(Photo courtesy Columbus Dispatch)

Yes! After the win on Sunday in Columbus against the *ichigan State Spartans (72-67) practice for the Buckeyes this week “most” likely had a more pleasant Thad presence. …

Now with that all said … allow us to journey into the matter at hand – the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Our beloved Buckeyes will meet up with the 7th ranked team in the Big Ten, 3-2 in Conference, and 9-8 overall tomorrow evening at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln at 9:06 p.m. (EST). The game can be watched on BTN and on 97.1.

The victory against the Spartans was nice – and needed. It couldn’t have come at a better time – preventing from falling into the unsalvageable hole of 0-5 within the Big Ten, and following the loss of Keita Bates-Diop to a season-ending injury. I have mentioned that the only way the Buckeyes will redeem this season is for someone to step into the role that Keita held, the unnoticeable contributions – the “so” important element that X’s & O’s masquerade, and that is needed in making a win happen. Keita was that player – now with him out – there must be a player to step into that “unheralded” recognition.

NEBRASKA:

As I mentioned, the Cornhuskers are listed at 7th, currently in the Big Ten with a 3-2 record in conference play, and 9-8 overall. One name you need to know; Tai Webster. The 6-4 Senior guard out of Auckland, New Zealand leads the team in points per game with an 18.3 average. He also is the leader in assists with a 4.1 per game average, and sits at 2nd on the team in steals with a 1.5 per game average; behind their leader, Glynn Watson, Jr., who holds a 2.1 per game average.

Ed Marrow, the 6-7 Sophomore Forward out of Chicago is the rebounding leader for Nebraska with a 7.9 per game average. He also has a 1.5 per game average in the block department; also leading the team.

Tai Webster is clearly the star in Lincoln. In 17 games and an accumulation of 593 minutes he is their strength. Not only does he hit on the perimeter, but from outside – having a 3-pt % of 33.8, making 23 out of 68.

It is noteworthy to mention in Ed Marrow’s play that he too, is averaging in double figures with a 10.1 per game average. Which, now, as I ramble, brings up that Nebraska has three players averaging in double figures in points per game: Tai Webster (18.3); Glynn Watson, Jr. (15.1) & Ed Marrow (10.1).

A player to watch for the Cornhuskers is 6-3 Senior guard out of Raleigh, NC, Anton Gill. He is only averaging 3.8 points per game along with 0.5 in assists, and 0.3 in steals – in 12 games equaling 17.3 minutes – doesn’t sound like a tremendous threat – but ask Dayton and Maryland about Anton. In late minute play – in both instances – he was the factor in the Cornhuskers pulling off upsets. He NEEDS to be watched when he steps onto the court – especially in a late and close one.

Nebraska has played and lost to some “good” programs; UCLA (82-71); Creighton (60-58); Kansas (89-72) …. While beating three “good” programs: Dayton (80-78); Maryland (67-65) and Iowa (93-90).

Don’t count these ‘Huskers out!

THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY:

Jae’Sean Tate continues to lead the Buckeyes in points per game with an average of 14.1. He is also strong off the boards, with an average of 6.3 per game. Trevor Thompson leads the team in rebounding with an average per game of 9.0, while contributing with 10.7 points per game. JaQuan Lyle continues to lead in assists with an average of 5.4 per game.

The Buckeyes continue to have five players averaging in double figures in scoring. Jae’Sean Tate (14.1), JaQuan Lyle (12.3), Marc Loving (11.2), Trevor Thompson (10.7), Kam Williams (10.4). This is a phenomenal realism that should be playing better than what it seemingly has been. Perhaps the victory against *ichigan State will be the pivotal point for the Buckeyes turning it all around.

Ken had some tremendous points in his post-game piece of the win over the Spartans; one of which was: Trevor Thompson is having a solid year on the floor for the Buckeyes. He’s averaging nearly a double-double (10.7 points, 9 rebounds) and 2 blocks per game. His effort and production this year has been the saving grace for this team.

These points are on target! The Buckeyes are a good solid team that – frankly shouldn’t be sitting with seven losses – four within the Big Ten.
The Ohio State University Buckeyes and Nebraska Cornhuskers series tilts heavily to the Buckeyes – who are 13-3 overall. They are 4-2 in Lincoln, while commandingly in the driver’s seat when in Columbus, 7-0. They have the other loss in a neutral arena. Thad Matta teams are dominant against the Cornhuskers, 9-1. Of current Buckeyes Marc Loving has played the most games against Nebraska with five. He is averaging 8.4 points per game and has a 2.8 rebounding average. Jae’Sean Tate likes playing Nebraska; he is averaging 18.5 points per game and snags an average of 9.5 boards.
The last time the Buckeyes and Cornhuskers met up was on February 20, 2016. JaQuan Lyle scored all 19 of his points after the half, this included six in OT that would carry OSU to a 65-62 victory. Lyle’s layup with 31 seconds remaining on the clock broke a 62-62 tie. The ‘Huskers would miss on three opportunities before the buzzer sounded.

NOTES TO “NOTE”:

– The Buckeyes are 5-0 this year when making at least 10 3-pointers.
– Ohio State is now 10-2 when leading at halftime this season.
– The Scarlet and Gray is 11-2 this season when leading with five
minutes left in the game.

What does it all mean?

Who knows? I cannot lie and say I expected what happened last Sunday – to happen! I was turning down pessimism boulevard after the Buckeyes fell to 0-4 in league play and then the Kieta Bates-Diop news only blanketed and encased my cynicism. The final results though have risen the optimism from the depths of my soul … and I now see only Scarlet and Gray again! I see OSU winning in Lincoln tomorrow … but I am afraid of saying that out loud.