Ohio State Buckeyes Preview
Date: Saturday, January 26th
Time: 11:00am CST
Location: Lincoln, NE
2017-18 Record: 25-9 (15-3 Big Ten Conference)
2018-19 Record: 12-5 (2-4 Big Ten Conference)
Head Coach: Chris Holtman (2nd Season)
Many thought that last year’s Buckeye squad was going to be having a down year. Lucky for them, that wasn’t the case. They finished tied for second in the Big Ten with Purdue behind regular season champion Michigan State. Their #2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament gave them a game against #7 Penn State. Too bad for them the Nittany Lions were on a post season streak of their own and the Buckeyes made a quick exit from the games.
They were given the #5 spot in the Midwest Regional of the NCAA Tournament and beat the #12 seed South Dakota State in the first round. They then went on to play Gonzaga in the second round where the Bulldogs handed Ohio State their final loss of the season.
Oh man, where do I start with the Buckeyes. They started the season out strong by beating perennial American Athletic Conference power Cincinnati on the road. The Buckeyes then went on a run that saw them ranked #16 in the nation before they were beat by Syracuse in the Big Ten ACC Challenge.
The loss did little to the Buckeyes at the time and they went on a 5-0 run that had them ranked as high as #13 in the nation. I might ad that the best win during that span was to a then 7-5 UCLA squad that is currently 3-2 in a fairly weak PAC-12 Conference.
After that little run Ohio State has seem to come into a bit of a snag. Their last win was on December 28th to High Point University. Since then they have gone 0-5 with losses to Michigan State, Rutgers, Iowa, Maryland, and Purdue. Mind you, none of those teams are pushovers in any way shape or form minus Rutgers. Well, at least “we” thought that way about Rutgers...
The Buckeyes are lead by Kaleb Wesson. The sophomore forward is averaging 15.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. The former Mr. Ohio Basketball earned a spot on the all Big Ten Freshman team last season and has upped his production from a year ago. He is big and hard to guard in the paint. If the Huskers play him soft he will do whatever he wants under the basket and can make it a long night for Nebraska.
Also on the court that can do some damage against the Huskers is guard C.J. Jackson. C.J. is a 6’0” senior who is averaging 12.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. He is the leader on the court for the Buckeyes and can dictate the flow of the game. He has had cramping issues the past few games which has limited his playing and aggressiveness on the court.
Next to Jackson is freshman guard Luthern Muhammad. Luther is averaging 9.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game for the Buckeyes. The former four star recruit has earned his spot in the starting five but is still young and it shows at times on the court. He can still have games where his contributions are limited for the Buckeyes.
If Nebraska had beaten Rutgers on Monday then I would most likely be very high on them winning this game. But, we all know that Nebraska flew home late and burdened with a substantial loss that has many of the Husker faithful scratching their heads.
Ohio State seems to be in a place where they are struggling, but their past five losses have been to decent competition. This game could go either way and I am going to chalk it up to the home team to deliver based solely on the fact that the game is played in Pinnacle Bank Arena.
University of Nebraska 71 Ohio State University 68