On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the Gophers will continue the Big Ten season against Ohio State in Columbus. In preparation for their only meeting with OSU during the regular season, GopherSports.com's Jeff Fett previewed the Buckeyes.
Head Coach: Thad Matta
2012-13 Record: 18-7 (8-5)
Leading Scorers: Deshaun Thomas-20.2 ppg; Lenzelle Smith, Jr.-10.3 ppg; Aaron Craft-9.5 ppg; LaQuinton Ross-7.8 ppg; Sam Thompson-7.0 ppg.
Leading Rebounders: Deshaun Thomas-6.2 rpg; Lenzelle Smith, Jr.-5.3 rpg; Evan Ravenel-4.6 rpg; Amir Williams-4.2 rpg; Aaron Craft-3.8 rpg.
Notable wins: Michigan, Washington, Winthrop, Wisconsin
Notable losses: Duke, Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin,
Indiana, Michigan State, Illinois
Ohio State is one of those scary young teams no one wants to face this time of year.
The Buckeyes have only one senior in Evan Ravenel, and are led by junior guards Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith, Jr. and junior power forward Deshaun Thomas.
Last season, Jared Sullinger and William Buford led this team, but Thomas has stepped up this season and is shooting the lights out, averaging a conference-high 20.2 ppg. Craft is also one of the best defenders in the nation.
Along with Craft and Thomas, the Buckeyes are getting nice contributions this season from their sophomore class of Amir Williams, LaQuinton Ross, Sam Thompson and Shannon Scott.
After a non-conference season where they beat respectable teams in Washington and Winthrop, the Buckeyes have taken care of business in the Big Ten this season. They've beat the teams they needed to in Nebraska, Penn State and Northwestern, which are near the bottom of the standings, but they've also knocked off conference contenders in Michigan and Wisconsin too.
Right now, the Buckeyes appear in safe position for a spot in the NCAA tournament, but the schedule still has some roadblocks. Such is life in the Big Ten Conference.