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NCAA Preview: Ohio State at Illinois

#1 Ohio State vs. #22 Illinois

#1 Ohio State University (18-0) defends its number one ranking in NCAA college basketball when it visits #22 Illinois (14-5) in a Big Ten match-up.

The Buckeyes have already defended their ranking with a 22-point drubbing of Iowa on Wednesday night. The win won’t get them many style points since the Hawkeyes are sitting at 7-11 but the blow-out did reverse a trend of close games in Big Ten competition, starting with their first meeting at Iowa. Thad Motta’s team, though, despite their ranking is not the most impressive offensive team. They are ranked 21st in the nation in points with an average of 79.3 per game, and 19th in 3-point field goal percentage. The Buckeyes can play defense, though. Ohio State has held 11 opponents under 61 points and generally keep scores down. The ring leader on this team is frosh sensation Jared Sullinger, who leads the team in scoring with 17.4 points per game and rebounds with 9.8. The 6-9, 280 lb big man plays sick minutes and he can score. In Big Ten competition, his average is about 20 points.

The Illini will present a stiff challenge for the Buckeyes. The team has already defeated ranked teams such as Gonzaga and Wisconsin, and is fresh off a 71-62 win over #18 Michigan State. Senior guard Demetri McCamey leads the team in scoring with 16.2 points per game and pumped in 15 against MSU. Senior forward Mike Davis and sophomore guard D.J. Richardson chip-in with 10 points per game each.

A win against Ohio State would solidify the Illini’s NCAA hopes so there should be no amount of motivation going into this game, but the Buckeyes are on a roll and don’t want to relinquish their #1 ranking.

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