This contest is being played at Nationwide Arena to satisfy an NCAA requirement for a game to be played by a host school at the venue where NCAA Tournament games will take place.
Thad Matta's Buckeyes have won 11 of their first 12 games this season, with the lone loss coming on the road at Kansas. Since the setback to the Jayhawks, Ohio State has won three straight games, including Tuesday's 70-50 win over Lamar in a game that honored Bob Knight.
The RedHawks have struggled this season and come in with a mere 3-6 overall mark. Charlie Coles' squad has lost five of its last six games, including a heart-breaking 77-75 setback at home to Evansville on Tuesday.
In a series that dates back to 1916, this marks just the seventh all-time meeting. The Buckeyes have won four of the previous six encounters, including a 66-45 rout at Value City Arena last year.
The RedHawks possess a superstar in senior forward Julian Mavunga, but there is little support around the 6-9 veteran. Mavunga has been unstoppable this season and is one of only three players to averaging 20+ points and 10+ rebounds in the nation, as he comes into this contest netting 20.3 points and grabbing 10.8 rebounds per game. The scoring pool dries up fast after that, with Jon Harris and Josh Sewell representing the best of the rest, at 8.7 and 8.4 ppg, respectively. Overall, Miami-Ohio is netting a mere 61.9 ppg and doing so on a modest .429 shooting. The RedHawks blew a nine-point lead at the half and fell by two points to the Purple Aces in Oxford this week. Mavunga was once again dominant in the low post, finishing with 18 points and 12 rebounds. The team also got 18 points from Brian Sullivan, while Sewell and Harris tallied 14 and 10 points, respectively. Miami certainly found its offensive groove in the game, shooting 56.5 percent from the floor overall, including 10of-23 from behind the arc. However, the RedHawks fell victim to Evansville's scorching 76.2 percent shooting effort in the second half.
While Miami-Ohio boasts of one of the nation's top frontcourt players, Ohio State may just have the best big man in the game in the form of All-American Jared Sullinger. The 6-9 sophomore has been banged up a bit in the early going, but still leads the Buckeyes in both scoring and rebounding at 16.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Sullinger gets plenty of help at the offensive end, as Deshaun Thomas and William Buford can fill up the basket as well, at 15.9 and 15.6 ppg, respectively. Ohio State has flourished at both ends of the floor this season, enjoying a +22.9 scoring margin. The team is averaging 79.4 ppg, while limiting the opposition to just 56.5 ppg. Sullinger returned from injury to lead the way in the win over Lamar this week, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Thomas poured in 16 points for OSU, which held the Cardinals to a mere .351 shooting effort, while forcing 16 turnovers.