The Northwestern Wildcats will not have the chance to ease into Big Ten play in 2011. On Wednesday night they'll open their conference schedule with one of the most daunting match ups in college basketball: on the road vs. the No. 2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. A victory would undoubtedly be one of the biggest wins in program history, and would set Northwestern on a path to their first NCAA Tournament birth.
The story of the game will be the play of Jared Sullinger. The Ohio State power forward is maybe the best player in the country, and based on how Ohio State looked in two games when Sullinger was out, maybe the most indispensable. As Along the Olentangy points out, Northwestern has nobody that, on paper at least, should be able to guard Sullinger, and if he gets his offense, it could be a long night for the Wildcats. Northwestern's best shot may be to swarm Sullinger and make Ohio State's jump shooters win the game, and as noted by Sippin On Purple, the Buckeyes don't shoot as well as they did last season.
Game date/time: Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011; 4:30 p.m. CT
Location: Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WGN 720 AM
Odds: Ohio State favored by 16.5
For more on Northwestern, visit Sippin' On Purple, SB Nation's Northwestern Wildcats blog. For more Ohio State, head over to Along the Olentangy, SB Nation's Ohio State Buckeyes blog. For all your college basketball needs, visit SB Nation's college basketball news hub.