It's probably a safe bet that Ohio State's offense won't be as prolific tonight as it was the last time it took the court. That was Friday, when the Buckeyes tied a Value City Arena record with an 111-point outburst against a Marshall team more concerned with outscoring its opponents than stopping them.
It's probably a safe bet that Ohio State's offense won't be as prolific Wednesday night as it was the last time it took the court.
That was Friday, when the Buckeyes tied a Value City Arena record with an 111-point outburst against a Marshall team more concerned with outscoring its opponents than stopping them.
Virginia presents the opposite challenge. The sixth-ranked Cavaliers have won their first six games like Ohio State, but they have done it with the nation's top-ranked defense. Half of Virginia's opponents have not cracked 40 points, and none of them has scored more than 52 points. The Cavaliers are allowing 41.3 points per game.
"You definitely have to make shots," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "They're very, very sound and they're bigger than people probably think at each position. They don't appear to be disruptive but they are. They can really disrupt your flow."
That wasn't the case against the Thundering Herd, or for much of the early season for the Buckeyes.
>>> Preview chart: Ohio State vs. Virginia
A few hiccups aside, Ohio State has shown flashes of being a solid offensive team under the direction of assistant coach Chris Jent. The Buckeyes are shooting 51.0 percent from the field and feature six players, including the injured Keita Bates-Diop, averaging in double figures.
But if they get to 60 points tonight, that might be a victory in itself.
"The type of pace that we have, the type of screening that we have is going to separate us and be able to get us some open shots," senior forward Marc Loving said. "Just being able to swing the ball from one side of the floor to the other and hopefully get the best shot possible and minimize the amount of bad shots that we take."
Coach Tony Bennett has credited Virginia's success to each player's ability to seize upon a specific role and embrace the collective good. It's a similar mantra to the one Matta has been preaching since Ohio State stumbled its way to the National Invitation Tournament last season.
Loving said that Virginia's defensive scheme bears some similarities to how Wisconsin and Michigan State play. Matta and forward Jae'Sean Tate echoed his words on ball movement.
The Buckeyes have quietly been playing some pretty good defense, too. Ohio State ranks 14th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com, its best ranking in three years, and teams are shooting only 35.9 percent against the Buckeyes.
Tonight's game poses a much stiffer test, though.
"I think we're a pretty confident team," Loving said. "I'm excited to see what we're able to do against a top-10 opponent at their place."