Feb. 12, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Northwestern's men's basketball team opens a stretch during which it plays three of the next four games at home when it faces Ohio State on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. with Big Ten Network providing live television coverage. Tom Hamilton and Rich Zvosec will have the call.
The game can also be heard on WGN Radio (720 AM) with Dave Eanet and David Kaplan.
The matchup features two of the top point guards in the conference in OSU senior Jamar Butler and Wildcat freshman Michael Thompson. The duo ranks first and second, respectively, in the Big Ten in assists. NU held Butler scoreless in the first matchup this season, but he still managed 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Thompson has the best assist-to-turnover ratio (2.17) of any freshman in a BCS conference.
Series History: Ohio State leads, 104-44. The Buckeyes have a 42-30 edge in games played at Northwestern.
Last Meeting: Kosta Koufos scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Northwestern shot a season-low 31.0 percent in the Buckeyes' 62-51 win Jan. 6 in Columbus.
Last Time Out
Craig Moore continued his stellar play against Michigan State, scoring a game-high 21 points Saturday evening but it wasn't enough as the 11th-ranked Spartans were able to distance themselves from Northwestern late for a 70-55 victory at the Breslin Center. Drew Neitzel scored 13 of his 21 points consecutively for the Spartans during a first-half stretch to lead MSU. Following a slow start, the Wildcats took their biggest lead of the game at 18-14 on a breakaway dunk by Kevin Coble. After not attempting a shot for the first 12:35, Neitzel hit five straight attempts, including three 3-pointers, to help turn the four-point deficit into a 35-29 halftime lead. The Wildcats trailed by nine at 43-34 before eventually drawing back to within 47-46 on back-to-back 3s from Moore. NU was still within four at 54-50 with 8:44 to go following Sterling Williams' layup, but Michigan State never surrendered the lead. The Spartans shot 51.9 percent from the field to Northwestern's 38.5 and had a 33-26 edge on the boards. Jeremy Nash hauled in a career-high 10 rebounds for the Wildcats.
Top of the Class
Point guard Michael Thompson has proven to be both effective and durable during his freshman season. In fact, he has been so good that he ranks among the nation's freshmen leaders in a pair of important statistical categories.
Freshmen Leaders in Assist-to-Turnover Ratio
(mininum 3.0 assists per game)
Player - School - Ratio
Julyan Stone - UTEP - 2.29
Sam Maniscalco - Bradley - 2.24
Michael Thompson - Northwestern - 2.17
Nick Calathes - Florida - 2.14
Cookie Miller - Nebraska - 1.96
Freshmen Leaders in Minutes Played
Player - School - Average
O.J. Mayo - USC - 36.4
Michael Thompson - Northwestern - 36.1
Anthony Nelson - Niagara - 35.8
Patrick Patterson - Kentucky - 35.8
* courtesy of STATS, Inc. (through games played 2/10/08)
Northwestern remains at home this Saturday when it takes on Big Ten leader Purdue at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. with Big Ten Network providing television coverage.