After an exhausting, ugly, and at times unwatchable 40 minutes of basketball, the Xavier Musketeers emerged victorious over Ohio State last night, 71-65. The Buckeyes were down by as many as 11 at one point, but fought back in the second half to make it a one possession game towards the end. Ultimately this wasn’t enough, and Xavier continued their undefeated season for at least one more game. The Buckeyes are 3-1.
More on that shortly.
Last week, Connor and Justin debated what the largest area of concern for Ohio State was following their heart-stopping victory over Akron. Justin said the team needs to get the transfers (Jamari Wheeler, Joey Brunk, and Cedric Russell) involved more. Connor said that the Buckeyes need to establish a clear-cut second scorer behind E.J. Liddell. With 87% of the vote, Connor won. 9% sided with Justin, and the remaining 4% chose “other.”
After 28 weeks:
(There has been one tie)
Much like the Buckeyes against Xavier last night, Justin was able to get within arm’s reach, but Connor has padded his lead yet again.
Now that we’ve got four games in the books — including one loss — the guys take a step back and do their best to give a short, succinct summary of how they’re feeling after four games. Vulgarities are not allowed, and the person whose phrase gets more votes wins.
Today’s Question/Prompt: Describe the season in three words or fewer.
Connor: Adjust your expectations
If I know one thing, it’s that mediocrity is not accepted at Ohio State — by the players, coaches and especially not the fans. Football spearheads the insanely high expectations, but that trickles down to other sports as well. If you’re involved with Ohio State in any capacity, you expect excellence on the field. And that’s why my answer will taste like vinegar in your mouth.
Adjust your expectations.
At full strength and without anyone falling short of what we predicted them to do (players), this team was capable of competing at the top of the Big Ten. Maybe not B1G champions, but they were up there.
Well, some stuff happened.
Seth Towns is out for another 5-6 weeks at least. Justice Sueing is out for a long time, maybe even all season. Cedric Russell has been a non-factor. Jamari Wheeler is not the offensive asset that his predecessor CJ Walker was. I am not making excuses for this team, that is not my job. But there were certain things that we expected heading into the season that no longer are happening, or clearly are not going to happen.
The biggest loss, obviously, is losing Justice Sueing. He does everything for this team, even if he isn’t the best at each individual little thing. Sueing is not the best rebounder or passer on the team, but he does both well. He’s not the best three-point shooter, but he’s passable. He’s not the best driver, and he isn’t a traditional “point guard” but he can put his head down and get a bucket when you need one, and he can bring the ball up when you need him to.
There isn’t one player on this team that can just step into his role and provide what he provides. Without Sueing, this team will not reach its max potential. Even Chris Holtmann said that. Whatever you thought this team’s ceiling was, you’ll have to reassess that now that we know Sueing is out for the foreseeable future.
This isn’t the NBA. There’s no trading and no free agency. The guys on the roster are the guys Holtmann will have this season, healthy or otherwise. They will have to find ways to get creative and win games this season. They may not have the offensive firepower they had last year, but they do have some fun, young players. And despite the results against Xavier, the Buckeye defense did a lot of things right.
This isn’t the “The sky is falling!” scene from Chicken Little, either. There’s no reason to panic four games into the season. Even without Sueing, this team still looks like an 8 or 9-seed in the NCAA Tournament. But aspirations of a National Championship or a Big Ten Championship can be shelved for another year, I think.
Justin: More Eugene Brown
I will be honest. I like Connor’s resolution and mine might be a bit too specific. But Steph Curry from three ya know? I don’t know, it’s been a long day.
It has been a fairly lackluster start for the Ohio State basketball Buckeyes, as they fell to 3-1 on the season after losing to Xavier 71-65. There are a lot of opinions out there about what to fix and how the Buckeyes can improve (and no, the answer is not fire Chris Holtmann). My answer is not a simple one and I don’t think the answer is a simple fix, but there is something that I would like to see: More Eugene Brown.
Brown only played 11 minutes in the loss against Xavier, and part of that was due to him leaving the game with an injury after hitting his head and elbow hard on the floor after Xavier’s Adam Kunkel decided to play football on a rebound. Brown finished scoreless and was 0-for-4 from the field, but he had eight rebounds in just 11 minutes — including four on the offensive end — and always provides a huge spark on defense. He is averaging about 10-15 minutes per game through the team’s first four games.
Guard play has been and will be an issue for the Buckeyes moving forward. Jamari Wheeler is great on defense, but he is still getting integrated into the offense as a transfer and has always had his limitations on that end. Meechie Johnson and Malaki Braham have shown flashes, but they are young and are prone to young guy mistakes. Justin Ahrens isn’t a guard, but he hasn’t done anything either so let’s toss him in there. And Cedric Russell and Jimmy Sotos just don’t have a role in the rotation as of right now. We will see if that changes, but in their first big game of the season, they didn’t play a minute. That says all you need to know.
Brown isn’t perfect and he has some flaws, but he can shoot it at a high rate, put the ball on the floor and create his own shot. He is one of the better on ball and perimeter defenders as well, which only helps his case for more minutes. They have a tough two to three weeks coming up that can either put their season in a blender or give them some much needed confidence. In that span, it would be great to see Brown play 20-25 minutes a game and learn what he can bring to the table.
Whose three-word answer was more accurate?
This poll is closed
Adjust Your Expectations - Connor
More Eugene Brown - Justin
Neither. These were both awful answers. They pay you guys?