#16 Ohio State Buckeyes at Northwestern Wildcats
Thursday, February 28, 2013, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Welsh-Ryan Arena – Evanston, Illinois
Opening Line: Ohio State -9 1/2
Current Line: Ohio State -10 1/2
Opening Total: 122
Current Total: 124 1/2
Opening Money Line: Ohio St -550 / Northwestern +450
Current Money Line: Ohio St -600 / Northwestern +475
The 20-7 Ohio State Buckeyes are 10-5 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes are tied for fourth in the conference with a 10-5 record with Michigan. Both team teams are behind 12-3 Indiana and and 11-4 Michigan St and Wisconsin. Ohio St travels to 13-15 Northwestern Thursday night. The Wildcats are tied with Nebraska at 4-11 in conference. Both teams are ahead of only 1-14 Penn St.
Ohio St leads the series against Northwestern 112-45, including 45-31 in Evanston. The Buckeyes have won 18 of the last 19 in the series. Ohio St has seven straight wins over Northwestern, including 69-59 in Columbus on Valentine’s Day 2 weeks ago. In that game, Northwestern had a 4 point lead with just under 7 minutes to go. The two teams were even with under three minutes to go, but Ohio St went on a 12-0 run to seize control of the game. The Wildcats have not won in Columbus since 1977.
Ohio St is coached by Thad Matta. The Buckeyes have losses at Duke, Illinois, Michigan St, Michigan, and Wisconsin along with home losses to Kansas and Indiana. The Buckeyes have won 2 straight games after they lost 3 of their 4 previous games. Ohio St has key wins over Rhode Island and Washington in a tournament in Connecticut, Long Beach St, Nebraska twice, at Purdue, Michigan, Iowa, at Penn St, Wisconsin, Minneaota, and Michigan St Sunday 68-60. Ohio St is 14-10-1 ATS and the total is 11-13.
Ohio St is outscoring teams 71-59. The Buckeyes are #26 in points allowed. Ohio St is shooting 45.4% from the field and 36.1% from 3 point range. Ohio St makes 70.1% of their free throws. The Buckeyes average 35.9 rebounds per game and give up 28.7 per game. Ohio St opponents are shooting 39.5% from the field and 32.4% from 3 point range. The Buckeyes are 49th in field goal percentage allowed. Ohio St averages 13 assists, 6 steals, 4 blocks, and 11 turnovers.
Forward Deshaun Thomas averages 19.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. Guard Lenzelle Smith, Jr. averages 9.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. Guard Aaron Craft averages 9.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. LaQuinton Ross averages 7.6 points and 3 rebounds per game. Sam Thompson averages 7.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1 assist. Evan Ravenel averages 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Shannon Scott averages 4.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Amir Williams averages 4.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game.
Northwestern is coached by Bill Carmody. The Wildcats have losses to Maryland, Illinois-Chicago, Butler, Stanford, Michigan, at Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, at Nebraska, at Michigan, at Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and at Purdue Sunday 74-43. The Wildcats have lost 5 straight games. Except for the Ohio St loss, all losses were by 21 points or more in the stretch. Northwestern has key wins over TCU and Illinois St in a tournament in South Padre Island, Texas, at Baylor, Brown, at Penn St, at Illinois, Minnesota, and Purdue. The Wildcats are 12-13 ATS and and the total is 9-11-1 this season.
Northwestern is being outscored 63-61 this season. The Wildcats are shooting 40.2% from the field and 34.2% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #302 out of 347 teams in field goal shooting. Northwestern makes 66.2% of their free throws. The Wildcats average 31.1 rebounds per game and give up 34.1 per game. The Wildcats are #313 or worse in both categories. Northwestern opponents are shooting 42.3% from the field and 33.8% from 3 point range. The Wildcats average 15 assists, 6 steals, 3 blocks, and 11 turnovers.
Forward Jared Swopshire and guards Sanjay Lumpkin, JerShon Cobb, and Drew Crawford are all out for the season for the Wildcats. Center Alex Olah is questionable with an upper body injury. Lumpkin and Cobb are role players, but the other three are 3 of the top 6 scorers for the Wildcats. Guard Reggie Hearn averages 13.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. Dave Sobelewski averages 10.2 points, 3.9 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and a steal. Tre Demps averages 7.2 points and 1.8 rebounds. Olah averages 5.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1 block per game. Kale Abrahamson, Alex Marcotullio, and Mike Turner also get significant minutes.
Ohio St is 8-3 ATS against teams with losing records, and 5-2-1 after a straight up win. The under is 5-2 in the last 7 in Evanston in the series.
Northwestern is 5-2 ATS in Thursday games, 2-6 after scoring less than 50 points, 1-4 after a straight up loss of 20 points or more, overall, and against Big Ten teams. The Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 in this series, and were underdogs in each of those contests. Northwestern is 5-1 ATS in the last 5 in Evanston in the series.
While Ohio St is clearly the better team against a Northwestern team ravaged by injury, the Buckeyes can’t overlook this game. Earlier in the week, Indiana lost at Minnesota, and Michigan lost at previously winless Penn St last night. It is hard to win on the road in the Big Ten which is widely considered the best conference in the country. Ohio St wins, but the gutsy Wildcats hang tough much like they did in Columbus earlier this month.