The No. 3 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0) are hosting the UMKC Kangaroos as part of the on-campus portion of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament.
It’s looking like a bit of a one-sided matchup on paper and could easily get out of hand when the two teams take the floor.
However, Buckeyes fans couldn’t be more excited, as their team returns home for the first time since an 82-60 drubbing of Albany back on November 11. The team has been participating in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame-sponsored tournament since Nov. 17 and is slowly marching toward a victory.
Let’s take a look at where you can watch this impending contest between OSU and UMKC, check the injury report, highlight some players to watch and much more.
When: Friday, November 23 at 6 p.m. ET
Where: Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Watch: Big Ten Network
Live Stream: BTN2Go
Injury Report (via USA Today)
G Amedeo Della Valle, QST, Ankle
No major injuries to report
Ohio State Player to Watch: Deshaun Thomas
The junior forward has finally earned his chance to shine in 2012 and is making the absolute most of it.
Through three games, the 6’7” Indiana native has averaged a ridiculous 25.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steal. Those are phenomenal numbers and represent a huge jump from his sophomore season, even though he’s getting just five minutes more per contest compared to last year.
Thomas will be instrumental in any Buckeyes victory against the Kangaroos for a simple reason: his scoring. Ohio State needs to make baskets to win a game, and no one on the team is better suited for that than Deshaun Thomas.
We expect the young man to come out hot and put together yet another amazing performance to continue his eye-popping 2012-13 campaign.
UMKC Player to Watch: Kirk Korver
The ‘Roos leading point-getter is junior Kirk Korver, who happens to be the younger brother of Atlanta Hawks star Kyle Korver.
Much like Kyle, Kirk has a magnificent touch from three-point range and isn’t afraid to pull up from beyond the arc, even if he has to play as a big for UMKC.
With Korver scoring 12.3 points, grabbing 3.0 rebounds and dishing 0.5 assists, the Buckeyes must focus on locking him down from behind the three-point line and keeping him off the scoreboard. Due to his poor rebounding and passing ability, he’s not going to hurt them in other ways.
If Korver gets hot from deep, it could put the Buckeyes on upset alert.
Prediction: Ohio State 82, UMKC 49
This is going to be a massive blowout and the Kangaroos have no realistic chance at surprising the Buckeyes this Friday.
Which team will win?
We expect Deshaun Thomas, Aaron Craft, Lenzelle Smith Jr. and the rest of the Ohio State studs to just tee off on this undermanned and outgunned program. It’s going to be borderline unfair at times and perhaps even cringe-worthy for the UMKC fans tuning in.
However, OSU is simply too good to even let a second-rate program like the ‘Roos keep this close for long past the tip-off.