston, IL
Founded: 1851
Student Population: 19,184 total, 8,425 undergrad
School Type: Private
Stadium: Welsh-Ryan Arena
Seating: 8,117
Opened: 1952, renovated 1983
Head Coach: Bill Carmody
Experience: 11th year at NU


The 13th ranked Buckeyes (17-6, 7-4) host the Northwestern Wildcats (13-11, 4-7) Thursday evening.

Northwestern enters the game going 1-1 for the week, while Ohio State comes off a tough loss against Michigan and doing even less well against #1 ranked Indiana.

As always, the good information pulled from the excellent site at Statsheet. Old, yet reliable, you know the drill.

Northwestern
The Wildcats are an interesting contrast in styles, talent aside. NU hoists 22 3-pointers (42% of FG attempts) per game, 5 more that OSU. Fortunately, they only make 35% of these attempts. Their style is outside shooting and a very patient offense also looking for off-ball and back door cuts to free up their shooters.

GP MPG PPG FG% FT% 3P% RPG APG TPG
#3 D. Sobolewski 24 35.3 11.0 42.2 57.9 38.2 2.7 4.2 1.9
#12 J. Swopshire 24 32.5 9.7 45.1 72.7 35.6 6.7 2.3 1.3
#11 R. Hearn 22 32.3 14.2 48.3 71.8 35.3 4.5 1.4 1.8
#22 A. Olah 24 21.6 6.1 42.9 46.2 30.0 4.0 2.1 1.4
#14 T. Demps 23 16.5 7.0 37.7 74.3 32.3 1.8 0.7 0.7

Ohio State
The Buckeyes are coming off two tough conference games, no surprise there. Hosting the Wildcats should be good for what ails them. At this point, better than going to Evanston. The usual cast of characters, below. Key stats for starters:

GP MPG PPG FG% FT% 3P% RPG APG TPG
#1 D. Thomas 23 34.9 20.1 46.0 83.0 40.0 6.1 1.5 1.5
#4 A. Craft 23 33.2 9.6 39.5 81.3 31.1 3.9 4.4 2.0
#32 L. Smith Jr. 23 28.3 10.3 45.2 66.7 40.0 5.3 1.7 1.5
#12 S. Thompson 23 23.9 6.8 47.2 70.0 31.3 3.3 1.1 1.0
#23 A. Williams 23 17.1 4.3 61.2 56.5 0.0 4.0 0.1 0.9

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)
N’western 49.0% 17.1% 27.6% 37.3% 62 1.02 0.99
Ohio State 51.7% 17.2% 32.8% 34.6% 65 1.10 0.90

Thad is fairly confident..

Northwestern has been starting Sobolewski (6‘1“), Demps (6‘4“), Hearn (6‘4“), Swopshire (6’8”) and Olah (7’0”). I say that with the past tense because Jared Swopshire has suffered a season ending (and probably career ending) knee injury. We wish him nothing but the best of luck in his recovery, and sorely wish we could have enjoyed seeing him play tomorrow.

OSU counters the Wildcat front with their typical lineup of Craft (6’2”), Smith (6’4”), Thomas (6’7”), Thompson (6’7”) and Williams (6’11). The Northwestern offense runs through Sobolewski much the way that Craft manages the Ohio State offense. In fact, Sobolewski and Craft can probably be considered doppelgangers.

.. Bill is, well, I’m not quite sure..

The Buckeyes back-court will be defensively challenged to at least challenge the Wildcat 3-pt shooting while being aware, along with their front line of screen and rolls and backdoor cuts. While OSU is far more athletic, this is going to be a bit nerve-wracking since they absolutely cannot fall asleep on UN.

This is a game where Ohio State nominally should win fairly easily. However, Carmody generally has his team play at an annoyingly tenacious level for big games. Thad needs to instill that, coming down the conference stretch run, no team can be taken lightly. I anticipate the Buckeyes to win this in low double digits.

Tip-off is Thursday February 14th at 7:00PM the Value City Arena. Don’t let the fact that this game is played on Valentine’s Day dissuade you from attending the game. If you decide not to attend the game, please join us for the live blog set for 15 minutes before tip-off. Television coverage provided by BTN.

1 Comment

  1. BobNo Gravatar
    February 14th, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Great column and great humor.

    [Reply]

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