Ohio State vs. Northeastern
When: Today at 2 p.m.
Where: Value City Arena
Television: BTN Plus
Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (63 stations), Sirius 157/XM 380, WBNS-FM (97.1)
Records: Ohio State 3-0; Northeastern 2-1
G C.J. Jackson, 6-1, Jr., 13.0
G Kam Williams, 6-2, Sr., 12.5
F Jae’Sean Tate, 6-4, Sr., 10.0
F Keita Bates-Diop, 6-7, Jr., 20.5
C Kaleb Wesson, 6-9, Fr., 11.0
Key reserves: G Andrew Dakich, 6-2, Gr., 0.5; C Micah Potter, 6-9, So., 8.0; F Andre Wesson, 6-6, So., 4.5; G Musa Jallow, 6-5, Fr., 6.0; F Kyle Young, 6-8, Fr., 2.0
G Devon Begley, 6-4, Sr., 9.3
G Bolden Brace, 6-6, So., 8.3
G Vasa Pusica, 6-5, Jr., 7.7
G/F Maxime Boursiquot, 6-5, So., 4.7
C Anthony Green, 6-10, Jr., 7.3
Key reserves: F Tomas Murphy, 6-8, Fr., 9.0; G Donnell Gresham Jr., 6-1, So., 8.7; G Shawn Occeus, 6-4, So., 8.0; G Derrick Cook, 6-4, Fr., 3.3
With this game coming three days after the Buckeyes moved to 3-0 with a win against Texas Southern, no interview session was held to discuss the merits of the Huskies. However, after that most recent game, Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann did make reference to the next game on the schedule, calling them the best team the Buckeyes will have faced to this point.
Northeastern opened the year with two straight wins before traveling to Stanford on Friday night and losing, 73-59. That might be a result to keep an eye on, as the Buckeyes could face the Cardinal in their second game in Portland later this week as part of the PK80 Invitational.
Interestingly enough, this game counts as part of that tournament, even though it has no bearing whatsoever on seeding or whom the Buckeyes could wind up playing.
The Huskies were picked to finish sixth in the 10-team Colonial Athletic Association. Seven players average between 7.3 and 9.3 points per game.
*After Holtmann mentioned needing to do a better job of mixing his veterans and his younger players, I expected a change to his starting lineup against Texas Southern. On that front, I was right. However, I expected it to be Kaleb Wesson for Micah Potter, and when Holtmann suspended Wesson for the game that meant Musa Jallow for Kam Williams was the change to the rotation.
Just 17 years old, Jallow replaced the fifth-year senior and posted a complete stat line: 13 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists in 29 minutes while going plus-27. Williams, in 16 minutes, had three points and one rebound and was minus-10.
*Holtmann’s starting lineup for the first two games played just 18 seconds together in the first half against Texas Southern. They then were together in the second half for 3:06 and were outscored 7-3 as part of Texas Southern’s run that got the game within two.
With a 57-52 lead, Holtmann went with his starting lineup for this game, and against this group the Tigers clawed to within 59-57. But it was also this group that fought back afterward, and in a shift that lasted 8:08 outscored Texas Southern 25-12 to pull out a comfortable win.
*Not surprisingly, the Buckeyes only used five lineups that had been seen in either of the first two games. Nine of Holtmann’s 14 lineups were new, owing to the loss of Wesson for the game. The starting group was the first to score at least half of Ohio State’s points in a game this season, putting up 50 and allowing 28.
*These two teams have met once before, and Northeastern won. That came Feb. 16, 1985, in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where the Huskies won, 76-74. Ohio State finished 20-10 and featured the likes of current radio expert analyst Ron Stokes and the father of two members of this year’s team, Keith Wesson.
Northeastern was coached by Jim Calhoun and went 22-9 overall, losing to Illinois in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to snap a 12-game winning streak that included the Ohio State game. The Buckeyes won a first-round NCAA Tournament game against Iowa State, 75-64, before losing to Louisiana Tech, 79-67.
*This is the second straight season in which Ohio State has started 3-0. In 2015-16, the Buckeyes dropped their third game of the year, 73-68, to Texas-Arlington to start a four-game losing streak. They have started at least 2-0 in every season since 2003-04.
*Jae’Sean Tate is tied for third nationally among players from Power Five conferences who are 6-4 or shorter with an average of 8.3 rebounds per game.
*Keita Bates-Diop is one of eight players in the country to open the year with a double-double in three straight games. He is averaging 19.3 points and 11.0 rebounds per game, both team-best figures.
What does KenPom say?
According to the advanced statistics of KenPom.com, Ohio State has a 78 percent chance to win today’s game. After climbing one spot to No. 74 in the national rankings with Thursday’s win against Texas Southern, Ohio State is projected to beat Northeastern by a score of 75-67. The Huskies are ranked No. 150 in the country.
What would Musa Jallow have been doing Thursday if he was still in high school? I asked, and his answer was pretty interesting.
Let's unpack a few things from that Texas Southern game in the pregame blog. There was plenty of ground to cover.
Positionless basketball is all the rage, and Keita Bates-Diop personifies that for Ohio State this year.
In case you missed it during the first two games, why isn't this game on television? I've got your answers here.