On Thursday, the second round of the Big Ten Tournament will continue when the 13-seed Ohio State Buckeyes (14-18 ATS and 12-20 Big Ten) face the 5-seed Iowa Hawkeyes (19-12 ATS, 17-14 ATS), 11-9 Big Ten. To reach this round, Ohio State defeated Wisconsin 65-57 in Round 1. They were 1.5-point favorites. Iowa lost at home to Nebraska 81–77, ending their season as 11.5-point favorites. These two teams split their regular-season matchups.
Wisconsin pulled within four points late, but the Buckeyes held on to win by eight. The Buckeyes defense stood strong and allowed the Badgers only to shoot 34.4% from their field and 18.2% from three. Ohio State’s Sean McNeil led the way with 17 points, while Justice Sueing scored 16 more in round one.
Brice Sensabaugh is the Buckeyes’ leading scorer, scoring an average of 16.5 PPG. Sensabaugh, a 6’6 and 235-pound wing, was recently named to the All-Freshman Team of the Big Ten. Sensabaugh scored 9 points and grabbed 11 rebounds during the win in round 1. Justice Sueing, a 6’6 senior guard, is another player who has size from the perimeter. The Buckeyes’ junior averages 12.0 PPG (5.4 RPG). Sueing has scored double figures in four consecutive games. Bruce Thornton, a 6’2 guard for the Buckeyes has also scored 20 points in his last two games. The Buckeyes have a lot of guard-heavy lineups. Sean McNeil, a 6’4 shooter, averages 9.7 PPG.
KenPom ranks Ohio State 55th, which is 11th among the 14 Big Ten teams. They are 21st in adjusted offense efficiency and 113th in id defensive efficiency. The Buckeyes weren’t listed in Joe Lunardi Bracketology Wednesday night as they are unlikely to receive an at-large bid.
The Iowa Hawkeyes placed 5th in Big Ten. This is a shame as the 4 top teams in the conference receive double-byes. The winner of the 12-13 match, Ohio State, will be Iowa’s opponent. They aren’t coming in with much momentum as they have only won two of five previous games. The Hawkeyes lost to Nebraska, with Iowa led by Patrick McCaffery. He also made 6 threes.
The Hawkeyes’ junior forward Kris Murray is the leader. He was recently named First Team All-Big Ten by the coaches. Murray, a 6’8 forward, averages 20.5 PPG (8.0 RPG) and was 3 rd among the conference’s scoring leaders. He also finished 5th in rebounding. Murray has scored at least 22 points in three consecutive games. Filip Rebraca ranks 2nd in rebounding and scoring with 13.9 PPG. He is a Serbian senior of 6’9 who has scored in the double digits in 10 of his last ten games. Tony Perkins, a 6’4 junior from Serbia, is the best perimeter threat. He averages 12.4 points per game and has scored 23 in at least two of his three most recent games.
KenPom ranks Iowa 35th overall, which is 6th for the Big Ten. Their offense is a great success, ranking third in adjusted offensive efficiency. Their defense is ranked 168th in efficiency. Joe Lunardi projects Iowa as a 7th seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Hawkeyes and Buckeyes split their two games this season.
On Thursday, Ohio State’s luck will run out. Although the Buckeyes managed to win against Wisconsin, Iowa has more talent. Many believe Kris Murray will be a top-10 pick in the NBA draft. He is both a matchup nightmare because of his size and ability to score from the perimeter. They are weak in the interior, as they have lost Zed Key, their best player at the post for the season. Murray is able to score inside. However, Filip Rebraca (6’9 230 lbs) will be a dangerous threat inside.
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