Illinois Basketball Preview

OSU LogoThe Ohio State Buckeyes are doing something this Saturday that they haven’t had to do since the beginning of the month. When the Buckeyes(19-6, 6-6) take on the Fighting Illini of Illinois, they will be coming off of a loss. Thad Matta’s club is hoping to rebound from a home loss to rival Michigan on Tuesday. He is also hoping the outcome of the game on Saturday is the same as when Ohio State beat The Fighting Illini(14-11, 3-9) 62-55 at Value City Arena on Jan 23rd.

In order for Ohio State to come out on the winning side of the scoreboard, they will need to contain the Illini’s leading scorer, Rayvonte Rice. He is averaging 16.8 points a game but Ohio State was able to limit the sharpshooter to exactly 0 points. Don’t think for a second that Rice is not fully aware of his shortcomings last time against the Buckeyes. One thing Ohio State will want to keep an eye on is the production of Joseph Bertrand who was able to find a lot of success against the Buckeyes last contest with 19 points. He almost single handedly kept the Illini within striking distance until the final moments.

With Matta’s club seemingly having righted the ship a bit with road wins against Wisconsin and Iowa to go along with a home win against Purdue, the home loss to Michigan might have let doubt creep back in. This teams needs confidence in order to succeed and seem to have gotten it in Lenzelle Smith Jr. With LaQuinton Ross being the one constant that Matta can count on, the rest of the bunch have been as up and down as a roller coaster. Smith Jr. has provided the spark to get the Buckeyes back on track. His performance will most certainly dictate the outcome of the game against Illinois. If he scores in double figures, the Buckeyes will be able to score against Illini and win the game. I look for Illinois to have a hot shooting streak playing at home and coming away with a 70-62 win.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: