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Get caught up on the numbers before Ohio State opens Big Ten men’s basketball play

The Buckeyes will host a feisty Penn State team on Saturday.

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NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After a thrilling and thorough butt-kicking by the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes against the No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels on Wednesday night 74-49, it is time for Chris Holtmann’s squad to temporarily focus on Big Ten foes.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, the Penn State Nittany Lions will visit Value City Arena at 12 noon ET. The Nittany Lions are 7-1 on the early season and blew out Wake Forest 76-54 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge this week.

Get tickets to Ohio State’s Big Ten opener against Penn State!

So, we’ve got a crash course for you on the stats that you’ll need to know about the Big Ten season as Ohio State preps for conference play.

The Buckeyes are currently the third highest ranked team in the AP Poll, but after the Michigan Wolverines lost to the Louisville Cardinals 58-43 on Tuesday night, the Wolverines will fall, so only the Maryland Terrapins sit above the Buckeyes in the rankings.

However, in Ken Pomeroy’s revered advanced analytics, the Buckeyes are the second-ranked team in the country, behind only Louisville.

Check out all of the B1G KenPom Rankings:

Big Ten Ken Pomeroy Rankings | Dec. 5

National Rank Team W-L AdjEM AdjO AdjO Rank AdjD AdjT Luck SOS AdjEM SOS OppO SOS OppD NCSOS AdjEM
National Rank Team W-L AdjEM AdjO AdjO Rank AdjD AdjT Luck SOS AdjEM SOS OppO SOS OppD NCSOS AdjEM
2 Ohio St. 8-0 27.45 110.5 17 83.1 65.8 0.006 -1.47 100.1 101.6 -1.47
4 Michigan St. 5-3 25.24 114.9 1 89.6 70.3 -0.072 9.94 105.3 95.4 9.94
5 Purdue 5-3 23.8 110 21 86.2 63.4 -0.134 5.59 101 95.4 5.59
7 Maryland 9-0 23.16 111.8 8 88.6 72.3 0.008 1.37 99.5 98.2 1.37
13 Michigan 7-1 20.59 107.7 38 87.1 70.1 0.092 7.69 104.5 96.8 7.69
20 Indiana 8-0 19.23 109.5 24 90.2 70.8 0.011 -7.17 97.1 104.3 -7.17
23 Penn St. 7-1 18.71 106.7 46 88 73.4 -0.038 -0.03 99 99 -0.03
39 Iowa 6-2 15.64 111.9 6 96.2 70.8 -0.009 1.03 99.8 98.7 1.03
44 Illinois 6-2 14.3 108.6 30 94.3 70.1 -0.005 -3.39 99.9 103.3 -3.39
60 Wisconsin 4-4 11.92 102.5 112 90.6 63.1 -0.09 4.1 104.5 100.4 4.1
66 Minnesota 4-4 11.48 105.4 65 93.9 67 -0.201 3.48 101.1 97.6 3.48
76 Rutgers 6-2 10.09 103.1 102 93 69.5 0.014 -7.25 95.8 103.1 -7.25
98 Northwestern 4-3 6.92 101.4 138 94.5 68.8 -0.043 -0.82 97.8 98.7 -0.82
146 Nebraska 4-4 0.85 99.9 168 99 73.3 0.053 -2.74 96.5 99.2 -2.74

On the more traditional side of the statistical equation, it is easy to see that Ohio State’s smothering defense is leading the way for them. The infusion of young, athletic players; the transfer of C.J. Walker; and the slimmed down Kaleb Wesson 2.0 has allowed the Buckeyes to lead the B1G in points allowed per game so far this season.

On the offensive end, the Buckeyes are in the middle of the pack thus far. There have been times in game in which they have gone on extended scoring droughts, but have been buoyed by their defense keeping games close enough for them to eventually figure out how to score again and then pull away.

Big Ten Team Scoring Ranks

Team Offensive PPG Rank Offensive PPG Defensive PPG Rank Defensive PPG
Team Offensive PPG Rank Offensive PPG Defensive PPG Rank Defensive PPG
Illinois 1 87.1 13 69.8
Indiana 2 85.6 8 63.6
Iowa 6 79.1 12 69
Maryland 5 80 3 61.1
Michigan 8 77.5 10 65
Michigan State 4 80.1 11 67.5
Minnesota 11 72.4 7 63
Nebraska 10 73.3 14 75
Northwestern 13 68.3 9 63.9
Ohio State 7 77.8 1 52.3
Penn State 3 80.6 5 61.8
Purdue 12 70.3 2 56.1
Rutgers 9 73.9 4 61.3
Wisconsin 14 66.5 6 62.6

OSU’s +25.5 scoring margin leads the league by 3.5 points, as does the fact that they are allowing opponents only a measly 32.2 shooting percentage from the floor. The Terps are in second in the conference at 36.5 percent.

