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tBBC Basketball Preview: Minnesota Golden Gophers

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Brandon Zimmerman

Basketball Preview: Minnesota Golden Gophers
Brandon Zimmerman
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


It was just under three weeks ago that Buckeye Nation took a collective step backward with their expectations for the Ohio State men’s basketball team. They had just lost to the University of Connecticut by 20 points which dropped their record to 4-5 and did not look very good at all. To make things worse, those five losses on the season were not to great teams. Included in those five losses were losses at home to the University of Texas-Arlington and Louisiana Tech. There were serious discussions about whether this team would even make the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) and the thought of making the NCAA Tournament was downright laughable.

Lucky for us fans, basketball is a finicky game and circumstances can change very quickly. The young Buckeyes have shown life and have won four straight games, including beating the Kentucky Wildcats just 10 days ago. No one is saying this team is going to win a National Championship but a successful Big Ten run can get this team of freshmen and sophomores into the NCAA Tournament which will have a tremendous impact for a run next year.

Tomorrow night, the Buckeyes begin this run to the tournament by opening up their Big Ten season against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at 7:00 PM ET on the Big Ten Network.


The Buckeyes come into Wednesday’s matchup feeling good after winning four straight games to improve their record to 8-5 on the young season. The non-conference slate had its ups and downs but now is the time to see if the young athletes have matured enough to handle Big Ten play.

On Sunday, the Buckeyes had their final tune-up and defeated South Carolina State 73-57. Sophomore Keita Bates-Diop played a fantastic game scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Sophomore Trevor Thompson continued his hot-streak in the middle with a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. True freshman Daniel Giddens continued to grow into a fearsome force down-low as he blocked three shots.

On the season; junior Marc Loving leads all scorers with 13.9 points per game, sophomore Jae’Sean Tate leads the team with 7 rebounds per game, and freshman JaQuan Lyle leads the team with 4.3 assists per game.


As hot as the Buckeyes come into this game, the Golden Gophers come in on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. In their last five games they have lost to South Dakota, South Dakota State, Oklahoma State, and Milwaukee. Their lone win over that five game span came against 4-11 Chicago State, which isn’t even a real state…so it shouldn’t count. Remarkably, all 12 of their games have been played at home for the Golden Gophers and this will be their first road test on the season.

In their last game on December 23rd, the Golden Gophers lost a hard-fought battle to the Milwaukee Panthers 65-74. Senior guard Carlos Morris led the team with 24 points and added 3 assists. Freshman forward Jordan Murphy grabbed 10 rebounds and sophomore center Bakary Konate grabbed a season high 11 rebounds in the contest.

For the season, senior forward Joey King leads the team in scoring averaging 13.8 points per game, Murphy leads the team with 8.8 rebounds per game, and sophomore point guard Nate Mason leads the team with 4.4 assists per game.



Trevor Thompson SO 6’11” 250 C
Jae’Sean Tate SO 6’4” 225 F
Keita Bates-Diop SO 6’7” 235 F
Marc Loving JR 6’7” 220 F
JaQuan Lyle FR 6’5” 210 G


Bakary Konate SO 6’11” 235 C
Jordan Murphy FR 6’6” 230 F
Joey King SR 6’9” 235 F
Carlos Morris SR 6’5” 175 G
Nate Mason SO 6’1” 185 G


Ohio State has the confidence and ability on their side as they go into this match-up versus the Golden Gophers. The Buckeyes have shown they have the ability to beat anyone (see Kentucky) but you also never know when they will lay an egg (see Texas-Arlington) and drop a very winnable game. This is definitely a very winnable game but I think the Buckeyes have turned a corner and we don’t have to fear the egg. They should be able to easily beat the Golden Gophers at home riding the incredibly talented young roster.

Buckeyes win 75-61

The post Basketball Preview: Minnesota Golden Gophers appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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