Northwestern travels to Ohio State to finish up their fourth road game in their last five. The Wildcats will then return home to play Illinois on Sunday to begin a stretch of four of their next five games at home.
Northwestern fell 71-57 at Iowa on Saturday. The Hawkeyes used a 10-0 run in the second half to extend the lead from 40-38 to 50-38. NU went four minutes without scoring and never seriously threatened Iowa again. Reggie Hearn led Northwestern with 13.
It was announced earlier in the week that graduate student Jared Swopshire was lost for the season in an injury that occurred against the Hawkeyes. They will also be missing center Alex Olah who incurred a concussion against Iowa. Swopshire becomes the fifth NU player lost for the season.
Swopshire is Northwestern’s leading rebounder at 6.7 RPG. Reggie Hearn is second with 4.5. Swopshire had been playing well. He averaged 12.2 PPG and 8.8 RPG in the five games prior to Iowa.
After posing big road wins earlier in the season, NU has struggled away from Welsh-Ryan recently.They have lost three in a row on the road and are 2-4 in Big Ten road games. In its last three road games, the Wildcats are averaging just 50 PPG and losing by an average of over 17 per game.
Ohio State comes into the contest having lost their last two. They will try to avoid their first three game losing streak in four years. The Buckeyes have dominated Northwestern in Columbus, having won the last 31 meeting there.
Losses to Michigan and Indiana in their last two games dropped the Buckeyes to 1-6 against ranked teams this season.
Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas leads the Big Ten in scoring and is the Buckeyes leading rebounder. He also is fifth in the Big Ten in three pointers and eighth in three point percentage.
Kale Abrahamson and MIke Turner will take Olah and Shropshire’s places in the starting lineup. The Wildcats are going to have to rely heavily on guards Dave Sobolewski and Reggie Hearn to carry the load to have any chance at an upset. Hearn has shown flashes recently that he can put the team on his back.
Sobolewski is third in the Big Ten in minutes played and Hearn ninth in scoring. Hearn has struggled on the road. He’s averaged just 8.7 PPG and shot 28 percent in Northwestern’s last three road games.
Lenzelle Smith who is from Zion is the only other Buckeye averaging in double figures. Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft ranks second in the Big Ten in assists, fourth in free throw percentage and third in steals.
Ohio State and Northwestern will tip-off at 6 CT at Value City Arena in Columbus. The game will be on the Big Ten Network with Dave Revsine and former Buckeye All-American Jim Jackson providing the call.