Ohio State and Florida State each has managed to hold its own while facing some early tests during the first month of the season.
Both teams will try to keep it up when the No. 15 Buckeyes host the 21st-ranked Seminoles on Wednesday night as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
This is one of two matchups between ranked teams in the Challenge, along with Tuesday’s contest between No. 9 Michigan State and 10th-ranked North Carolina.
While Ohio State (5-1) is 2-5 all-time in the event, Florida State is 6-4 in the Challenge but 0-4 all-time against the Buckeyes. Ohio State won 90-65 in the teams’ last meeting during the 2000 Great Alaska Shootout.
History aside, both clubs have played well through the first three weeks of the season, with each looking for its fourth consecutive victory in this contest.
“Florida State is a very talented, long and athletic team - (its) size reminds me a lot of North Carolina,” Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. “It’ll be a great focus point for our guys.”
Ohio State is coming off a 110-47 rout of St. Francis, Pa., on Saturday for its third straight win since losing 77-73 to then-No. 6 North Carolina in the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden.
The Buckeyes, who also beat then-No. 13 California 76-70 in the same tournament, had little trouble in its last contest, shooting 62.9 percent and scoring their most points since posting 121 against George Mason in 1995.
Jeremie Simmons scored 18 points off the bench, Jon Diebler added 17 and star Evan Turner had 16 with eight rebounds and five assists while topping the 1,000-point mark for his career.
Though Ohio State hopes to rely on its solid depth, it will likely need the 6-foot-7 Turner to continue his strong start in order to get the best of the Seminoles (6-1), who won the Old Spice Classic title over the weekend.
The junior is among the Big Ten leaders with 19.8 points and 12.8 rebounds per contest and has etched himself in school history with his 1,004 total points in just over two seasons.
“It’s obviously a great thing for him and he moves into some great company with all of the outstanding players that have come through Ohio State,” Matta said of Turner’s milestone.
Florida State, however, has a star of its own in sophomore forward Chris Singleton, who averages 12.3 points with 8.1 rebounds and was named MVP of the Old Spice Classic.
While Singleton had 18 points and 10 rebounds, it was 7-foot-1 Solomon Alabi who hit a baseline jumper with 11.9 seconds left to help the Seminoles rally for a 57-56 win over Marquette in the title game Sunday.
“Solomon is very capable and I have tremendous confidence in him,” coach Leonard Hamilton said. “I had all the confidence in the world.”
That victory followed tournament wins over Iona and Alabama to help the Seminoles bounce back from a 68-52 loss at Florida - now ranked 13th - on Nov. 24. Florida’s State successful weekend in Orlando helped it return to the Top 25 for the first time since being ranked 16th in the final poll of last season.
The 6-foot-9 Singleton averaged 15.0 points and 7.6 boards in the tournament for the Seminoles, who held their opponents to 37.2 percent shooting and 52.0 points per contest during the event.