NCAA Men’s Basketball action will continue when the Ohio State Buckeyes (who are a ranked team again) and the streaky but dangerous Northwestern Wildcats face each other. Both teams faced each other on Boxing Day, where the Wildcats stole a narrow one-point win. That loss prompted the removal of the Buckeyes from the AP Poll, to which they have now returned.
The Buckeyes are coming off a massive win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. This helped them recover from the 1-2 record they had over their previous three games, losing to the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Wildcats.
The Wildcats have trended the other way since their win over the Buckeyes. They have lost three straight games to the Iowa Hawkeyes, Michigan Wolverines, and the Illinois Fighting Illini. These were hard matchups, but their performance in these should be scrutinized.
Who wins this rematch?
The Wildcats must have been convinced that their two-game losing streak would end against Illinois. After all, they were up by 15 going into the second half of that game. However, they were somehow outscored by 40 in the second half, only scoring 13 points. For a team that expects to be ranked, that is unacceptable.
The Buckeyes are without star guard C.J. Walker and may miss his backup Jimmy Sotos for the game. However, he still hasn’t been listed as out for this game. They were out-hustled by NW the last time they faced off, so the effort will be very high from the Buckeyes for this game.
The Buckeyes will be starting Jimmy Sotos, Duane Washington Jr., Justice Sueing, E.J. Liddel, and Kyle Young. Meanwhile, the Wildcats will take the floor with Boo Buie, Chase Audige, Miller Kopp, Robbie Beran, and Pete Nance.
For our prediction, we will spick the Buckeyes to exact their revenge. Their team was always the better team, but fell to an upset last time around. They will correct that loss this game, forcing the Wildcats to fall to a four-game slump.