“I am trying to work on my guarding skills, developing a perimeter shot while still working on my stuff in the post. I thought that one aspect of my game would get me there, but I had a skewed way of thinking.”
Ohio State basketball is set to make its return on Wednesday when the Buckeyes take on Cincinnati. After a strong first season from head coach Chris Holtmann — in which he led the team to the second round of the NCAA tournament — Ohio State is looking to continue its winning ways this season. Micah Potter just announced his transfer on Monday, which puts some more pressure on the coaching staff and some key players for the Buckeyes.
One of the players that will likely feel the impact the most is forward Kaleb Wesson. With Keita Bates-Diop moving on to the NBA and Jae’Sean Tate graduating, only Wesson and point guard C.J. Jackson are the only returning starters on the team. While Bates-Diop was the most powerful presence on the team in general and in the front court (followed by Tate), Wesson was third in that production.
He averaged just over 10 points a game and a hair under five rebounds. With Potter moving on from the program, the Buckeyes will likely lean on him early in the season to carry the load down low.
“We haven’t had those opportunities like we’ve had in the past to get guys in the game. But the best opportunity to get them is at practice — come show yourself and get going. You can see on special teams, [safety] Josh Proctor did a heck of a job for us on the opening kickoff or the second kickoff. And other guys coming on like Teradja Mitchell and some other guys are doing very good for us in special teams. Practice, special teams and an opportunity to play on defense.”
When Brendon White checked into the game for Jordan Fuller last Saturday, expectations were relatively low. But White made the most of his moment, helping lead the team in tackles (despite coming in during the second quarter) with 13, and leading the teams in tackles for loss, with two.
The immediate reaction following the game seemed to be the same across the board: Why is this guy not playing more? And while the coaching staff hasn’t said that White will start on Saturday for Ohio State, it does beg the question - who else is on the Buckeyes’ bench that shouldn’t be?
It also brings up an interesting point with the linebackers. On the defensive side of the ball, the linebacking unit has been one of the more disappointing ones this season. So is there a Brendon White-type of player waiting in the wings? It’s not clear, but what is clear is that there’s talent. Baron Browning, Justin Hilliard, and Teradja Mitchell have all shown some flashes of being able to make plays. It’s up to Bill Davis and the rest of the coaching staff to find the right mix over the final three games of the season.
“With the win, the Buckeyes’ chance to reach the playoff improved to 36 percent. If they had lost, it would have dropped to 4 percent, according to the Playoff Predictor.”
Ohio State’s 36-31 victory over Nebraska was never going to impress anyone. In fact, it was another “disappointing” outing against a lesser Big Ten foe. After laying an egg against Purdue and simply looking lackluster on both sides of the ball the past couple of weeks, the frustration is mounting in Columbus. Truth is, though, that a win is a win, and the Buckeyes only have one loss at this point with only three regular season games remaining. At Michigan State, at Maryland, and Michigan all loom.
If the Buckeyes want a shot at the Big Ten championship and the College Football Playoff, they’ll have to greatly improve over that time and of course win out. With the Wolverines looking like one of the top teams in the country, it certainly won’t be easy, and Michigan will likely enter The Game as the favorites.