Ohio State Looks to End Losing Skid Against Minnesota

The Ohio State basketball team sits at 10-5 on the season after two consecutive losses. They look to right the ship tonight against Minnesota. Tip off is set for 6:30 pm ET from Value City Arena, with coverage on Fox Sports 1.

Buckeye Preview:

The Buckeyes were a basket away from upsetting the #1 team in the country. Then fell short of a hard fought comeback on the road against Maryland. The ugliness of injuries certainly played an impact on the Buckeyes, as they were without Zed Key for both games (aside from four minutes early on against Purdue).

However, despite two very tough losses, this Buckeye team showed fight in both outings. It is clear that Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann likes what he has in his freshman class and is going to keep getting them minutes.

In the Purdue game Felix Okpara stepped in and played brilliantly after Key’s exit, but foul trouble limited his impact at Maryland. Okpara’s quick development and clear skills have been a great sight to see. But, he must remain more poised defensively in order to avoid fouls, or his contribution will be minimal.

We’ve also continued to see Roddy Gayle improve with each and every minute on the floor. He is a stingy defender who uses his length and quickness to disrupt offensive flow. He has also shown the ability to create his own shots and get up the court in transition. Bruce Thornton also continues to shine, knocking down the 3-ball with ease, struggling a little bit with composure however when pressed.

Then there is Brice Sensabaugh, who has proven himself an automatic bucket. No matter how cold he starts, he finds a way to keep shooting and score the ball. He has dropped 20 points in 4 of the last 6 games and now averages 16.7 points on just 23.3 minutes per game. Although those minutes climb as his value rises.

The Buckeye vets have also done a good job despite the losing streak. Justice Sueing continues to score double figures, scoring from everywhere while Isaac “Ice” Likekele eases his way back into the rotation. Trying to fill up the stat sheet and make an impact any way he can.

A Look at the Golden Gophers:

The Golden Gophers are 6-8 to begin the season. They have lost all four of their conference games landing them dead last. Although, they lost narrowly to Nebraska and Wisconsin the past 2 outings.

The projected lineup:

Taurus Samuels (G)

Ta’Lon Cooper (G)

Joshua Ola-Joseph (F)

Jamison Battle (F)

Dawson Garcia (F)

The obvious threats for the Gophers will be their two big bodies, Jamison Battle and Dawson Garcia. Battle is a 6’7” Junior Forward that is averaging 13.6 points per game, his scoring is down compared to 17+ the past 2 season. He is a scoring threat from the post out to the 3-pt line, never afraid to put up a shot. On the other hand is 6’11” Sophomore and North Carolina transfer Garcia. He is averaging 14.6 points per game and 6.5 boards. Okpara and the Buckeyes are gonna have to slow him down on the glass and scoring to win the game.

Overall, the Gophers have the worst offense in the Big Ten. Mainly due to their poor shooting outside 3-point attempts. This means if the Buckeyes continue their stingy defense and force turnovers Minnesota will be in for a long night.


The Buckeyes starting lineup should be the same:

Brice Sensabaugh (G)

Sean McNeil (G)

Bruce Thornton (G)

Justice Sueing (F)

Felix Okpara (C)

The Buckeyes will likely be without Zed Key again tonight. Although, Holtmann has been pleased with his progress and hopes to have him back soon.

The Buckeyes have been stellar at home this season with their only loss to #1 Purdue. This is great opportunity to get back in the win column and continue to protect home court,

The freshmen must continue to play valuable minutes and maximize opportunities. Especially Felix Okpara, who needs a bounce back game after the rough outing against Maryland.

If the Buckeyes can put together a more well rounded start to finish game, they should handle the Gophers. I like the Buckeyes to bounce back, but I don’t think they cover the 14.5 without Zed Key.

Score Prediction: 81-71, Ohio State


Featured image via: Jose Luis Magana, AP Photo