Ohio State Preview
Date: Monday, January 22nd
Time: 7:00pm CST
Location: Columbus, OH
Coach: Chris Holtmann (1st Season)
2016-17 Season: 17-15 (7-11 Big Ten)
2017-18 Season: 16-4 (7-0 Big Ten)
Ranking: #22 Coaches/AP
The Buckeyes did not do coach Thad Matta any favors last season. Not that Matta was trending well going into the season. While the Buckeyes had done fairly well early in his tenure they had started to slide the past few. Much of this was due to to health related problems that stemmed from a back surgery almost a decade ago. It was time for the two to part ways. Thad left the winningest coach in Ohio State basketball history.
They ended the season 17-15. The first time That a Tad lead team did not make 20 wins in a season. Their season ended in the first round of the Big Ten tournament with a 66-57 loss to Rutgers.
The Buckeyes have rebounded well from last year. First year head coach Christ Holtmann have them 17-4 and an undefeated 8-0 in the Big Ten. Their only losses have been to #17 Gonzaga, Butler, currently ranked Clemson, and #5 North Carolina. None of these losses were terrible and the only real blowout was 86-59 to Gonzaga. None of these will hurt their chances in getting into the dance and most expect them to make it a this points.
They are lead by Keita Bates-Diop. The junior forward is averaging 19.7 ppg, 8.9 rpg, and 1.3 apg. He has received Big Ten Player of the Week honors twice this season and Oscar Robinson National Player of the Week honor at the beginning of January. He has become one of the best players in college basketball this year and unlike last year Keita has stayed healthy this season.
He is shooting 50% from the field and a nice 80% from the free throw line. Keita will be a major problem for the Huskers early on. Expect to see a lot off help guarding him on defense and he will most likely have his way with our big men. Expect to see him in contention for Big Ten player of the year.
Next to Keita is C.J. Jackson at guard. The 6’1” junior is averaging 13.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, and 4.4 apg. He may not be the flashiest player on the court but he fits well into this team and his supporting cast has really helped him develop into a very good guard. While the Husker guards will match up well against him they will be pulled away at times and that will lead to C.J. scoring. Expect him staying strong and playing well as the game goes on.
Jae’Sean Tate is a name you should know as it seems he has been there forever. The senior forward is averaging 12.4 ppg, 2.9 apg and 5.7 rpg. Jae’Sean could be considered the best all around player on the team. He will hurt you on offense and defense. In fact, his is hitting a very solid 55% from the floor. Not bad for a 6’4” forward.
He injured his shoulder earlier this season but has bounced back well and is still a formidable threat for he Buckeyes.
Huskers played well against Michigan last week. They came out strong and continued hot until the very end. Yet, it would be wishful thinking to believe they can do the same on Monday.
It’s hard to win on the road in the Big Ten. The Huskers proved that against Penn State two weeks ago. It’s even harder against a very talented team that has been trending upward all season.
Nebraska is playing decent ball right now but I can’t see them beating this Ohio State team on the road.
Ohio State University 72 University of Nebraska 65