Ohio State basketball prepares for first of final two home games

Following the massive upset at Michigan State, the Ohio State basketball team returns home to face Nebraska in the first of their final two home games this season. 

Feb 18, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes guard Bruce Thornton (2) looks to score
Feb 18, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes guard Bruce Thornton (2) looks to score / Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio State basketball team ended their long 17-game road losing streak on Sunday in a dramatic win over Michigan State. After a few days off, the Ohio State basketball team gets their first home game since upsetting No. 2 Purdue tonight against Nebraska.

Tonight’s match-up with the Cornhuskers will be the front end of a two-game home stretch for the Buckeyes to finish out their home games for the season. 

The meeting in Columbus tonight between Nebraska and Ohio State is huge for Nebraska in the Big Ten standings. As we get closer to the Big Ten Tournament, Nebraska has reeled off four wins in a row and sits 4th in the Big Ten standings. It’s huge for the Cornhuskers to stay in the top four as it gives them a double-bye in the Big Ten tournament. 

Ohio State, however, still has time to improve their seeding in the Big Ten Tournament as well. They sit  13th in the Big Ten standings at the moment, but only a game out of the 10th spot. If the Buckeyes were to make a run in the tournament, the 10th spot would give them an extra day of rest compared to being outside of the top 10 where they would have to win five games in five days.

Can the Buckeyes stay hot and win their third home game in a row with another huge win in the Big Ten?

Key to victory for Ohio State basketball

The last time these two teams squared off in Lincoln, Nebraska came away with an 83-69 win over the Buckeyes in which they dominated for most of the game. The Cornhuskers shot a blistering 14 of 27 from three in the game.

So that makes the key for this game simple: defend on the perimeter and take away the three.

It has been a consistent theme in most Ohio State games on the defensive end with their inability to defend on the perimeter. They give up wide-open looks, and their rotations aren't quick enough when closing out on shooters. Nebraska shoots the most threes among any team in the Big Ten, and they have the 6th best percentage at 36.1% as a team from deep.

Nebraska's best three-point shooter is Keisei Tominaga and he shoots 37% from beyond the arc. Tominaga takes the most threes of anyone on Nebraska's team, and he's constantly moving without the ball hunting for open looks. After only having five points in the first meeting against the Buckeyes, Tominaga will certainly be looking to put on a show tonight in the Schott.

Something to Watch For

What is the status of Jamison Battle's ankle?

As you may remember, senior transfer Jamison Battle had to miss last Sunday's game at Michigan State due to an ankle injury. It will be a big loss for the Buckeyes if he is unable to go again as he is the best shooter in the conference.

However, Interim Coach Jake Diebler seemed optimistic earlier this week when asked about Jamison Battle's ankle: "Jamison's progressing well. We'll see as it gets a little closer, but I don't anticipate any issues there."

As of this afternoon, it has not yet been reported if Battle is unable to go and miss a second consecutive game for the Ohio State basketball team. Battle is the team's second-leading scorer at 14.2 points per game, and he leads the Big Ten conference in three-point percentage (44%) and three-pointers made per game (2.7). The Buckeyes will need his shooting ability if he is good to go tonight against Nebraska.

Next. Ohio State women's basketball team has bigger things in mind. Ohio State women's basketball team has bigger things in mind. dark

The Ohio State basketball team will look to build off their win over Michigan State and avenge their previous loss to the Cornhuskers in January. According the FanDuel, the Buckeyes are a four-point favorite to win tonight against Nebraska. Tip-off is set for 6:30 pm tonight on FS1.