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Ohio State’s Jamari Wheeler, Meechie Johnson Game-Time Decisions Tonight At Minnesota

Wheeler has never missed a game in his career, while Johnson has been sidelined with a facial injury.

Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann announced during his Wednesday afternoon media availability that both fifth-year senior guard Jamari Wheeler and freshman guard Meechie Johnson will be game-time decisions for tonight’s game at Minnesota.

“(They) are both day-to-day,” Holtmann said. “Jamari has had an ankle/foot injury that has bothered him. He has been unable to practice, so those guys are both day-to-day and will be game-time decisions.”

Wheeler, who joined the program this offseason as a transfer from Penn State, is averaging 7.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 16 starts this season. He’s never missed a game in his career, which spans 143 games across five seasons.

Johnson, meanwhile, is averaging 6.6 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists off the bench but has missed the last three after suffering a facial injury in practice ahead of the Jan. 13 trip to Wisconsin. If he plays tonight, he’ll have to wear a protective mask.

“He looks like a villain, which I like it. It gives him a nastiness to him,” Holtmann said during his radio show on Monday afternoon. “It’s an interesting thing he’s got to wear. I think it affects his breathing as much as anything, but we haven’t had a chance to play enough to see how it’s going to affect his vision.”

If Wheeler and Johnson are unavailable for tonight’s game, which tips off at 8 p.m. on ESPN, fifth-year senior Jimmy Sotos will likely get the start. He’s averaging 2.2 points, 1.8 assists and 0.9 rebounds in 11 games as a reserve, but will need to have a bigger impact if the Buckeyes are going to get their first win over the Golden Gophers in Minnesota during the Holtmann era.

"I think you really try and focus on who you do have and the strengths of those guys, the abilities of those guys, and not let the other stuff mess with your head a little bit," Holtmann said on Wednesday. “That’s what we’ve tried to do. We’ve not been able to have a consistent group practicing here in the last week, but I think we’re getting to that point.

“I don’t think this is going to be a long-term thing with Jamari. We’re going to do our best – he’s a tough kid – not to let this be a long-term thing. But it makes you focus on, ‘Okay, what do we have? What can we count on us having? And then how do we develop a game plan and a rotation around that?’”

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