The No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten) will take on the Iowa Hawkeyes (10-4, 6-4 Big Ten) on Thursday in a highly-anticipated rematch between two of the NCAA’s highest-scoring teams.
Their last encounter took overtime to decide, with the Buckeyes ultimately prevailing, 84-82.
High scores shouldn’t come as a surprise to any Big Ten fan, especially those who follow the Buckeyes and/or Hawkeyes closely. They have two of the most potent offenses in the nation, with Ohio State averaging 82.3 points per game (10th in Division I) and Iowa averaging 88.5 points (second).
These lofty scoring figures are, of course, in part due to a fast pace of play. Per Her Hoop Stats, Ohio State and Iowa average roughly 77.2 possessions per 40 minutes, currently ranking in the nation’s top 20 in that metric.
Simply put: Expect points on Thursday, and lots of them.
An interesting wrinkle in this rematch is that Ohio State center Dorka Juhasz is expected to play after missing the teams’ previous meeting. The Buckeyes will need Juhasz — who is currently averaging 14.9 points and 11.4 rebounds per game — to play big against Iowa’s Monika Czinano, who is scoring 20 points per game on better than 70-percent shooting from the field.
Meanwhile, Iowa freshman Caitlin Clark continues her spectacular season, posting a ridiculous stat line of 25.3 points, 6.6 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game. It’s unlikely that Ohio State will have a one-player answer for Clark, who currently leads all of Division I basketball in usage rate (38.4 percent). Instead, the Buckeyes will need a balanced scoring effort. Guards Madison Greene, Braxtin Miller and Jacy Sheldon all have the green light and can go for 20 points or more on any given night.
No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (10-4, 6-4 Big Ten)
When: Thursday, Feb. 4, at 6:00 p.m. ET
Where: Columbus, OH
How to watch: Big Ten Network Plus
Keys to the matchup: While stops may be few and far between in this one, both teams can help their own cause by hitting their foul shots. As exciting as January’s overtime game was, the Buckeyes’ performance was blemished by a 10-of-20 (50 percent) effort from the free-throw line — and Iowa wasn’t much better at 15-of-24 (62.5 percent). Both marks were well below the teams’ respective free-throw percentages (Ohio State 71.8 percent, Iowa 77.7 percent) this season. If the foul shooting is better this time around, it will go a long way in deciding the game’s winner.