Ohio State Buckeyes (16-4, 6-2 Big Ten) Streak:
Won 3 Last Game:
Defeated Wisconsin 58-49
Aaron Craft (ranks in Big Ten's top five with 4.6 assists per game)
Lenzelle Smith (averaging 10.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per game)
Deshaun Thomas (Big Ten's leading scorer with 20.3 ppg)
Sam Thompson (scoring 7.3 ppg with 3.4 rpg)
Amir Williams (averaging 4.1 ppg and 3.9 ppg)
Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-11, 2-7 Big Ten) Streak:
Lost 1 Last Game:
Lost to Minnesota 84-65
Dylan Talley (held to just six points versus Minnesota)
Ray Gallegos (scored career-high 30 points against Minnesota)
Shavon Shields (averaged 10.4 ppg and 6.1 rpg in last eight games)
David Rivers (didn't score a point in loss to Golden Gophers)
Brandon Ubel (had 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting vs. UM)
Crash the boards
The blueprint for dominating Nebraska is out there: crash the boards on both ends of the floor, and you'll give the Huskers fits all game long. Nebraska is well aware of its recent struggles in the rebounding department, and it's coming off arguably its worst effort on the glass of the entire season in Tuesday night's loss at Minnesota. Ohio State is yet another big, strong and physical team that makes you work for every rebound, so the Huskers will have to find a way to be much more aggressive on the boards in order to keep from giving the Buckeyes any extra chances.
Take away Thomas 2
The Big Ten's leading scorer will take the Devaney Center floor tonight in Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas, who comes in averaging 20.3 points per game. The Buckeyes obviously have several dangerous weapons to account for, but Nebraska knows that if it's going to have any shot at pulling off an upset, it has to keep Thomas in check as much as possible and make someone else step up and beat them. In the first meeting back in Columbus, Ohio, Thomas jumped all over NU from the opening tip, scoring 18 of his game-high 22 points in the first half.
Don't be intimidated
Nebraska coach Tim Miles and his players have been talking all week about having the right mindset going into games, especially against high-profile teams like Ohio State. The Huskers admittedly have been a little intimidated when they face off against the Big Ten's best, and the Buckeyes have given them every reason to doubt themselves after three straight defeats by an average of 30 points. Nebraska has to believe it can at least be competitive against teams like Ohio State if its ever going to take the next step as a program, and that might be its biggest hurdle at this point.
"(Assistant coach Ben Johnson) asked me that. He said, 'Coach, do we just let him get in and shut everybody else down?' And I said, 'No, we have to go after him.' I just feel like, at the end of the day, I've always felt best when we can - they're geared to run through Thomas, so why should we try and let them play like they practice every day? Why would you do that? You have to make those other guys do other things to beat you and rise to the occasion. I'm quite certain he'll rise to the occasion. He's pretty good."
Senior forward Brandon Ubel on Nebraska's rebounding struggles:
"Minnesota and Illinois, (teams will be) looking at both of those games and saying 'Let's crash the glass on them.' That's something that we've struggled with lately, and we're working on it in practice. We put guards over the rims so every shot is missed and we know we've got to attack the glass on every singe shot. It can't just be two or three of us; it's got to be all five guys every single play. That's something we're working on and improving, but definitely coaches and teams watch tape, so they know that lately that's been a weakness for us."