While the Buckeyes’ offense hasn’t been great yet, they have been pretty stellar from outside the newly extended three-point arc. Holtmann’s team is shooting 39.6 percent from downtown, second only to Michigan who is at 39.7. Conversely, OSU’s guards are limiting opponents to just 28.4 percent from distance, second in the conference behind only Purdue.

Check out more of the Big Ten statistical team leaders


As evidenced above, the Buckeyes’ early season success has been due to a complete team effort, but they have had players stepping up into important rolls on the team. In many ways, junior forward Kyle Young has been the team’s MVP in the early season notching two double-doubles early on, and almost single-handedly winning the season-opener against the Cincinnati Bearcats.

True-freshman guard D.J. Carton has jumped right into the college game and is averaging in double-digits already, while sophomore Duane Washington Jr. has been obscenely hot from downtown, ranking second in the Big Ten hitting 51.9 percent of his three-point attempts.

After fracturing his eye socket earlier in the season, the team’s lone senior Andre Wesson is working back into form as the team’s on-court leader.

Because the Buckeyes are so well-balanced, they don’t yet have anyone making waves in the Big Ten scoring race. Kaleb Wesson is the highest OSU player on the charts in a tie for 24th. But, that underscores how much of a team effort it has been for Holtmann’s squad in the early season.

Big Ten Scoring Leaders | Dec. 5

B1G Rank Player, Team GP FG 3FG FT POINTS AVG./G
B1G Rank Player, Team GP FG 3FG FT POINTS AVG./G
1 Luka Garza, Iowa 8 63 9 25 160 20
2 Lamar Stevens, Penn State 8 51 6 32 140 17.5
Daniel Oturu, Minnesota 8 55 4 26 140 17.5
4 Cassius Winston, Michigan State 8 45 17 30 137 17.1
5 Kofi Cockburn, Illinois 8 49 0 32 130 16.3
6 Anthony Cowan, Maryland 9 45 17 39 146 16.2
7 Devonte Green, Indiana 5 27 14 11 79 15.8
Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois 8 50 9 17 126 15.8
9 Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana 8 40 0 44 124 15.5
10 Isaiah Livers, Michigan 8 46 22 8 122 15.3
11 Nate Reuvers, Wisconsin 8 44 7 24 119 14.9
12 Jahaad Proctor, Purdue 8 42 9 25 118 14.8
Andres Feliz, Illinois 8 39 2 38 118 14.8
14 Marcus Carr, Minnesota 8 40 13 22 115 14.4
15 Justin Smith, Indiana 8 43 4 24 114 14.3
16 Jon Teske, Michigan 8 43 6 19 111 13.9
17 Myreon Jones, Penn State 8 37 18 17 109 13.6
Jalen Smith, Maryland 9 42 4 34 122 13.6
19 Ron Harper Jr., Rutgers 8 40 7 19 106 13.3
Xavier Tillman, Michigan State 8 41 3 21 106 13.3
21 Geo Baker, Rutgers 8 36 13 17 102 12.8
22 Aljami Durham, Indiana 8 35 11 20 101 12.6
Miller Kopp, Northwestern 7 30 14 14 88 12.6
24 Dachon Burke, Nebraska 8 33 11 22 99 12.4
Cam Mack, Nebraska 8 35 7 22 99 12.4
Haanif Cheatham, Nebraska 8 38 5 18 99 12.4
Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State 8 28 9 34 99 12.4
28 Gabe Kalscheur, Minnesota 8 33 22 9 97 12.1
29 Payton Willis, Minnesota 8 34 23 5 96 12
30 Zavier Simpson, Michigan 8 39 8 9 95 11.9

In addition to Washington’s three-point prowess, Kaleb Wesson is ninth in the conference in rebounding (9.1), seventh in free throw shooting (79.1%), and 10th in blocks with 1.6 per game. Young would be leading the league in field goal percentage at 65.8 percent, but he doesn’t have enough attempts to qualify for the lead yet.

But that’s it. That’s the extent of the top-10 individual rankings for KenPom’s second-rated team in the country.

Check out more of the Big Ten individual statistical leaders.

As our old friend Patrick Mayhorn said on Twitter during the UNC victory, that even though it might be ahead of schedule and to a higher degree than anticipated, the team is playing exactly how Holtmann envisioned it.