NCAA BK

Wed, Jan 2, 2013 - 6:30 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Nebraska-Ohio St. Preview

Share This Story

   
 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)

Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas talks of the impending conference season as if it's a series of hand-to-hand battles.

In a way, maybe it is.

''Right now it's just all about the Big Ten,'' said the Buckeyes' and league's leading scorer after his team's 87-44 win over Chicago State on Saturday. ''Every night is going to be a fight night and everybody is going to compete.''

It's time for Ohio State to open play in the rough, rugged - and talented - Big Ten.

The Buckeyes (10-2) host Nebraska (9-4) on Wednesday night. There will be little time to take a breath until they close the regular season with a home game on March 10 against Illinois.

It's also the dawn of a new segment of the season for the Cornhuskers and first-year coach Tim Miles. He inherits a team that went 4-14 in league play last season former coach Doc Sadler.

Ohio State, co-champs of the Big Ten last year, is a prohibitive favorite.

''We're the underdog, so we've got nothing to lose,'' Miles said. ''Let's go figure it out and try to win the game.''

Despite being a three-time defending Big Ten champion, Buckeyes coach Thad Matta takes nothing for granted.

''You're going into 18 straight games that are going to be brutal, there's no doubt about that,'' he said. ''We've (played) some pretty good basketball. There's still a lot of areas we have to clean up.''

The principal areas of concern are the post position and shooting.

Matta has juggled his only senior, Evan Ravenel, 6-foot-11 sophomore Amir Williams, who is limited offensively, and Trey McDonald, with very little experience.

Combined, they're averaging 12.0 points and 10.2 rebounds a game. Still, they have been erratic against a non-conference schedule that was weak except for the two losses - against No. 1 Duke and No. 6 Kansas.

Also, keep in mind that's a considerable drop-off from two-time All-American Jared Sullinger, who averaged 17.6 points and 9.1 rebounds by himself last season before leaving early for the NBA.

More troubling is Ohio State's shooting woes. In their only losses (73-68 at Duke, 74-66 at home against Kansas), the Buckeyes shot 33 and 31 percent, respectively, from the field.

Thomas, averaging just under 20 points a game, can only do so much.

Aaron Craft, the reigning Big Ten defensive player of the year, has struggled with his shot. He and his teammates have put in extra time on shooting in practice. They're confident they've worked out the kinks and are ready for the rigors of the Big Ten.

''I really hope so. If not, we're in for a rude awakening,'' he said. ''Going 10-2 in non-conference, we've played some pretty good teams that have set us up to be competitive in the Big Ten. (We have the) understanding that every team is a great team and every team has the potential to win each game. We have to find a way to get better each and every day and understand that every game is vitally important and every game we need to bring it.''

Three times the Buckeyes will play back-to-back road games; only once will they have two home games in a row. In a fortunate turn, they'll play second-tier teams Purdue and Penn State only on the road, and get toughies Minnesota and Wisconsin just at home.

Everybody's steeling for what's ahead. This could be a vintage year for the conference - ranked No. 1 in the RPI - with four teams currently in the Associated Press' top nine and six among the top 18.

Nebraska has won three of four and is coming off a 68-59 victory over Nicholls State on Saturday. Brandon Ubel had 18 points and Dylan Talley added 12 for the Cornhuskers, whose lone game against a ranked opponent was a 64-42 home loss to then-No. 16 Creighton on Dec. 6.

''We just need to put together 40 minutes,'' Ubel said. ''We've done that this season. We get up 10 (points) or down 10, but the game's not over. You just kind of have to have that mentality.''

Talley, who leads the team with 13.9 points per game, has totaled 16 and shot 4 of 20 his last two games. Nebraska got a rude introduction to the Big Ten from Ohio State last season, averaging 42.5 points in two losses while losing by a combined 65.

Matta is looking forward to getting going against the rest of the conference. But he also knows that it's no time for mediocre play. Bad teams can be revealed quickly.

''It's exciting,'' he said. ''But you're also, like, `Strap it on. Here we go.'''

Tagged: Ohio State, Ohio, Nebraska

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..