The #11 Ohio State Buckeyes (15-2, 2-2), have dropped two consecutive games and 8 positions in the national rankings. Now they travel to The Barn to play the Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-4, 2-2). Ohio State is coming off a bit of a beat down against Iowa, while Minnesota took MSU to overtime before losing 87-75. Both teams sit at middle of the pack in conference play and need to start winning, since they have each lost against B1G leader Michigan State. In overtime, no less..
Here’s their Profile:
University of Minnesota
The Golden Gophers are under the 1st year leadership of Richard Pitino. Yes, he’s this guy’s son. However, Pitino the Younger is now running the show in Minneapolis, and so far he’s off to a decent start. Interestingly enough, in the Big Ten games so far, the margin of victory (or loss) has been 3 points in three of the games, and the tied in regulation game against MSU. I guess it can be said that at least in conference play, the Gophers are playing up/down to their level of competition.
Minnesota runs a 3G/1C/1F lineup with Andre Hollins (6’2”), Austin Hollins (6’4”) and Deandre Mathieu (5’9”) at the guard positions, Elliott Eliason (6’11”) at center and Oto Osenieks (6’8”) at forward. The Hollins’ lead the Gophers in scoring; Andre at 16.3 and Austin at 12.1 points per game. The rebounding work is done predominantly by Elliott Eliason[k1] (8.6) and Austin Hollins (6.7), while Mathieu triggers the offense with 4.4 assist per game. First off the bench are guard Malik Smith (10.1 ppg) and forward Joey King (6.8 ppg).
Note: Player and team stats courtesy of statsheet.com
Here are the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers:
Ohio State University Buckeyes
The Buckeyes are coming off a home loss to Iowa where we had issues handling the ball, handling a zone defense and handling aggressive interior play. Other than that, it was a good game…
And, here are your Ohio State Buckeyes:
|32||L. Smith Jr.||6’4″||G||12.2||48.6||36.6||78.0||4.9||1.5||1.4|
|33||A. Della Valle||6’5″||G||5.2||38.7||37.3||61.1||2.1||0.4||0.6|
Ohio State has a couple of kinks to work out, such as effectively attacking a zone defense (shouldn’t be that difficult) and constructing an effective interior, in-the-paint defense. One of the annoying, debilitating things about the Iowa loss was the appearance of Iowa “packing” the lane so that tips and loose balls ended up in Hawkeye hands. The other annoyance was Iowa’s tendency if they couldn’t get a “clean” offensive rebound, to tip it back to the backcourt, where more often than not, a Hawkeye retrieved the ball for another possession.
As you can see from the above table, Minnesota gets a lot of scoring from their guards. For Ohio State to have a chance to get back to their winning ways, OSU’s guards (Craft/Smith/Scott) need to play a stellar defensive game. Fortunately, this is one of the Buckeyes’ strengths. As you can see from the table, below, statistically, this is a fairly close match-up. I’d suggest you tune in to see how this game turns out.
|PPG O||PPG D||RPG||APG||TPG||Pos/G||PPP||A/T|
The game is scheduled for Thursday, tipping off at 9:00 PM EST in The Barn. Television coverage will be provided by ESPN2, check your local listings. Live chat coverage will be provided by tBBC, check back here. Please join us for our live chat approximately 30 minutes before tip-off.