Tonight at 9:30 p.m. the Ohio State men’s basketball team will take on the Duke Blue Devils at Value City Arena. It’s a match-up that will pit no. 2 against no. 3 and the winningest coach of all time, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, against a strong up-and-comer in the Buckeyes’ Thad Matta.
The game is part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the annual event that until recently hasn’t been much of a challenge for the ACC. The ACC won the first ten Challenges, but the Big Ten eked out the last two and hopes to make it three in a row. As always, there are many intriguing games, including Wisconsin at North Carolina, Miami at Purdue, and Indiana at N.C. State.
The most anticipated contest, in Columbus at least, is Duke at Ohio State. Despite the constant rain over the past few days, OSU students have camped out so they can get into Value City Arena early and start raising a ruckus. Duke has beaten several ranked teams already, won the Maui Invitational, and has five scorers averaging in double figures — guards Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins, and Austin Rivers and forwards Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly. The Blue Devils have the size — and three towering Plumlees — to bang down low with Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, and William Buford, Aaron Craft, and the OSU back court will have their hands full with the Duke guards. Ohio State will have to play tough defense to stop the high-scoring Duke attack and will need to be aggressive in rebounding and keeping Duke from getting second shots.
Year-in and year-out, Duke is the premier program in America, and they are used as a kind of measuring rod for other programs. This year is no different. We’ll have a better sense of how Ohio State sizes up after tonight’s game.