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Could losing JaQuan Lyle be addition by subtraction for Ohio State basketball?

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Buckeye hoops fans are looking for any reason to be hopeful about the coming season.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“Addition by subtraction only works when the solution results in a net positive. Subtract Lyle and Loving from an Ohio State roster already light on talent and the Buckeyes are toying with a negative number.”

-Rob Oller, The Columbus Dispatch

Anyone who went along on the roller-coaster ride that was the 2016-2017 Ohio State men’s basketball season knows that it was a classic case of unrealized potential on both a micro and a macro level. Players showed signs of what they could do individually, but were never able to maintain their highest levels of play. In kind, eight of the team’s 15 losses on the season were by two or fewer possessions; a painful reminder of what might have been.

That is likely the reason that Rob Oller and Land-Grant’s own Matt Brown have at least a modicum of optimism about this fall’s squad. However, it cannot be denied that losing JaQuan Lyle, who was the team’s third leading scorer (11.4 points per game), is a bad thing on the court, but it is perhaps even more damaging to the team in a larger sense.

Failing to make the NCAA tournament two years in a row is bad enough for a program as successful and affluent as Ohio State, but when you begin to add in all of the drama that has surrounded the team in recent years (most notably the entire 2015 recruiting class transferring in less than a year and a half), and things don’t look good for head coach Thad Matta.

In his article, Oller posits that perhaps rumors of Matta’s increased frustration with entitled players, buoyed by an AAU system that makes them feel like stars far before it is deserved, has led him to prefer to coach “hard-working players;” even if that means that the amount of wins that Buckeye fans became accustomed to early in his tenure are a thing of the past.

Will Matta’s scrappy group of go-getters win enough to inspire affection from the OSU faithful? Only time will tell, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt if Matta and company could find a way to add a little more talent to the incoming recruiting class.

“It also wouldn’t be surprising to see defensive end Chase Young make his way to the field. Young could be a terror on the edge for the Buckeyes as early as this season.”

-Dan Murphy and Tom VanHaaren, ESPN.com

When a team has 19 players drafted into the NFL over two seasons, and yet continues to be projected to finish at or near the top of both conference and national rankings, you have to expect that there is a fairly solid pipeline of players ready to step up when opportunities present themselves.

With three Buckeye defensive backs taken in the first round of the NFL draft last month, there will definitely be holes to fill on the back end of the OSU defense. So newcomers like five-star recruits Shaun Wade (cornerback) and Jeffrey Okudah (safety), and top junior college corner Kendall Sheffield will be battling to solidify OSU’s burgeoning reputation as DBU.

It’s not just the secondary looking to fill some holes, either. The Buckeyes lost talent all over the field over the last two seasons. Luckily, as mentioned above, monster talents like DE Chase Young are already looking primed to take their shot at the college level.

“You could've given the students playing softball 100 guesses, and they wouldn't have figured out who the trainer was. He's not another Buckeye football player. He's not a coach, or even a graduate assistant.”

-Bill Landis, cleveland.com

When ESPN can have a “quarterback guru” as part of its biggest college football program, you know that personalized training has hit the mainstream. However, how often do you hear about a college student training other college students?

Sure, college students coaching and training high school athletes is nothing new, but to see someone like Ohio State’s Austen Rankin forging a career and reputation training his peers, who just so happen to be vital parts of one of the biggest college football programs in the country, that says a lot about his talent, hustle, and future.

So apparently now OSU is not only the go-to school for football players looking to make it big, but football trainers as well.

“Jim Delany thinks cities like Detroit, Minneapolis and other cities ‘should aspire’ to bid on future Big Ten basketball tournaments. ”

-Adam Rittenberg, ESPN.com

Nationwide Arena has been the host of NCAA Tournaments numerous times before, so that seems like the logical locale if Columbus were to bid on the tournament. Not only is Ohio the heart of it all in terms of state slogan, but with the ever-expanding Big Ten footprint, it would make sense for a fairly central CBus to play host. (Though Indianapolis is even more central, and its downtown is perfectly constructed for events like this.)

With the rapid growth in the Arena District over the past 10-15 years, there would be plenty of places for fans to stay, eat, and celebrate before, during, and after the tournament if it were to come to Central Ohio.

Just please don’t let it end up in the Schott. We’ve got a reputation to maintain.

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