Who will WIN this matchup?
Northwestern Wildcats (6-4)
@ #21 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-3)
Northwestern Wildcats: (+330)
Ohio State Buckeyes: (-400)
• The line for this game is Ohio State by 8.5 points.
• Northwestern has a chance to move past an epic second-half collapse when the Wildcats travel to Columbus to play No. 21 Ohio State on Wednesday. The Wildcats (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten) were riding high after defeating the visiting Buckeyes on Dec. 26 for a 3-0 conference mark.
• Since then, Northwestern has lost three straight, most recently surrendering a 15-point halftime lead vs. visiting Illinois on Thursday. The Wildcats were outscored 53-13 in the second half while shooting 2 of 24 from the field, leading to an 81-56 defeat. According to STATS, Illini is the only Division I team in the past 25 seasons to trail by 15-plus at the half and win by 20 or more. A major conference school has not been outscored by 40 points in a half since Kentucky was 43 points better in the second half vs. Vanderbilt on March 5, 2003.
• Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they will face a team capable of turning the screws quickly, as Illinois did. The Buckeyes produced a 22-4 burst while building a 42-30 halftime lead at Rutgers on Saturday, and Ohio State won 79-68.
• It was similar to Ohio State (9-3, 3-3) overcoming a 16-point deficit with 15 minutes remaining for an 80-68 victory over the Scarlet Knights on Dec. 23. The key in each instance was winning the battles for loose balls and rebounds.
• On Saturday, Ohio State guard CJ Walker missed the first of what is expected to be multiple games due to torn ligaments in his right hand. His replacement, Jimmy Sotos, had six points and four assists in 28 minutes but exited with less than four minutes remaining holding his right shoulder after a collision. Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said on his radio show Monday that Sotos would be a game-time decision Wednesday.
• The Buckeyes showed their depth vs. Rutgers with four players scoring in double figures. Duane Washington Jr. led the way with 17 points but committed a team-high four turnovers.
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