Opponent Preview: Ohio State

The Golden Gophers are back on the road after earning their first Big Ten victory in Williams Arena against Indiana. Minnesota will battle the undefeated No.2 Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio at Value City Arena. Tip-off is set for 1:00 p.m. and will be televised by the Big Ten Network.

No. 21 Minnesota (12-3, 1-2) vs. No. 2 Ohio State (15-0, 2-0)
Columbus, Ohio – Value City Arena
1:00 p.m. CT – Big Ten Network (Eric Collins, Greg Kelser)

PREGAME NOTES

Season to Date: Ohio State enters Sunday's contest with a perfect 15-0 record and are one of only seven teams left with an unblemished season. The Buckeyes are coming off back-to-back Big Ten victories against Indiana (85-67) and Iowa (73-68). OSU has hit the century mark in points three times season against Walsh (102-56), North Carolina A&T (102-61) and Tennessee-Martin (100-40).

Coaching Preview: Thad Matta is in his 7th season as the head coach at Ohio State. He has compiled a 171-54 record at OSU including going 5-6 against Minnesota. In 10 years as a collegiate head coach, Matta has manufactured 20 or more victories each year. Prior to joining the Buckeyes he coached three years at Xavier and one at Butler, his alma mater.

Series History: Ohio State leads the all-time series with Minnesota 76-55. They hold a 47-18 advantage when playing at home in Columbus. The Buckeyes have won three of their last four meetings against the Golden Gophers included a victory in the Big Ten championship game.

Last Meeting: The two teams met in the Big Ten Tournament championship game with OSU embarrassing the Gophers 90-61. David Lighty dropped 20 points to go along with seven rebounds and Jon Diebler added 19 points on 5-for-11 shooting from 3-point range in the game. Graduated guard Lawrence Westbrook led the Gophers with 17 points.

Fabulous Freshmen: Jared Sullinger and teammate Deshaun Thomas give the Buckeyes the most potent offensive freshmen duo in the Big Ten. Sullinger averages 18.1 points per game and Thomas supplies 10.9 points per game. They also get after it on the glass with the 6-foot-9 Sullinger pulling down 10.2 rebounds a game to lead Big Ten rookies while the 6-foot-6 Thomas ranks fourth with 5.0 rebounds per game. Sullinger and Thomas have combined to earn all eight Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week awards this season with Sullinger winning it seven times and Thomas once.

Stat to Watch: Senior guard David Lighty needs just 10 rebounds to join Buckeye greats Evan Turner and Jim Jackson as the only Ohio State players to record at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists in a career.

Projected Starters:
52 Dallas Lauderdale (6-8, 255, Sr.) – 5.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg
00 Jared Sullinger (6-9, 280, Fr.) – 18.1 ppg, 10.2 rpg
23 David Lighty (6-5, 220, Sr.) – 12.7 ppg, 3.8 apg
33 Jon Diebler (6-6, 205, Sr.) – 12.5 ppg, 2.6 apg
44 William Buford (6-5, 205, Jr.) – 13.6 ppg, 3.6 apg

Background:
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Enrollment: 55,014
Conference: Big Ten
Nickname: Buckeyes
Mascot: Brutus Buckeye
Colors: Scarlet and Gray
Coach: Thad Matta (7th season)


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