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Northwestern Vs. Ohio State: Wildcats Look To Get Off The Bubble

The Northwestern Wildcats (17-11, 7-9) may be able to get on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble on Wednesday night, but they'll have to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes (23-6, 11-5) first.

Feb 21, 2012; Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats forward John Shurna (24) reacts after hitting a three-point shot during the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Giglio-US PRESSWIRE
Feb 21, 2012; Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats forward John Shurna (24) reacts after hitting a three-point shot during the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Giglio-US PRESSWIRE

If the Northwestern Wildcats are as close as they've ever been in school history to making the NCAA Tournament, and if a victory at home over the Ohio State Buckeyes can more or less secure their spot in this year's field, then Wednesday night's game may merely be the biggest in the history of Northwestern's basketball program. Adding to the pressure for Northwestern star John Shurna is that it will be his final game at home as a Wildcat, and though he'll leave as one of the most decorated players in program history either way, a triumphant victory over the Buckeyes to cap his career in front of the home crowd would be something close to storybook.


Related: NIT Tournament 2012 Schedule And Bracket

But, of course, it won't be easy. The Buckeyes steamrolled the Wildcats by 23 when the teams met earlier this season in Columbus, and Shurna will need help in countering a Buckeyes team that features many more weapons. In the last meeting, the Buckeyes were decimated down low by Jared Sullinger, who tallied 17 points and 14 rebounds, and were bombarded from above by guard William Buford, who shot 5-7 from three on his way to 28 points. Shurna, in that game, scored only 11 points on 5-18 shooting, and the Wildcats as a team only shot 32% from the field. They figure to do much better this time around, but whether it will be enough remains to be seen.

Game date/time: Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 7:30 p.m. CT

Location: Welsh-Ryan Arena, Evanston, Ill.

TV: BTN

Odds: Ohio State by 7

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.