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Nebrasketball: No. 23 Ohio State Buckeyes Game Two Preview

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Syndication: Marion George Fleiner/For USA Today Network-Ohio, Marion Star via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Nebraska Cornhuskers continue the two-game stand on the road with a matchup in Columbus tonight against the No. 23 Ohio State Buckeyes. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 22, but was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the Husker roster. For the second straight season, a trip to Penn State was adjusted to accommodate an extended eastern road trip for the Huskers as a result. Just like last season, Nebraska defeated Penn State on Sunday night moving Fred Hoiberg to 2-0 at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Nebraska faced off against Ohio State earlier this season on Jan. 2 after the Buckeyes were off for an extended period due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the roster. Despite the long layoff and having just one practice together for a shorthanded squad prior to facing the Huskers, Ohio State prevailed 87-79 in Lincoln.

Nebraska enters the game playing its third game in five days, and fourth in eight, after losing to Iowa in Lincoln Friday night and Penn State in State College on Sunday night. The win Sunday moved the Huskers to 8-21 overall, 2-16 in the Big Ten. The win came three days after Athletic Director Trev Alberts announced that head coach Fred Hoiberg will be returning next season for a fourth year despite the team’s struggles.

Ohio State is playing its own rough stretch as the Buckeyes finish the season with four games in an eight-day stretch. The Buckeyes fell at Maryland Sunday night in a loss that dealt a potentially deadly blow to OSU’s chances at even a share of the Big Ten regular season title. Ohio State shot just 36 percent from the field and went 8-for-28 from three-point range in the loss.

Head coach Chris Holtmann is in his fifth season in Columbus and has Ohio State at 18-8 on the season and 11-6 in Big Ten play. Holtmann has led OSU to four straight 20-win seasons and three NCAA Tournaments since taking over the program in 2017-18, though the Buckeyes have failed to advance out of the second round and have fallen short of Big Ten titles under his leadership. At Butler, Holtmann also led the Bulldogs to three straight NCAA Tournaments in his three years at the school.

Ohio State returned four starters from a team that went 21-10 and reached a first round overtime loss to Oral Roberts in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Ohio State won eight of 12 since a double digit road loss at Wisconsin on Jan. 13. OSU is needing wins down the stretch to ensure the team can lock in a coveted double-byes in the Big Ten Tournament next week. OSU’s last three games, including tonight’s against Nebraska are at home. The Buckeyes next host Michigan State and Michigan later this week to close out the season. The Buckeyes are 12-1 at home venue Value City Arena/The Schottenstein Center.

Junior forward E.J. Liddell returned after earning first-team All-Big Ten honors last season and continues to be one of the top players in the league this season. Liddell is fourth in the conference in scoring at 19.3 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound forward also leads OSU in rebounds (7.5 rebounds per game) and blocked shots (2.5 blocks per game). Freshman Malaki Branham is Holtmann’s favorite for Big Ten Freshman of the Year as he averages 12.6 points per game and is shooting nearly 50 percent from the field. OSU has a well-rounded offensive attack with seven players averaging at least 5.2 points per game.

Tonight’s matchup marks the 25th meeting all-time between the conference foes. The series dates back to 1936, but Ohio State is riding a six-game winning streak heading into tonight. The game also marks the 14th time in 19 matchups as league foes that Ohio State is ranked at the time of play. The Huskers are just 2-16 against Ohio State since joining the Big Ten, the wins coming in Lincoln in 2014 and Columbus in 2017.


When: Tuesday, March 1 at 6:00 p.m. CST/7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Value City Arena (19,500) - Columbus, Ohio

TV: Big Ten Network
Streaming: https://www.foxsports.com/live/FOXSportsApp
Announcers: Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play), Stephanie White (analyst)

Radio: Huskers Radio Network
Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka
Analyst: Jake Muhleisen

Broadcast Stations: KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KKCD (105.9 FM) in Omaha, KHYY (106.9 FM) in Scottsbluff, and KAMI (1580 AM) in Lexington
Also available on Huskers.com and the Huskers app.

Line: Ohio State -15.5


Ohio State Buckeyes

2021-22 Record: 18-8 (11-6 Big Ten)
Head Coach: Chris Holtmann
Record at OSU: 105-52 (5th year)
Career Record: 219-137 (11th year)

Nebraska

2021-22 Record: 8-21 (2-16 Big Ten)
Head Coach: Fred Hoiberg
Record at Nebraska: 22-66 (3rd year)
Career Record: 137-122 (8th year)

Head-to-Head

All-Time: Ohio State leads 20-4
Big Ten action: OSU 16-2