Nebraska Cornhuskers have historical game on deck vs Ohio State

Quite a bit is going into the Nebraska Cornhuskers game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on Thursday night.
Feb. 10, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; 
Ohio State Buckeyes guard Roddy Gayle Jr. (1) and Ohio State
Feb. 10, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes guard Roddy Gayle Jr. (1) and Ohio State / Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch /

The Nebraska Cornhuskers game against Ohio State has some historical implications for a couple of different reasons. The first of them is that the Huskers are playing on February 29 for just the 8th time in school history.

The bad news here is that the program has not exactly had a ton of success when they've played Leap Year Games before. Though, in their defense, it's been a while since they've had an opportunity to right that record. Nebraska is 1-6 on February 29 with their first game being a 32-10 loss to Minnesota in 1908. The 2012 53-62 loss to Iowa was their last game of this kind.

Of course, this season seems to be all about the Nebraska Cornhuskers breaking the mold. That's why the game at 5:30pm on Thursday is big. Of course, it's also big because a win seemingly has Hoiberg's Heroes punching their ticket into "lock" status for the NCAA Tournament according to Jon Rothstein. You have to go back to the Danny Nee days for the last time that happened in February.

Ohio State's season so far

The 2023-24 season has been a weird one for the Buckeyes. OSU fired their head coach two weeks ago and have mostly been playing better basketball since.

Ohio State has wins against Purdue and Michigan State in the three games since Chris Holtmann was canned. Of course, they also have a loss to the same Minnesota team that was manhandled by the Huskers last weekend.

The Buckeyes are sitting at 16-12 on the year and aren't looking at an NCAA Tournament berth, but the NIT could be in their future, especially if they upset the Huskers tonight.

Nebraska Cornhuskers players to watch

Rienk Mast: The last time these two teams did battle, Mast scored a career high 34 points thanks in large part to 6-of-8 three-pointers. He also had 10 rebounds, 2 blocks and 4 assists. What's he going to do for an encore?

Keisei Tominaga: Nebraska Cornhuskers will be keeping a close eye on Keisei for the opposite reasons as Mast. Keisei played just 14 minutes and scored just 5 points. He was effectively benched for the second half last time he faced Ohio State. He'll be looking for some redemption.

The month of February: Technically not a player for the Huskers, though it might as well be. The Huskers are 10-4 in February over the last two years. Will the extra day lead to an extra win or an extra loss?

Ohio State players to watch

Bruce Thornton: The OSU guard was really the only member of his team who had a "good" game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. He scored 16 points and dished out 6 assists, while also nabbing 2 steals.

Felix Okpara: The 6-foot-11 center leads OSU in rebouds, but he was neutralized by the Nebraska Cornhuskers. He had just 6 points and 1 rebound the last time the two teams met.