Basketball Preview: Rutgers Rematch On Tap For Reeling Ohio State After Three Straight Losses

The first matchup led to controversy.

WHO WHERE WHEN TV

Rutgers (12-5, 4-2 B1G)

Rutgers Athletic Center

2:15 p.m

BTN

Ohio State’s Big Ten opener went down as a victory within the report books on Dec. 8, and a very memorable one at that, as Tanner Holden’s last-second heave from effectively past the 3-point line gave the Buckeyes a walk-off win on the buzzer in Columbus. But the very subsequent evening, the Big Ten issued an announcement to clarify that the shot should not have counted within the first place. Holden stepped out of bounds simply earlier than reestablishing his place on the courtroom, and had the officiating crew been following the letter of the regulation, play ought to have been stopped then and there.

The total saga was certain to go away a foul style within the mouths of the Scarlet Knights. They’ll have an opportunity to rectify that mistake on their very own residence ground on Sunday, when Rutgers hosts the reeling Buckeyes at 2:15 pm in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Ohio State and Rutgers’ paths have diverged significantly because the first assembly. The Buckeyes have misplaced 4 of their final seven video games, together with their final three contests in a row. The Scarlet Knights have gone 6-2 since shedding to Ohio State and are inching nearer to a spot within the AP Top 25.

A highway recreation in opposition to a gritty Big Ten opponent that already pushed them to the brink will not be a straightforward approach for the Buckeyes to cease their present slide. However, to reverse course in the course of the convention gauntlet, Ohio State has no alternative however to place forth a greater efficiency after falling to the worst crew within the Big Ten at residence simply three nights in the past.

Need to Know

Buckeye capturing stoop

Two of Ohio State’s 4 worst capturing performances of the season have are available its final two video games. The Buckeyes hit 43.6% of their photographs in opposition to Maryland, which was solely their third-worst share of the yr, however their 34-point second half was notably disappointing provided that they bought off to a gradual begin.

The Buckeyes have been even worse on Thursday. Ohio State hit simply 37.5% of its subject targets to complete a recreation capturing below 40% for the primary time all season. Brice Sensabaugh and Justice Sueing each had loads to do with that as Ohio State’s two scoring leaders completed 10-for-31 from the ground mixed. Against KenPom’s third-rated protection within the nation on Sunday, the Buckeyes will want a greater effort.

Could tie longest shedding streak in two years

Ohio State’s three-game shedding streak is already longer than any stretch it had final season. If the Buckeyes drop one other on Sunday, they’re going to tie the 2020-21 crew for the longest skid in this system over the previous three seasons. No Holtmann-led Ohio State crew has ever misplaced 5 in a row, but when the Buckeyes lose once more Sunday, will probably be his fourth four-game shedding streak in his six years in Columbus.

Hard to attain on the Scarlet Knights

Rutgers has the very best protection within the Big Ten and has one of the crucial elite defensive models within the nation as an entire. The Scarlet Knights are holding opponents to simply 56.5 factors per recreation, which is almost three fewer than every other crew within the convention and offers Rutgers the very best common scoring margin within the Big Ten (14.6). The Scarlet Knights have allowed opponents to shoot simply 37.5% from the sector and 27.8% from 3-point vary. Both of these marks lead the convention.

Ohio State shot effectively higher than both of these marks within the first matchup with Rutgers, 46.4% from the ground and 42.1% from distance, however the Buckeyes have hardly put their finest foot ahead on offense of their final couple of appearances.

Three Important Buckeyes

Brice Sensabaugh

Despite main the Buckeyes with 18 factors and 10 rebounds and virtually prepared his crew to victory late, Sensabaugh had his worst capturing efficiency of the season (6-for-18) in opposition to Minnesota. Sensabaugh has now shot below 40% in every of Ohio State’s previous two video games, which is his first such streak of the season. The freshman was even benched to begin the second half in opposition to Minnesota as his shot choice and defensive effort left one thing to be desired.

As Sensabaugh has established himself as Ohio State’s go-to scorer, the crew feels it when he has an off evening. A extra environment friendly day for Sensabaugh in opposition to Rutgers would go a great distance in getting the Buckeye offense again on monitor.

Justice Sueing

Sueing’s numbers are stellar up to now seven video games. The sixth-year ahead is averaging 15.9 factors on 53.2% capturing with 5.1 rebounds and a couple of.1 assists per recreation throughout that stretch. Against Minnesota, although, Sueing’s 4-for-13 capturing efficiency and a key defensive lapse late helped the Gophers steal a win in Columbus. Couple that with Sueing’s late turnover in opposition to Purdue, and the Buckeye captain has been on the heart of a number of key moments in Ohio State’s current skid.

Zed Key

Key returned from damage after lacking a lot of the earlier two video games to log half-hour in opposition to Minnesota, which was greater than many – together with Chris Holtmann – anticipated. The Buckeye coach stated after the loss he thought it was a mistake taking part in Key a lot as a result of lack of continuity within the lineup, presumably after the observe time Key missed within the leadup to the sport, and Gopher large man Dawson Garcia wound up scoring 28 factors on the evening. Key and firm face one other one of many Big Ten’s high bigs this weekend in 6-foot-11 large man Clifford Omoruyi.

Three Important Scarlet Knights

Clifford Omoruyi

The aforementioned Omoruyi has seen a dip in manufacturing because the final assembly with the Buckeyes, averaging simply 10.6 factors on 44.9% capturing within the eight video games since, however he is nonetheless one among simply two gamers within the convention averaging a double-double (together with Purdue’s Zach Edey). The athletic heart dropped 16 factors on 7-for-10 capturing in opposition to Ohio State on Dec. 8. Despite failing to hit double-digit scoring numbers in every of his previous three performances, Omoruyi will probably be a participant to look at in opposition to the Buckeyes.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Player

Position

Height

Weight

Season Stats

CAM SPENCER

G

6-4

205

13.5 PPG, 3.6 APG

CALEB MCCONNELL

G

6-7

195

9 PPG, 5.3 RPG

PAUL MULCAHY

G

6-6

210

8.8 PPG, 4.2 APG

MAWOT MAG

F

6-7

215

7.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG

CLIFFORD OMORUYI

C

6-11

240

13.2 PPG, 10 RPG

Cam Spencer

Rutgers’ scoring chief by 17 video games, Spencer’s averaging 13.5 factors and is second amongst Scarlet Knights together with his common of three.6 assists per recreation. Spencer scored 11 factors in opposition to the Buckeyes the primary time round, however he is been notably efficient within the final 5 video games, the place he is averaging 16 factors per on 63.3% from 3-point vary. Spencer is coming off a season-high 23-point efficiency in opposition to Northwestern during which he hit six of his seven 3-point makes an attempt.

Caleb McConnell

The reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year helped restrict Sensabaugh and Sueing to a mixed 22 factors on 9-for-23 capturing within the first matchup, and he is hit double-digit level totals in 4 of his previous seven performances as effectively. If Ohio State has one other unhealthy day on offense, it is secure to say McConnell will probably be an enormous cause why.

How it Plays Out

Line: Rutgers -4, O/U: 135

Ohio State barely bought by Rutgers the primary time at residence, and now taking part in the Scarlet Knights on the again of a three-game shedding streak in what Holtmann calls one of many nation’s loudest environments, I odor hassle for the Buckeyes on Sunday.

Prediction: Rutgers 69, Ohio State 67

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