Setting the Scene
• Ohio State eyes a second-straight victory over a ranked opponent on Sunday when it hosts No. 25 Northwestern on Sunday, Jan. 4.
• Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. from the Value City Arena.
• The Buckeyes (9-5, 1-1 B1G) opened 2015 with an 85-68 victory over No. 16 Rutgers for their first B1G victory of the season.
• Northwestern (12-1, 2-0 B1G) has won its first two conference games and is off to one if its best starts in school history.
• The game is televised on the Big Ten Network. Lisa Byington and Katie Smith will have the call.
• The game can also be heard on ESPN 1460 AM in the Columbus area and on www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
Last Time Out
• Ohio State could have started 2015 any better as it rolled past No. 16 Rutgers 85-68 Thursday afternoon at Value City Arena.
• The Buckeyes used two big runs, one in each half, to take control of the game. The defense sprung both runs as Ohio State forced 21 Rutgers turnovers and held the Scarlet Knights to just 35.4 percent from the floor. That was Rutgers’ second-lowest shooting percentage of the season.
• Freshman sensation Kelsey Mitchell was special again on Thursday, coming up with big plays when the Buckeyes needed it most. She finished with game-highs of 33 points and six assists. This was her third 30-point game of the year. Mitchell was also 11-of-11 from the free throw line.
• Junior Ameryst Alston continued her steady play, scoring 21 points and grabbing a team-high nine rebounds. Alston has now scored 20 or more points in five-straight games.
• Freshman Asia Doss and redshirt-sophomore Lisa Blair were the other two Buckeyes in double-figures as each notched 10 points. Doss made a season-high two three-pointers while Blair pulled-down seven rebounds and blocked five shots.
• Betnijah Laney led Rutgers with a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds. Tyler Scaife added 17 points.
• After missing their first nine field goal attempts, the Buckeyes went on a 21-4 run to grab an early first half lead.
• Rutgers then knifed the 13-point halftime deficit down to nine points before a 13-0 Buckeye run, keyed by eight points from Mitchell, put the game away.
A Quick Look At Northwestern
• Northwestern has gotten off to a tremendous start to the season at 12-1 overall and 2-0 in the B1G.
• The Wildcats won their first 10 games before dropping its only game of the year at Arizona State on Dec. 21.
• That was the first 10-game win-streak for Northwestern since the 1989-90 season.
• NU opened B1G play with a 61-57 upset of No. 22/20 Michigan State and then won at home over Wisconsin 68-46 last Thursday.
• Nia Coffey leads four Wildcats in double-figures at 16.3 points per game. She also leads the team in rebounding at nearly eight per game and has blocked 24 shots.
• Maggie Lyon is the team’s sharp shooter, making a team-high 33 three-pointers and averaging 12.6 points per contest.
• Head coach Joe McKeown is in his seventh season at the helm of the Wildcat program. He has guided the Wildcats to three WNIT appearances in the last six seasons. This is his 29th season overall and he has amassed over 600 career victories.
Series History vs. Northwestern
• The Buckeyes and Wildcats are meeting for the 59th time with Ohio State holding a 41-17 edge in the series.
• The Bucks have dominated the series as of late, winning 23 of the last 25 meetings dating back to 2000.
• The only two NW victories during that stretch came in 2011 when the Wildcats swept the season series.
• Ohio State is 20-6 all-time in games played in Columbus.
• The Buckeyes won both games last season, including an 86-77 victory in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament.
McGuff vs. Northwestern
• Head coach Kevin McGuff is 2-0 all-time against Northwestern, winning both games last season.
• The Buckeyes won at home over the Wildcats in the regular season and then topped NW in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Facing A Ranked Team
• Under head coach Kevin McGuff, the Buckeyes are 5-13 when facing a ranked opponent.
• The team was 3-11 in McGuff’s first season in 2013-14.
• One of the best wins of the 2013-14 season came over No. 11 Penn State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. The Buckeyes scored a tournament-record 99 points in the victory.
• Ohio State is 2-2 this season with resounding wins over No. 18 West Virginia (96-54) and No. 16 Rutgers (85-68).