clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ohio State has a chance to get back into the winning groove against Purdue

To get there, Chris Holtmann must coach well, and the Buckeyes’ mind-set has to be dialed in.

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

“I think the hardest part is making sure that your guys stay with the right mind-set, the right approach,” he said. “There is a degree of coaching a little bit different in this streak. I was probably more challenging to our guys when we were 12-1. We’re still coaching them and coaching them hard, as we should, but I think right now there’s a level of guys searching a little bit.”

- Chris Holtmann’s thoughts/coaching during the four-game losing streak on his call-in show, as reported by Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch

Things are not going well for the Ohio State Buckeyes men’s basketball team. After a hot 12-1 start, they’ve dropped four games in a row. Making things sting a little bit more than usual: all four losses have come against conference foes. And to make the sting swell even more: one of those losses happened on the road to Rutgers.

Zone defense has been applied to the Bucks, and combined with Kaleb Wesson getting into foul trouble, OSU has not been able to find anything resembling confident play. Chris Holtmann discussed that on his call-in show, and gave insight into the struggles a team goes through when things go from good to bad.

Talking about the mindset of the team is important. If the kids — and remember, the team is comprised of college students — are struggling with their confidence, that will translate into sloppy play, desperate shots and general clunkiness on the floor. We’ve seen that in recent games, the question now is how do they get out of the funk?

Holtmann said that the team was coached hard during the 12-1 start, and now things have mellowed a bit with the losses piling up. Personally, I think the change in strategy is what makes Holtmann a great (and respected) coach. He could’ve easily done nothing different, and came to the conclusion that the close losses were because of a of couple missed shots here and there. Instead, he sees a team trying to find itself, and will do what’s necessary to make sure that that happens.

Growing pains happen in sports. Even if the Buckeyes drop Wednesday’s game against Purdue, they still have time to steer the ship into the NCAA Tournament. A team that goes through bad times now, knows how to handle them come March.

“This is not at Mackey though. This is Value City Arena, where Purdue is only 2-13 all-time...This game really comes down to how well each team is playing right now. Purdue is trending up and honestly didn’t play that well offensively against Indiana on Saturday.”

- Travis Miller of SB Nation’s Hammer and Rails, previewing Tuesday’s Ohio State-Purdue men’s basketball matchup

Keeping up with the basketball news, our friends at Hammer and Rails put together a preview for tomorrow’s Buckeyes-Boilermakers clash at Value City Arena. Unlike the Bucks, Purdue has won three in row. One of those wins was a steamrolling of Rutgers.

However, the Boilers aren’t going to be in the friendly confines of Mackey Arena to face OSU; they’ll be traveling to Columbus, in what will be a big game for both teams. Travis Miller, who authored the game preview, said that Purdue didn’t play too well against Indiana — even though they won the game by 15. Defensively, it appears that Matt Painter’s squad is doing work.

Both teams head into the contest unranked in the latest edition of the AP Poll Top 25. Purdue is on the outside looking in, holding the second-highest amount of votes (111) from a non-ranked team. A win in Columbus and a win/respectable loss to Michigan State may be enough to sneak them into the Top 25.

On the other hand, the Buckeyes need to get out of the skid. If Wesson, C.J. Jackson and Luther Muhammad can’t lead the team to victory at home, then they’ll have to try to end the streak on the road. Away contests with Nebraska and Michigan lurk next week, and if things don’t get sorted out soon, this could easily be a seven-game losing streak for the Buckeyes.

“If Gill is going to emerge as one of the next great do-it-all weapons at H-back, Parris Campbell just laid out the blueprint for how the position should be played.”

- Austin Ward of Lettermen Row on how Jaelen Gill can emerge this season

Not only is Urban Meyer no longer the coach for Ohio State, but a couple of the speedsters that contributed to the the offense will be gone come fall as well. Parris Campbell won’t be a Buckeye next season, which means someone has to step up and play the all-important role of H-back.

Jaelen Gill could be that guy.

Austin Ward of Lettermen Row pointed out how Gill could be the next Renaissance Man on the OSU offense, and there’s the added benefit of being the homegrown kid that could add to his mystique.

On Monday night, Ryan Day secured the commitment from a 2020 offensive lineman from Cincinnati, proving that he’s committed to scoping out talent in Ohio — and bringing them to Columbus. With Gill being from Westerville, utilizing him at H-back could serve two purposes: showing that the redshirt season allowed him to hone his skills, and that Ohio kids can shine in the scarlet and gray as underclassmen under the new regime.

Campbell is the latest example of how the rise of an effective H-back comes to be. If Day adapts the blueprint to Gill, then it can set off a chain of events that makes OSU the place for the speedy, skill players on offense.

Stick to Sports