Minnesota-Ohio State Basketball Preview

The Golden Gophers hope to get their first Big Ten win of the season. However, if they are to win their first conference game against Ohio State, they will have to shake their road woes. The game, set for an 11 a.m. tip in Columbus, Ohio, will be broadcast locally on KSTP Channel 5 in the Twin Cities metro area.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are also 0-2 in the conference and are 8-7 overall. Ohio State has reached postseason play the past five years after reaching the N.I.T. last season and NCAA Tournament four previous seasons (a school record). The Buckeyes return two starters after losing their two double-figure scorers to graduation. They will continue to rely on their three-guard attack, despite losing leading scorer Brent Darby and Sean Connolly. The Buckeyes add Ohio natives Tony Stockman (Clemson) and J.J. Sullinger (Arkansas), who decided to transfer back home. They averaged 12.2 and 9.4 points per game, respectively and sat out last season. They are the top two scorers for the team this season. Stockman leads Ohio State with an average of 13.1 points per game. He has connected on 85 percent of his foul shots (23-27). Stockman is fourth in steals with 1.93 steals per game. Sullinger averages 10.1 points per game, second on the team.

 

7-0 center Velimir Radinovic made great strides in his game last season after leading the team in rebounding and blocked shots. He leads the Big Ten in field goal shooting percentage, hitting 67.6% of his shots (50-74). He made 6-of-9 shots against Penn State and both attempts at Illinois. He has made 55 percent of his shots for his career (206-371) in 96 games.

 

Terence Dials was lost for the 2002-03 season after just six games, due to a back injury. He is averaging 8.2 points and 6.6 rebounds, including a career-high 14-rebound effort in Ohio State's 77-71 win over Central Michigan at the Maui Invitational and is the team's leading rebounder and fourth leading scorer.

 

Ohio State freshman guard Nick Dials set a career high with 37 minutes played in the game vs. Penn State. He is a walk-on for the Buckeyes.

 

Head coach Jim O'Brien has sent different starting lineups to the court in seven-consecutive games. For the year, the combination of Terence Dials, Velimir Radinovic, Ricardo Billings, Nick Dials and Tony Stockman is the ninth different Buckeye starting lineup used this season.

 

Probable Starters

G 2 - Brandon Fuss-Cheatham, 6-1, Jr.

G 0 - J.J. Sullinger, 6-5, So.

G 12 - Nick Dials, 6-1, Fr.

C 14 - Velimir Radinovic, 7-0, Sr.

F 34 - Terence Dials, 6-9, So.

 

Ohio State has a record of 18-6 (.750) under Jim O'Brien when there is a week or more between games over the last seven seasons. The Buckeyes had a streak of 11-consecutive wins snapped with a loss to Georgia Tech earlier this year (73-53, Dec. 3). Ohio State is 1-1 this season heading into the game vs. Minnesota after a week off between contests. O'Brien is 6-3 against Big Ten teams when there is a week to prepare and 6-1 since his first season at Ohio State in 1997-98.

 

The Buckeyes lost to Penn State 64-47 in their last game. The Gophers lost their Big Ten opener to the Nittany Lions.

 

The Buckeyes own a 72-51 advantage over Minnesota in the all-time series. Ohio State is 45-17 in Columbus and 27-34 in Minneapolis. The Buckeyes have won six of the last seven meetings and the last four in Columbus. The teams have played close games at Ohio State. The Buckeyes average a winning score of 64-60 in the 62 games played on Ohio State's home court. When Ohio State scores 70 or more points against Minnesota, the Buckeyes have won 45 of 60 games for a winning percentage of .750.


Gopher Illustrated Top Stories