School: University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Location: Lincoln, NE
Student Population: 19,345
School Type: Public – Land Grant
Stadium: Bob Devaney Sports Center
Head Coach: Tim Miles
Experience: 1st year at Nebraska
These teams met twice during the regular season, with Ohio State winning both games. If OSU can sweep the season, it moves them along the trail to the Big Ten tournament (BTT) finals and potentially a better seed in the NCAA’s. Frankly, I don’t expect this game to be anything other than a ’Win’. However, it is tournament, which means it‘s one-and-done, and I think that Tim Miles has his team pointed in the right direction, so the Huskers should not be taken lightly. Nebraska enters the BTT losing 3 of their last five regular season games, so they’re not picking up momentum. But, after a stellar defensive battle against the favored Boilermakers, the Huskers are clearly on the right path.
Meanwhile, Ohio State enters the BTT winning five consecutive games, highlighted by wins over Michigan State and Indiana. Players (those not named ’DeShaun Thomas’) are finding consistent (more or less) ways to contribute.
Below is the usual set of tables with relevant performance information will be pulled from the excellent site at Statsheet.
The 10th seeded Cornhuskers (14-17, 5-13) regular season, got by #7 seed Purdue Boilermakers for the privilege of playing Ohio State. Purdue will put Ray Gallegos (G, 6‘2“), Dylan Talley (G,6’5”) , Brandon Ubel (F, 6‘10“), David Rivers (G, 6’7”) and Shavon Shields (G, 6’6”). Mutt & Jeff coming off the bench will be Benny Parker (G, 5’9”) and Andre ‘The Giant’ Almeida (C, 6’11”, 314lbs). Key stats for starters:
By virtue of their (23-7, 13-5) record, the 10th ranked Buckeyes received the #2 seed and drew a 1st round bye. 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.||30||28.0||10.1||44.8||68.8||39.6||5.0||1.6||1.3|
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)|
Tim Miles brings a thin, in terms of depth, team to this game. Based on previous games, I expect initially Nebraska playing with a lot of energy, because it’s what they do. If Gallegos and Talley come out hitting 3’s, this is going to be a tenacious game. If they doink these 3’s, then the rout is on.
If Thad gets his charges out to a fast start, playing with focus and energy, this game will go into the ‘W’ column. If OSU continues to play the same type of tenacious, sound positioning with their perimeter defense they did against Illinois. We don’t need the Huskers raining 3’s on the Bucks on Friday. What we do need is for Thad to have an ample supply of chewing gum. If OSU runs a patient offense, again like against Illinois), OSU will get enough points for the win. Having said that, we do need to beware, because bad tings can happen on the Ides of March.
The Buckeyes really need to come out with a lot of effective, efficient play to put this game away early so that Thad can rest his starters as much as possible. The next day’s semi-finals, and hopefully Sunday’s finals) will be mental and physical challenges, so any game time that can be “banked” by starters on Friday will be beneficial.
Tip-off is March 15th at 6:30PM (EST). The game will be aired on the BTN. The live Game Chat will begin 15 minutes prior to tip-off. Please join us.