Where: Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
When: Saturday, January 5; 12pm (noon, ET)
Radio: Spartan Sports Network
OSU (13-1, 3-0), #14 (AP), #12 (USA/Coaches), #22 (Kenpom)
1 - Jackson (6’1” sr)
2 - Muhammed (6’3” fr), Washington (6’3” fr)
3 - Woods (6’3” sr), Jallow (6’5” so)
4 - Wesson (6’6” jr), Young (6’8” so)
5 - Wesson (6’9” so), LeDee (6’9” fr)
This team is rock-solid on both ends, but ultimately a bit limited on offense. Their main man is Kaleb Wesson a big dude, who has lost weight, and added a 3pt shot to his game, while still drawing fouls and getting to the line. He’s a heck of a player (60% mins, 116 Ortg, 32% usg, 29% shots, and their best rebounder on both ends too). Jackson, Muhammed, Washington (who will make people wonder why Izzo chose Loyer over him, we’ll see if that is a permanent question and becomes a Monte Morris-type recruiting miss), and Woods (a grad transfer from Wake Forest) can all shoot (all shooting between 36% and 43% from 3), defend (Muhammed especially is a future All-B1G defender), and make plays (Washington has a ton of moxie and is a last-shot kind of kid even if it isn’t drawn up for him).
They aren’t overly big, and they shouldn’t blow us away athletically. But expect a dog fight, and, especially if Langford isn’t playing, our guards will have to show up on both ends in a HUGE way if we are going to win (they aren’t explosive offensively so denying them good looks from 3 and preventing live-ball TO’s will be essential).
Ward will need to play HIS game (he has gotten over-hyped for OSU games in the past; he really needs to stay calm, execute, and not force things) - expect him to get doubles and hard dig-downs: be ready to pass Nick! Winston will have to control things against a very good set of perimeter defenders, while still looking for his shots (this is a good preview to see if he has taken another step forward from the Louisville game).
But assuming the main dudes do their thing for the most-part, the game will hinge on Goins, Tillman, and Ahrens. If those three play like they have been, then we will win the game because OSU’s weak-spot is the 4 where they rely on Wesson, Young, and Jallow who are all good players, but should have a very tough time containing our trio. Assuming Ahrens gets his Ohio-revenge and makes a few plays/shots, and assuming Goins and Tillman grind away on the boards and make scoring plays when they are presented with the opportunity to do so, we should be able to walk away with a gritty, gutsy, grimy win. Very much a PPTPW kind of game.
Make Gamethread go now!!!