The No. 19 Buckeyes (7-1, 1-0) head west for a game at the United Center in Chicago against conference foe Illinois (2-6, 0-1) Wednesday night. Ohio State is coming off of a conference win against Minnesota on Sunday, while the Illini are coming in off of a 75-60 loss at Nebraska on Sunday.
Who: Ohio State at Illinois
What: Men’s Basketball
Where: Chicago, Illinois — United Center
When: 7:00 pm (BTN)
Why: Because we have nothing better to do between now and Ryan Day’s first disappointment as head coach.
+ Ohio State is ranked No. 19/17 in the most recent Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls. The Buckeyes are 6-1 all-time when ranked in the No. 19 position and are 505-149 when ranked among the Top 25 in the AP poll. The Buckeyes were 10-5 as a ranked team in 2017-18. Ohio State was ranked No. 17 in the final game of the season vs. No. 6 Gonzaga a year ago in the NCAA Tournament (L, 90-84).
+ Duane Washington Jr. is 15-of-34 from 3-point range (.421) in eight appearances. Kyle Young is 23-for-33 shooting this season (.697), Jaedon LeDee is 10-for-14 from the field in seven appearances. Ohio State ranks 16th in 3-point percentage defense (.265), 18th in scoring defense (60.1 ppg), 21st in field goal percentage defense (.372), and 23rd in scoring margin (+18.3).
+ The Buckeyes did not give up a single 3-pointer against Minnesota. The Golden Gophers finished 0-13 from 3-point range. The last time the team kept an opponent to zero 3-pointers was when Lamar went 0-12 (12/20/11). The last Big Ten opponent held without a 3 was Michigan March 3, 1992 (0-10).
The Fighting Illini
What You Should Know
+ Illinois looks to snap an 11-game losing streak against Top 25 teams, aiming for its first win over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 20 Iowa, 68-66, in the 2016 Big Ten Tournament Second Round (March 10, 2016).
+ Illinois ranks 22nd in the NCAA in 3-pointers, making an average of 10.3 per game, and is 23rd nationally in 3-point field goal percentage with 40.4 percent shooting (82-203).
+ Looking beyond its 2-6 record, Illinois had chances to take the lead down the stretch in three of its losses.
+ The Illini have been filling it up from 3-point range to start the season. Illinois has made at least nine threes in six of its first eight games, averaging 10.3 treys per game to rank second in the Big Ten and 22nd in the NCAA. The Illini tied a school record with 16 threes during their last home game vs. Mississippi Valley State (Nov. 25). Illinois is shooting 40.4 percent from behind the arc, ranking third in the B1G and 23rd nationally. Illinois’ total of 82 three-pointers is its most through eight games since opening the 2012-13 season with 90 treys.
+ The Illini defense ranks seventh in the nation in turnover rate, forcing turnovers on 24.8 percent of opponent possessions on the season. Opponents are averaging 17.9 turnovers against the Illini, with the Illini “D” leading the Big Ten and ranking 16th in the NCAA in forced turnovers per game. Illinois is currently averaging 18.9 points off turnovers, outscoring foes by 5.3 points per game in that category.
+ Sophomore Trent Frazier is picking up right where he left off last season. The highest-scoring freshman for the Illini in nearly 20 years at 12.5 ppg, Frazier now leads the team and ranks 19th in the Big Ten in scoring at 14.7 ppg.
+ Coach Underwood extended a scholarship offer to Giorgi Bezhanishvili after his first time watching him in action last season at The Patrick School. The European product was in his first season in the United States and at the time was an off the radar recruit overshadowed by more heralded teammates. But the skill and versatility that the Illini coaching staff saw right away has carried over to his rookie year on campus. Bezhanishvili has started all eight games and is averaging 10.0 points and 4.9 rebounds on 50 percent shooting. He has scored in double figures four times, with a breakout performance with 17 points against Gonzaga and led by a career-high 22 points at Notre Dame. Over the last two games, Bezhanishvili is averaging 18.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 61 percent from the field (14-23).
+ Illinois leads the overall series vs. Ohio State 102-77. The teams will not play on either the Illinois or Ohio State campus this year. Ohio State is 45-41 in Columbus while the Illini own a 60-26 advantage in Champaign. On neutral courts, the series is tied 1-all. Ohio State is 29-21 all-time vs. Big Ten teams on neutral courts. The Buckeyes last played a league team on a neutral court during conference regular-season play earlier this calendar year when Ohio State defeated Minnesota at Madison Square Garden, 67-49, Jan. 20, 2018. As a ranked team in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, Ohio State owns a 27-11 record in the series. When ranked, Ohio State has won the last five games vs. Illinois and 17 of the last 19. Overall, the Buckeyes have won seven of the last eight games vs. the Illini and 13 of the last 16 meetings.