The #22 Ohio State Buckeyes (19-6, 6-6), have dropped four consecutive games in the last two weeks. Next up are the Illinois Fighting Illini of Illinois (14-11, 3-9) on Saturday evening at the Value City Arena. Since they last played on January 23rd (OSU winning 62-55), Ohio State is 3-2 and sits four games from the top in the conference with six games to play. Illinois has lost four of five games and now sit at the bottom of the conference.
Here’s their Profile
Thursday’s contest saw two streaking teams; unfortunately for their fans, streaking in the wrong direction. Despite their streak, the Buckeyes entered the game as 11 point favorites, so at least on the surface it was the “get well” game that Ohio State needed. And indeed it was, with Ohio State surviving 1st half shooting woes (29%) to emerge with a much needed 62-55 win.
The Buckeyes were led by LaQuinton Ross (18 pts), Lenzelle Smith Jr (16 pts) and Aaron Craft (11 pts). Craft also filled the stat sheet with 5 assists and 6 rebounds. In addition to improved shooting in the 2nd half 54% (13-24), OSU also improved its ball handling, committing only 5 turnovers, compared to 7 in the 1st half. There were still a few wrinkles to work out, but this was a much better performance at both ends of the court, particularly in the 2nd half. Hopefully, this may be the springboard to boost the Buckeyes’ confidence and get them back on track
The Fighting Illini were led by Joseph Bertrand (19 pts), Nnanna Egwu (10 pts) and Jon Ekay (11 pts). Egwu nearly scored a double-double as he pulled down 9 rebounds.
The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0) visit the Illinois Fighting Illini (3-6, 0-5) for a 12-noon kickoff in Memorial Stadium in Champaign, IL Saturday. Ohio State comes off a much needed bye week while Illinois stumbles into week ten after a 35-52 loss to Indiana. Ohio State has won 21 consecutive games under Urban Meyer while Illinois has lost 5 consecutive games and is suffering a 19 game conference losing streak.
Illinois, under 2nd year coach Tim Beckman has struggled to be competitive on the field. Despite these struggles, he has remained compassionate; for example, offering a home to disaffected PSU players.
Illinois brings a not-too-good defense, allowing 483 yards and 34.7 points per game. In the B1G, only Purdue’s and Indiana’s defense are worse, and not by much. Offensively, they accumulate 425 yards and 30 points per game. So, they can put points on the board, just not enough to overcome what they allow.