Busting Brackets

Ohio State vs. Minnesota: College Basketball game preview, prediction, TV schedule

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 23: Keita Bates-Diop
NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 23: Keita Bates-Diop /

The Buckeyes put their perfect Big Ten conference record on the line against Minnesota. Can the Golden Gophers come away with a much-needed road win?

TV Schedule: Saturday, Jan. 20, 12:00 p.m. ET, BTN

Arena: Williams Arena, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ohio State continues to be one of the pleasant surprises of the Big Ten conference this season. They currently hold a 16-4 overall record and have won all seven of their conference games thus far.

The Buckeyes also picked up a 71-65 victory over Northwestern on the road earlier this week, so the Buckeyes are really playing well. They are currently tied atop the conference standings with Purdue.

Minnesota (14-6, 3-4), on the other hand, still has a lot to prove after their recent roster changes. This is a team that still has a lot of potential, but the loss of Reggie Lynch and the uncertainty behind the return of third-leading scorer Amir Coffey (14.1 ppg) leaves a lot of things up in the air for the Golden Gophers.

After dropping three straight games since the departures of Lynch and Coffey, the Gophers picked up a nice overtime victory over Penn State on Jan. 15, 95-84, where they received 24 points from Dupree McBrayer (10.4 ppg). This may be a game that could get the Gophers back on track and back in the NCAA tournament talk.

A big key to this game will be how the Gophers will slow down Buckeyes star Keita Bates-Diop. This will be a very tough matchup for the Gophers, especially since they do not have the rim protection of Lynch anymore.

Bates-Diop currently leads the Big Ten in scoring at 19.8 points per game on 51.7% shooting. He also adds 8.8 rebounds per game, which is third in the Big Ten. He is really having a breakout year for the Buckeyes and is one of the key reasons for their success.

Next: Where do these teams rank in current bracketology?

Because of the play of Bates-Diop and the recent success of the Buckeyes, it is expected that they will come away with the road victory. But, Minnesota is typically very tough on the road, so expect a closer game.

Prediction: Ohio State 75, Minnesota 68