Ohio State is a stellar 16-3 on the season, and the Buckeyes have won four of their first six Big Ten bouts. The team was most recently in action last Sunday, and totally dismantled the visiting Indiana Hoosiers in an 80-63 final to run their home winning streak to an astounding 36 games. All three of OSU's losses this season have come on the road.
Matta is 308-91 in his 12 years as a head coach, which includes a 206-60 mark in eight seasons in Columbus.
Nebraska is coming off its biggest win of the campaign, as it too took care of visiting Indiana on Wednesday night, 70-69. The win was the Cornhuskers' eighth in 12 homes games this season, and improved them to 10-8 overall and 2-5 in conference. Nebraska is already playing its fifth ranked Big Ten opponent tonight, and will catch a little break in that it won't face another ranked conference foe until playing host to Michigan on February 8.
This is the second meeting of the season between these two teams, as OSU prevailed at home on January 3, 71-40. As a result, the Buckeyes lead the all- time series, 5-2.
Lenzelle Smith, Jr. shattered his previous career high by scoring 28 points last Sunday in leading Ohio State past Indiana in a pivotal Big Ten bout in Columbus. Jared Sullinger, who came into the season as the favorite to be named the Big Ten Player of the Year, added 16 points and nine rebounds, while William Buford poured in a dozen points and Deshaun Thomas chipped in 11 for an Ohio State team that shot 54.4 percent from the field while holding the Hoosiers to 43.6 percent and scoring 20 points off their 17 turnovers. Sullinger (17.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg) continues to pace the Buckeyes both in scoring and rebounding, and he is hitting just shy of 60 percent of his total shots and nearly 75 percent of his free throws. Buford (15.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and Thomas (15.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg) join Sullinger as OSU's only double-digit scorers, and the team is putting up 77.9 ppg on the strength of its 49.7 percent shooting effort. With point guard Aaron Craft (8.1 ppg, 5.3 apg, 2.5 spg) leading the way, the Buckeyes have played tenacious defense, yielding a mere 56.6 ppg to this point in the campaign.
Bo Spencer scored a game-high 23 points to help lead Nebraska to its recent upset of Indiana, and he got help from three others who finished in double figures as well. Toney McCray tallied 11 points, while Jorge Brian Diaz and Dylan Talley chipped in 10 points apiece off the bench for the Cornhuskers, who shot just 37.7 percent from the field, but claimed a 14-9 edge in points from the foul line and took advantage of 15 Hoosier giveaways. Spencer is one of only two NU players averaging double digits in the scoring column this season, as he nets 15.2 ppg despite shooting just 38.7 percent from the floor. He is also the team's leading assist man (66), and he has twice as many three- point attempts as his closest teammate, hitting 34-of-108 (.315) chances thus far. McCray (10.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg) is 40.7 percent accurate from beyond the arc, and is a 49.7 percent shooter overall. Both Diaz and Dylan Talley are close to cracking the 10 ppg barrier as they produce 9.8 and 9.2 ppg, respectively, and the former is far and away the team's leading shot blocker (28). Nebraska scores almost the same number of points it allows (61.6 ppg to 61.7 ppg), and the team also owns near-identical figures in both field goal percentage (.425) and three-point FG percentage (.324 to .323).