8 P.M. VS. No. 22 OHIO STATE • WILLIAMS ARENA • TV: ESPN, 1500-AM
Gophers at a glance: They welcome a return home after going 0-2 on the road to start Big Ten play. The Gophers (11-4) dropped the last one, 70-58 at Maryland, on Saturday after shooting just 33.8 percent and 13.6 percent from three-point range. They went on a 13-0 run fueled by Mo Walker (20 points, including 12 in the first half, and 10 rebounds) to come within three at halftime. The Gophers had a season-low five assists to 12 turnovers. Carlos Morris scored 18 points but on an inefficient 7-for-21 shooting. In the past two games, point guard DeAndre Mathieu has amassed nine turnovers with only two assists. Senior guard Andre Hollins hasn’t scored in double digits in the past four games, going 3-for-19 in the past two. The Gophers beat No. 11 Ohio State 63-53 at Williams Arena last January for that team’s first of three home victories against ranked teams. Last year’s Gophers went 0-7 vs. ranked teams away from home, including a 18-point loss in Columbus, Ohio, in February. The Gophers are 0-2 vs. ranked teams this season, both away from home (vs. Louisville in Puerto Rico, and at Maryland).
Ohio State at a glance: After a nonconference schedule in which the No. 22 Buckeyes (12-3, 1-1) dropped their only notable matchups — at Louisville and vs. North Carolina — it was hard to know just how good they are. One game after dropping their Big Ten opener to Iowa at home, the Buckeyes are starting to look like the team most expected. After his team fell behind Illinois by eight, coach Thad Matta ditched the 2-3 zone they had used most of their previous 14 games for a man-to-man defense, and the Buckeyes charged past the Illini 77-61. Freshman D’Angelo Russell has been the team’s best player, averaging 17.7 points and 5.1 assists. Senior Shannon Scott has the Big Ten’s best assists-per-game average at 7.4. Ohio State is hitting a lot more three-pointers this season, converting 40.7 percent.
Note: The Gophers are having their first Barn Blackout. They will wear black jerseys and encourage fans to wear black, too.