Ohio State-Valparaiso Preview

The third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will try and bounce back on Saturday from a disappointing 98-89 loss at the hands of No. 7 North Carolina. The Buckeyes 6-1 will host 3-3 Valparaiso.

Superstar recruit Greg Oden was forced to miss another game, but Coach Thad Matta felt the loss provided a valuable learning experience for his team.

"I think this was a very good test for our guys,"' Matta told the Associated Press. "I think we learned a lot about our guys through the first six games and I think we can come from here and say, 'These are the areas we have to get better at, defensive transition and rebounding.'

"The encouraging thing for us is that we're waiting on Greg, and where they got us tonight is some areas where he's going to help us a lot."

Oden, who will be out of action until the first of the year with a wrist injury was sorely missed as the Buckeyes were out rebounded by the Tar Heels 41-27 The senior tandem of Ron Lewis and Ivan Harris handled the bulk of the scoring for the Buckeyes. Lewis had a season high 30 points and was 11-of-16 from the field. Lewis bumped up his season average to 18.9 points per game. Harris was hot from the arc as he nailed 5-of-8 from 3-point land and scored 17 points on the night.

Against Valparaiso the Buckeyes will be looking to extend their winning streak against unranked non-conference opponents to 19 games. Meanwhile, Valparaiso is looking to avoid its fourth consecutive defeat. The Buckeyes will be the third consecutive ranked opponent that the Crusaders have faced.

The Crusaders lost to No. 8 Marquette on Monday 65-62 and followed that up with a 60-47 defeat at the hands of No. 19 Butler. The Crusaders who live and die by the three-pointer were a lowly 3-for-17 from beyond-the-arc against Butler. Valparaiso is led by forward Shawn Huff who averages 14 points a game and Urule Igbavboa who averages 12.

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