The Ohio State Buckeyes (14-15, 4-9) host the Northwestern Wildcats (14-12, 4-9) Sunday for a noon tip-off. Ohio State, losers of five straight games, look to get a win against a pretty so-so Northwestern team. But then Northwestern, also losers of five straight games, is probably thinking the same thing. The Buckeyes lost a tough game 67-59 to #17 Nebraska on Thursday, while Northwestern lost 82-73 to #9 Penn State the same evening.
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The Buckeyes entered tonight’s game against Northwestern looking to extend their winning streak (to two games!) and build some momentum prior to a regular season ending match against Michigan State. That they did, by moving to 21-6, 8-6 on the season with a 76-60 win over Northwestern. Since the Michigan loss, Ohio State is 2-0 in their 5-game stretch prior to hosting MSU to end the regular season. In a game that got chippy at around the 5 minute point, marked by player ejections (Cerina and LaQuinton Ross), the Buckeyes held their composure and overwhelmed the Wildcats in the 2nd half 39-27, after outscoring them in the 1st half 37-33.
Ohio State was led by four players in double figures; Amir Williams (16 pts), Sam Thompson (11), Aaron Craft (14) and Lenzelle Smith (14). Smith managed a double-double by pulling in 10 rebounds. In his first action of the season, Andrew Goldstein went scoreless. Darn it.
The Buckeyes shot 46% (23-50) and better yet, 44% (7-16) from the perimeter. The difference-maker was OSU’s foul shooting, as they outscored Northwestern 23-9 from the free throw line.
Northwestern was led by Drew Crawford (22 pts) and Tre Demps (14 pts). The Wildcats also shot 46% (23-50) from the field.
The Ohio State Buckeyes (20-6, 7-6) host the Northwestern Wildcats (12-14, 5-8) Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM EST. As bad as January was for the Buckeyes, February is turning out to be just as good. Meanwhile, the Wildcats are trying to right their ship. They went on a 2-week tear in mid-January to win four of five games, but have now lost three straight.
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Even though football is in full swing, the B1G is a hoops conference as well. As we love to do around these parts, we place some calls to our blogging friends around the B1G country and ask them some questions about their upcoming teams. I have invited some writers that we’ve had here before in Ben Jones from StateCollege.com for The Nitany Lions; Philip Rossman-Reich from Lake the Posts for Northwestern; Jay Swenson of Mad Town Badgers for Wisconsin. We will be covering all of the B1G teams as the season approaches.
Who did you lose from last season and how big of a loss will it be?
Ben Jones - Penn State had a bit of a player departure issue after the season for various reasons. Patrick Ackerman and Akosa Maduegbunam were both underclassmen who were never going to play, so to be blunt the team doesn’t miss much with these guys leaving . Sasa Borovnjak left following graduation and leaves Penn State without a real experienced post player.
Jermaine Marshall and Jon Graham both left as well to round out the group. Marshall left to try and support his son and girlfriend although there is some indication he wasn’t happy at Penn State. Jon Graham left for personal reasons. Overall Penn State had a tough offseason in terms of departures but the team will miss Marshall the most. Chambers brought in transfer Allen Roberts to try and stop the bleeding in the scoring department but obviously Marshall would have been preferred in that department.
In the end it’s a larger loss in terms of numbers than it might be on the court.
Philip Rossman-Reich - The big loss from last year is the coach: Bill Carmody. Carmody was at Northwestern for 11 years and really brought the program to a new height. That height was not the NCAA Tournament, but teams knew they would be in for a battle when they came to Evanston to face the Wildcats. There were limitations though and now that Northwestern has bigger expectations for itself, the school went in a different direction. So for the first time in a very long time, the Wildcats have a new head coach. Read More
It’s been an interesting start to the off-season to say the least. In Minny, athletic officials have found what they hope to be their diamond in the rough. The Pitino name will ring loud through the B1G in the upcoming seasons. The question is will he be audible to potential recruits when selling the program he adopted. It seems that Minnesota officials have somewhat landed on their feet, despite going into the coaching search without a true developed game plan.
Meanwhile, Northwestern had it’s ducks in a row before they told Bill Carmody his Princeton offense wasn’t welcome back to Chicagoland. Whether you like it or hate it, Chris Collins has been the plan of the future for quite some time.
And for incoming Rutgers, any future of success entering the B1G got ugly in a hurry. Now that they have wiped their slate clean, hopes of success — instead of embarrassment are a true possibility. The university now looks for it’s Scarlet Knight in shining armor to save the day.
Today’s inaugural notebook opens up with the latest in coaching changes in the Big Ten Conference.
It’s Baaack! Andy Coppens asked me to join him for the heralded B1G Time Podcast, to talk about how the weekend went for the Big Ten in the NCAA Tournament.
This episode is a winner, because we make fun of Chuckles, Tommy Amacker, and Marshall Henderson all in one episode!
Andy and I break down the play of OSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Minnesota and Illinois from last night, as well as talk about their match ups in the sweet sixteen.
I go on a couple rants about the 2-3 zone defense, How Northwestern and Minnesota are idiotic, and who could possibly replace Carmody at Northwestern.
We also touch on how Tubby Smith is on the hot seat…. (this was recorded an hour before he was “fired”). I still can’t wrap my head around the Athletic Department’s thought process.
That and More on another edition of The B1G Time Podcast!
(To visit more of Andy and his staff’s great work, make sure you bookmark The B1G Time)
It’s hard to believe that such a competitive season has culminated to this. One tournament, the week before the big dance. For the first time in it’s history, the B1G Tourney has sold out before play even starts. We have seen some great opening round games the last few years, that have set up teams to a championship game run. Today, we don’t expect much different. We have a slate full of competitive games with huge implications on the line. Here is a look at today’s opening round games with a short preview of what to expect on the hardwood in Chicago in the opening round.
#8 Illinois vs. #9 Minnesota
This will be a hard game to figure out; both teams come in with similar records and both play schizophrenic (due respect to those diagnosed) basketball. Illinois comes into this game losers of 3 of their last 4 games. Further, they have failed to cover the spread in their last five games, meaning they won by fewer than expected and lost by more than expected. Not exactly the performance of a team peaking for post-season. These teams split the season series, so this game is the tie breaker with the opportunity to play #1 seed Indiana in next round.
Illinois is led in the backcourt by Brandon Paul (G, 6’4”, 15.7 ppg, 2.8 apg) and in the frontcourt by Nnanna Egwu (F/C, 6’11”, 6.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg). Minnesota is led in the backcourt by Andre Hollins (G, 6’1”, , 3.5 apg) and in the frontcourt by Trevor Mbakwe (F, 6’8”, 10.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg). Both teams shoot about the same, but Minnesota is a far superior rebounding team (Off Reb % of 44.3), although they are far more prone to turn the ball over (21% of possessions). Best bet for a good game is for Paul to light it up from long range paint while Mbakwe has his way in the paint. Minnesota is favored by 2, sounds about right.
Tip-off is at 12 Noon EST on BTN.
|Student Population:||19,184 total, 8,425 undergrad|
|Opened:||1952, renovated 1983|
|Head Coach:||Bill Carmody|
|Experience:||11th year at NU|