Buckeye Basketball Preview: Northwestern

On February 14, 2013 by Buckeye Empire

Ohio State Northwestern

After a heartbreaking loss in Ann Arbor, and a laugher in Columbus, Ohio State is looking to rebound and end their two game losing streak on Valentine’s Day. The Buckeyes are gearing up to play a struggling Northwestern team who currently sits 9th in the Big Ten conference.

Overall, Northwestern is 13-11. Their most recent games go as follows: Loss at Iowa, Win against Purdue, Loss at Michigan, Loss at Nebraska, and a Win against the Golden Gophers of Minnesota.

Northwestern has been a bit of an enigma up to this point. Since starting out the season with 6 straight wins, Northwestern has played some suspicious games, the worst of which was a loss to University of Illinois Chicago at home. Despite the bad losses, they have a few decent wins, including Minnesota and Illinois, who blew out Ohio State in Champaign.

In terms of players, Northwestern has a few good ones. Their undoubted leader is senior guard Reggie Hearn, who comes into the day averaging 14.2 points and 4.5 boards per game. He is second on the team in field goal percentage, shooting a solid 48.3%, and shoots well from behind the three point line, at 35.3 percent.

Dave Sobolewski is probably next in line in the Wildcat hierarchy. Putting up 11 points per game, along with 2.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists, Sobolewski is a definite factor for Northwestern. A solid 6-1 guard, Sobolewski is a player to watch out for in the purple and white.

Overall, the Buckeyes should win this game in a rout. Northwestern simply doesn’t have the talent to compete with the #13 team in the nation. However, Northwestern’s enigmatic play at times can cause problems. They have the ability to come out and shock Ohio State, but it’s very, very unlikely.

Ohio State is an incredibly solid defensive basketball team and Northwestern has problems scoring points. They are number 266 in the country at 61 points per game, and that’s without Aaron Craft hawking the basketball. They rank 255th in field goal percentage at 41.6% and grab 32.2 boards per game, good for 283rd in the college basketball ranks.

To give you a little perspective, Ohio State ranks at 75th in points per game, 102nd in rebounds per contest, and 53rd in field goal percentage.

This will be a great “rebound” game for Ohio State coming off of the tough losses to Michigan and Indiana. Northwestern isn’t necessarily a laugher of an opponent, but should present a confidence boost for the Buckeyes. Ohio State has a tough game coming up in Madison, Wisconsin against the #20 Badgers, and they clearly need to get it together to avoid an epic collapse, like the one against Indiana.

Ohio State is more than capable of beating Wisconsin on the road, but if they take Northwestern too lightly, the Badgers could definitely get the W. Ohio State needs to come out motivated, get back to basics, find open shots, win, and get ready for their next battle.