The Ohio St. Buckeyes will play host to the in-state Miami (Ohio) RedHawks on Thursday night before taking a break for Christmas and then beginning their Big 10 conference schedule. The Buckeyes will have Jared Sullinger in the lineup, but he may not be necessary as the Buckeyes look to record their eleventh victory of the season.
The Buckeyes rolled to a 20-point victory over Lamar earlier in the week and, according to the Buckeyes' basketball experts over at Along The Olentangy, it seems the Redhawks' roster shouldn't provide too much of an issue for Thad Matta's team -- aside from one player, anyway.
Senior forward Julian Mavunga leads the Redhawks in scoring and rebounding, averaging 20 and 10 per game, respectively. Mavunga is such an integral part of Miami's success that Evansville, their last opponent, designed an entire defensive gameplan around stopping him, rotating five or six players throughout the game onto his defensive assignment.
A spate of injuries and transfers has decimated the Redhawk upper-classes, so they've been forced to lean upon youngsters. Six of the seven players in the rotation, besides Mavunga, are either freshmen or sophomores, Freshman guard Brian Sullivan has seen his playing time steadily increase, and he's made the most of it with improved performances. Against Evansville, he scored 18 points in a losing effort.
The game will be carried on the Big Ten Network at 8:30 p.m. It'll be the last chance to catch the Buckeyes in action until Dec. 28 when they play Northwestern to open conference play.