A big step in D.J. Carton possibly returning to the Ohio State basketball team took place today when the freshman guard posted a video of himself at the Quad City International Airport, a day after posting on social media that he would be “back with the gang on Friday”. Carton has been at home in Bettendorf, Iowa since leaving the Ohio State basketball team on January 30th to focus on mental health issues.
Even though Carton is returning to Ohio State, there is still no timetable on when he could possibly return to the court for the Buckeyes. Not only will Carton have to be cleared by Ohio State’s medical staff to return to basketball activities, but he will also have to satisfy certain expectations that will be set by head coach Chris Holtmann.
Carton’s mental health is what matters most in this situation, but if he is cleared to return to team by Holtmann, he could bring a spark to the Buckeyes heading into the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State has been able to weather the loss of Carton, winning five of six games since he left the team, but there’s no question the return of Carton could make them a very tough out in the big dance. Tonight the Buckeyes take on the Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City, a game in which Carton won’t be in attendance for.
“The great thing about spending two years with the Titans was we played every coverage there is. We’re the only team in the NFL that played every coverage there is. We played three deep, we played two deep, we played quarters, we played press man, we played zero man to man, we played two deep, five man. We played it all because (defensive coordinator) Dean (Pees) has that great catalog, right?”
How just a couple years can change for Kerry Coombs. In his last stint at Ohio State, the Buckeyes really only played man-press coverage with their cornerbacks. Coombs was only the cornerbacks coach at the time, with Greg Schiano calling the shots as defensive coordinator. Since then Coombs spent two years in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans, which has helped to expand repertoire.
Coombs said that it’s likely that Ohio State will continue to play a lot of press man to man in coverage because it has worked for them, but they will also incorporate some other types of coverages to keep opposing offenses on their toes. With talented defensive backs like Shaun Wade and Cam Brown, Coombs knows Ohio State has the athletes with the ability to not only adapt to different coverages, but to run them successfully.
Coombs has not only gained some experience with different coverages during his time in the NFL, but he has also learned how to be a better coach. Coombs got a taste of what it was like to coach at the professional level and now he can bring that experience of what it was like back to Columbus, and ready the Buckeyes for what will be expected from them in the NFL. While it’s tough to replace a talented coach like Jeff Hafley, Ohio State couldn’t have made a better hire than bring Coombs back to the coaching staff.
“My whole role has had to switch just depending on the game. I have so much talent around me that sometimes my main role just needs to be to distribute. Sometimes it needs to be to keep people’s heads in the game. I really just have to change the role depending on what’s going on in the game so its been challenging but super rewarding. It’s been awesome.”
After wining at least 20 games in four straight years, Ohio State’s women’s basketball team took a step back last year, posting a 14-15 record. Many around the program knew the struggles would be short-lived though, as the Buckeyes had a seven-player class coming in this year, which many considered the best in the country.
New Buckeyes like Kierstan Bell and Rikki Harris got most of the headlines, but the most important addition to this year’s Ohio State team has been junior transfer guard Braxtin Miller. After starting her career at Oklahoma State, the Dayton native decided to transfer back to her home state last summer. In two seasons at Oklahoma State, Miller averaged 13.1 points per game.
Miller isn’t scoring as much this year, averaging 7.3 points per game, but her impact has been immeasurable. With a roster full of freshmen and sophomore, Miller is just one of two upperclassmen. No game has been the same for Miller, who has sometimes been asked to be more of a scorer, and other times more of a distributor. In last night’s win over Nebraska, Miller scored 13 points, marking the ninth time this year she has scored in double figures. In 10 games this year Miller has dished out at least four assists.
Ohio State is now tied for fourth in the Big Ten, but they are one of the more dangerous teams with the Big Ten Tournament on the horizon. After a 6-5 start to the season, the Buckeyes are 11-3 over their last 14 games. Now Ohio State has their focus set on the NCAA Tournament, which they are looking to make a return to after missing it last season.
“We’re trying not to look at the numbers too much. Just taking care of our business and focusing on the little things one game at a time.”
Ohio State’s women’s hockey team hosts St. Cloud State this weekend in the last regular season series for the Buckeyes before the WCHA Tournament begins. Currently the Buckeyes are ranked fifth in the nation, which is three spots higher than when the two teams met all the way back in early October.
Ohio State will be looking to continue their recent run of success against St. Cloud State. The Buckeyes beat the Huskies in both matchups by a combined score of 11-4, running their unbeaten streak over St. Cloud State to 11 straight games. Of those 11 games, Ohio State has won six straight meetings with the Huskies, with the last game that didn’t end in a victory for the Buckeyes coming in December 2017.
Even though the Huskies are in the basement of the conference, it doesn’t mean Ohio State is looking past St. Cloud State. On Saturday the Huskies shutout Bemidji State 1-0. Now St. Cloud State will be trying to keep the Buckeyes from possibly moving past Minnesota State, who is tied with Ohio State in the WCHA standings with 40 points.
The Buckeyes will be looking for goaltender Andrea Braendli to continue her hot play. The sophomore set a WCHA record last weekend with 74 saves in two games against Wisconsin. Ohio State defeated the top team in the WCHA on Friday before falling on Saturday in a shootout. If Braendli continues her strong recent play it will make the Buckeyes a tough out in the WCHA Tournament first round, which will be played next weekend in Columbus, as well as in the NCAA Tournament.
STICK TO SPORTS
- Pit BBQ, which was started by former Buckeyes Chimdi Chekwa and Bryant Browning, has announced they’ll be opening a Clintonville location.
- An event to celebrate registration for Pelotonia 2020 will be held Friday evening at Pins Mechanical Co. in downtown Columbus.
- Les Wexner is stepping down as the CEO of L Brands.
- The improv group Hashtag Comedy Co. is opening up its own venue downtown.
- Ahead of Easter, Peeps is rolling out five new flavors. The proper way to eat these it throw them directly into the trash can.