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Northern Kentucky (0-4) at (4) Ohio State (4-1)



Saturday, December 1, 4:30 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Frank Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor

FACTS & STATS: Site: Value City Arena (18,809) -- Columbus, Ohio. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: N. Kentucky 0-0, Ohio St. 2-0. Away Record: N. Kentucky 0-1, Ohio St. 0-1. Neutral Record: N. Kentucky 0-3, Ohio St. 2-0. Conference Record: N. Kentucky 0-0, Ohio St. 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: Coming off their first loss of the season, the fourth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes face a quick turnaround as they play host to the Norse of Northern Kentucky on Saturday afternoon.

Northern Kentucky has yet to taste victory as a member of Division I, logging an 0-4 record, with all four games taking place away from home. The Norse, who play their basketball out of the Atlantic Sun Conference presently, dropped a 69-58 decision to Cal State Northridge in their most recent outing, and their last win over D-I opponent came on Jan. 14, 1984 when they defeated Tennessee State, 66-64.

Ohio State had opened the campaign with four straight wins, but the team faced its toughest test to date in Wednesday's Big Ten/ACC Challenge clash at No. 2 Duke, and fell to the Blue Devils in a 73-68 final. The Buckeyes are happy to be home following the setback, as they have won 34 straight non-conference game in Columbus, averaging nearly 90 ppg along the way. OSU will play its next eight games at home, and won't hit the road again until playing at Illinois on Jan. 5, 2013 in its second conference game on the schedule.

While this is the first official bout between Northern Kentucky and Ohio State, the two teams met in an exhibition game in 2004, with the Buckeyes posting a 77-67 victory.

A lack of offensive punch has been Northern Kentucky's issue through the first four games, as the team is averaging a paltry 56.8 ppg in hitting just 38.2 percent of its field goal attempts, which includes a 25.0 percent showing from three-point range. Eshaunte Jones (15.8 ppg) is the only double-digit scorer for the Norse, and he has nearly as many three-point baskets (11) as his closest teammate has attempts (16). The team hasn't played all that poorly on defense, allowing 66.5 ppg, despite permitting the opposition to connect on 50.0 percent of their total shots. Jones poured in 24 points on the strength of four treys, but his effort went for naught once again as NKU shot just 36.9 percent from the floor, missed 18 of its 24 long-range bombs, and suffered a crippling 22-4 deficit in points from the foul line as it dropped an 11-point decision to CS Northridge the last time out. Jalen Billups chipped in 10 points in the setback.

Poor shooting proved to the Buckeyes' undoing in the recent loss at Duke, as they hit just 33.8 percent of their field goal attempts, converting a mere 6- of-21 three-point tries along the way. Conversely, the Blue Devils made good on 47.1 percent of their total shots which was remarkable considering they were just 30 percent accurate in the first half. Deshaun Thomas led Ohio State with 16 points, while Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith, Jr. pitched in with 11 apiece. Thomas has been a man possessed for the Buckeyes in the first few weeks of the season, averaging 22.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Craft adds 13.6 points and 4.4 assists per outing, while Smith, Jr. contributes 11.4 points and 5.2 caroms per contest. The team as a whole is putting up 77.4 ppg in knocking down 47.7 percent of its field goal tries, which includes a rock- solid 43.2 percent effort from beyond the arc. At the other end, foes are netting only 60.4 ppg behind a .397 field goal percentage, and they are guilty of more than 13 turnovers per game while the Buckeyes cough it up only 9.0 times per tilt. OSU is +5.8 in rebounding margin.

The Norse have very little chance of keeping this game competitive let alone pulling off what would have to be considered one of the biggest upsets in recent memory. With that said, expect the Buckeyes to get out to a huge lead before emptying the bench in the second half.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio State 91, Northern Kentucky 49

12/01 10:33:15 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 3
CLB 4
Final
CAR 19
PIT 37
Final
NYY 5
TOR 2
Final
MIA 1
WAS 2
Final
BAL 2
BOS 3
Final
PIT 1
MIL 0
Final
ATL 2
NYM 10
Final
TAM 5
CWS 10
Final
MIN 2
CLE 7
Final
KAN 5
DET 2
Final
HOU 8
SEA 3
Final
CHC 5
LOS 8
Final
ANA 1
TEX 2
Final
OAK 8
PHI 6
Final
COL 8
ARI 3
Final
SDP 8
SFG 2
Final
STL 2
CIN 7
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
SEA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
PIT
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
HOU
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
STL
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
ARI
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
ANA
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
SFG
 
Final
CAR 3
CLB 4
Final
WAS 1
BUF 0
Final
CLB 4
STL 3
Final
EDM 3
CAL 1
Final
CAL 1
EDM 0
1:30pm Today
NYI
OTT
 
6:00pm Tonight
NYI
OTT
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
DET
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
NJD
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
TOR
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
MIN
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
STL
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
ANA
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
COL
 
10:00pm Tonight
ARI
LOS
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
ARI
 
Final
CLE 21
BAL 23
Final
STL 31
DAL 34
Final
DET 19
GBP 7
Final
NYG 30
HOU 17
Final
JAC 17
IND 44
Final
NOS 20
MIN 9
Final
NEP 16
OAK 9
Final
BUF 10
SDC 22
Final
CIN 33
TEN 7
Final
PHI 37
WAS 34
Final
ARI 23
SFX 14
Final
SEA 26
DEN 20
Final
MIA 15
KAN 34
Final
CAR 19
PIT 37
8:30pm Tonight
NYJ
CHI