The Big Ten only had one game on Wednesday night after Illinois and Nebraska got postponed, but it was an interesting one with Ohio State and Northwestern matching up. It figured to be a fiery rematch after Northwestern won the first meeting.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 21 Ohio State Buckeyes 81, Northwestern Wildcats 71
While Northwestern kept things respectable on Wednesday night, there was little debating who was the better team. The Buckeyes took control early and never looked back with Duane Washington leading the way. The guard finished with 23 points, six assists, and three rebounds. Justice Sueing also finished with 13 points. All told, Ohio State grabbed a key 81-71 victory over Northwestern in Columbus.
Ohio State improved to 10-3 overall and 4-3 in Big Ten play with the win and now looks poised to enters its most difficult stretch of the season. Every remaining regular season game for the Buckeyes will be against a team in KenPom’s top 50, including two road games against top 10 opponents in the coming weeks.
For Northwestern, this feels a bit like the end of the road. That’s probably a bit hyperbolic, but the Wildcats have now lost four in a row and the schedule doesn’t look much easier going forward. Just take a look at the team’s next five games:
Northwestern’s Next Five Games (KenPom Odds To Win):
- 1/17 - Iowa (23%)
- 1/20 - at Wisconsin (19%)
- 1/23 - at Penn State (39%)
- 1/31 - Rutgers (48%)
- 2/3 - Michigan (25%)
Projections don’t guarantee anything, but Wildcat fans would have to feel pretty good about even going 2-3 in that stretch, which isn’t exactly encouraging when the team is already just 6-5 overall and 3-4 in Big Ten play. Nobody is ever out in January, but things don’t seem to be trending well in Evanston.
Moving forward, Ohio State will now go on the road to face Illinois. Northwestern will return to action on Sunday at home against Iowa.
This figured to be an interesting game after Illinois fell at home against Maryland over the weekend. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for the game to be rescheduled. Everyone certainly wishes safety and health onto every on both sides.