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Wooster basketball team to take on OSU Sunday

Sam Kuhn
Senior Sportswriter

This weekend, the Wooster men’s basketball team is taking its talents to Columbus, Oh. to play an exhibition game against Big Ten perennial powerhouse, The Ohio State University. The Buckeyes struggled at times last season and ended the season at 17-15 (7-11 Big Ten), but knocked off #16 Wisconsin late in the season. Following an exhibition against Kent State University, this will prove to be one of the toughest tests the Scots face in their young season.

The Wooster-Ohio State series was once a common thing, but the two have not matched up since 1939. Back in those days, the Scots and Buckeyes were meeting in the regular season and did so 11 times, the Buckeyes winning seven of those contests. In fact, the Scots’ last win against Ohio State came over 100 years ago in 1906, when Wooster beat the Buckeyes in a barnburner, winning 28-24.

In this year’s matchup, the Scots come in with a bit of a chip on their shoulder and something to prove to the rest of their schedule. As the winningest team of the 2000s, with a record of 455-92, it is only fitting that the Scots played with the big boys of Division I this preseason.

Ari Stern ’18 notes the difference in competition level, saying, “The competition is going to be something we have never faced before. They also have a new coaching staff, so I imagine they are motivated to make a statement. [Ohio State] provide[s] us with an opportunity to face top competition to prepare us for our season.”

On paper, Ohio State is a big Division I team; their average height stands at 6’4” and many of them eclipse the 200 pound mark. That being said, Eric Bulic ’19 noted that Wooster has put a sustained emphasis on rebounding.

“The game plan hasn’t changed too much,” Bulic said. “We just have been focusing on rebounding a little more than usual. Obviously they have a size advantage over us. To compensate for that, we have been extra tough on the glass.”

Along with an emphasis on the glass, Stern said, “[I]n general, I think the coaches want us to focus on ourselves and ensure that we are playing sound defense, executing our offense and are playing as a unit.”

Besides gameplan, as this game is merely a warm-up for the regular season, the basketball team doesn’t seem to have the jitters that come with scrimmaging a Power-5 Big Ten basketball team.

“[T]his is just a great opportunity for all of us who have dreamed of playing at the Division I level,” said Stern. “We are going to be playing in stadiums hopefully in front of big, rowdy crowds. That’s something all of us have dreamed of since we started playing basketball. It’s also going to be really exciting having our fans and our families at these games.”

Bulic also notes, “I think already we’ve grown as a team just by preparing for them this preseason. But being able to play against a Division I program like this is a huge advantage, just by the adversity we will face. It’s a great challenge when playing a team that competes at the highest level of college and a good chance to expose us to pressure situations.”

If you are still in need of tickets in Wooster’s block, they can be purchased at the Land-Grant Brewing Company (424 W. Town St., Columbus, Ohio 43215) from 2-3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $10 ($5 for Wooster students with ID). Tickets not in Wooster’s block will be available at the Schottenstein Center on Sunday. There will be a free shuttle to and from the game.

If you can’t make it down to Columbus this Sunday, the Scots open the regular season on Nov. 15 at 7:00 p.m. at home against Oberlin.

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