Between now and the end of the season, the Buckeyes also will travel to Penn State, the only Big Ten team to beat them, then to No. 20 MI, and will conclude the regular season at Assembly Hall against Indiana.
The Illini have their first Big Ten winning streak of the Brad Underwood and now head out on the road to take on one of the biggest surprises in the country in the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes travel to Purdue, which is unbeaten in the Big Ten, on Wednesday.
Looking for its first road win against a ranked opponent in almost four years, IL got off to a strong start against No. 17 Ohio State on Sunday.
“They are clearly a team that can reach a Final Four and win a national championship”, Holtmann said. We could get another high-scoring series this weekend. “We’ve got a lot of confidence in Anthony, so I don’t think we were shocked by that”, Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said.
With Jason Nolf (knee) out at least for the dual-meet season, Ohio State’s Micah Jordan took down Penn State’s Bo Pipher 11 times and his tech fall gave the Buckeyes that 10-point lead at the break.
Ohio State’s key players have proven themselves a force to be reckoned with, as a handful of Buckeyes approach some huge milestones.
February could be challenging. Were they looking ahead to Purdue? Friday’s game begins at 6:35 p.m. and is televised by the Big Ten Network.
“They have a better feel of what the game is going to be like on this small sheet”, Johnson said heading into todays’ rematch. They really needed this game if they wanted any hope at making a run to the NCAA tournament.
“If our guys aren’t ready, then that’s on them and me and us”.
Forward Keita Bates-Diop, an IL native who is the Buckeyes’ leading scorer (19.6 points per game) and rebounder (8.8 per game), insists that it doesn’t matter where IL resides in the standings. But we have to finish.
“It should be a pretty big hostile environment, so we’ll be prepared for anything”.
“Being at Rec Hall, with everyone right on top, it’s even better than the BJC match”, he said. “They are just built and put together that well, and they play that well together”. We’ll have to be very sharp in our passing and our cutting and our moving. As a unit they shot over 56 percent from the field while forcing an impressive 25 turnovers.
IL regained the lead in the second half behind Alstork and freshman guard Trent Frazier.
“In the last minute you just have to be solid”, Underwood said. “It’s about shooters and passers, to be quite honest”.
It's the Dual of the Century (of the week) and tickets prices to see #2 Ohio State take on #1 Penn State at Rec Hall in University Park, PA, this Saturday are going for prices not seen for a wrestling match in recent memory.