School: Northwestern University
Location: Evanston, IL
Student Population: 19,184 total, 8,425 undergrad
School Type: Private
Stadium: Welsh-Ryan Arena
Opened: 1952, renovated 1983
Head Coach: Bill Carmody
Experience: 11th year at NU
The 16th ranked Buckeyes (20-7, 10-5) visit the Northwestern Wildcats (13-15, 4-11) Thursday evening, two weeks after their initial season meeting, won by Ohio State 69-59. Since then Northwestern has struggled, going winless (0-3) while barely averaging 42 points per game. Meanwhile, Ohio State has gone 2-1, coming off a mauling of Minnesota and an inspired win against t he #4 Spartans.
There isn’t a lot to write about this game; two teams heading in different directions. Ohio State is beginning to play well, Northwestern is continuing to struggle.
As always, the good information pulled from the excellent site at Statsheet. Old, yet reliable, you know the drill.
The Wildcats are an interesting contrast in styles, talent aside. NU hoists 22 3-pointers (43% of FG attempts) per game, 5 more that OSU. Fortunately, they only make 34% of these attempts. Their style is outside shooting and a very patient offense also looking for back door cuts to free up their shooters. Northwestern won’t put a big team on the floor with Dave Sobolewski (G, 6‘1“), Tre Demps (G, 6‘2“), Reggie Hearn (G, 6‘4“), Kale Abrahamson (F, 6’7”) and Alex Olah (C, 7’0”).
The Buckeyes are coming off two tough conference games, which they won, no less. Ohio State followed up a high energy, well played win over a fading Minnesota team with an impressive effort (and win) against the always tough, especially this time of year, Michigan State University Spartans.
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 Ravenal (C/F, 6’8”) and LaQuinton Ross (F, 6’8”). Key stats for starters:
|#32||L. Smith Jr.||27||27.2||9.7||45.2||67.9||38.5||4.9||1.7||1.4|
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)|
Ohio State needs to continue to play very efficiently and fundamentally sound on Thursday. The Bucks have put together two consecutive fundamentally sound, fairly well played games in the recent week Now is the time to build upon that to go into the Indiana and Illinois games prior to the Big Ten tourney. This is the stuff of which momentum can be built.
Normally, the games in Evanston tend to be more difficult than the records would indicate, but with Northwestern being very shorthanded with the unfortunate losses of Drew Crawford and Jared Swopshire, I’m not too concerned about the outcome. At this point in the season, Northwestern doesn’t shoot well, nor rebounds well. This should be a Perfect Storm with OSU seemingly starting to play well and a significantly out-manned Northwestern team that should result in a wide margin of victory for OSU.
Tip-off is Thursday February 28th at 7:00PM EST at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Please join us at 6:45 for Live Chat. Television coverage provided by ESPN2.