This is your last call to jump on the Ohio State basketball bandwagon if you haven’t yet (coming from a football loyalist who only checks into college basketball when March Madness starts). The Buckeyes (16-4, 10-4) are now the No. 4 team in the country after having won eight of their last nine games. They also happen to lead the nation with the eight Quad 1 wins.
Ohio State is predicted to be a one or two seed in the NCAA Tournament come Selection Sunday (March 14) according to bracketology experts. In his latest draft, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Buckeyes as a No. 1 seed facing Texas State in Region 4. CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm has Ohio State as a No. 2 seed, SBNation’s Chris Dobbertean has the Buckeyes as a No. 1 seed taking on South Dakota, Shelby Mast of USA TODAY, has the Buckeyes as a No. 2 seed kicking things off against UMBC, and Bracket Matrix, a website that takes into consideration nearly 100 brackets, has the Buckeyes as the final No. 1 seed.
As we all know, circumstances can change in an instant when it comes to college basketball, and Ohio State still have six challenging games left in their regular season— Indiana, Penn State, No. 3 Michigan, Michigan State, No. 15 Iowa and No. 6 Illinois. Luckily, Chris Holtmann’s squad doesn’t look like their slowing down anytime soon.
In ESPN’s Draft guru Todd McShay’s most recent mockup, the former Buckeye quarterback is listed as the fourth overall pick behind three(!) other quarterbacks—Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, BYU QB Zach Wilson and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
On Get Up, McShay explained why he now considers Fields as the fourth best quarterback in the draft:
“If you go back and study games against Indiana, Northwestern and in the College Football Playoff, national championship game against Alabama, he completed about 52% of his throws with five interceptions in those games. In my opinion, you look at him physically he’s big, he’s sturdy, he’s strong, he’s mobile, he’s got a big arm. He’s got all the traits that you look for. He likes to see his receivers come open and gets stuck on that first read very frequently.”
Despite Fields finishing the 2020 season with 2,100 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, a 70.2 completion rate and just six interceptions, McShay said analysts have been narrowing in on those three games when drafting up their draft predictions. Luckily, I highly doubt NFL scouts will do the same.
While it hasn’t been confirmed by the program, it appears that Al Washington is now staying in Columbus. ICYMI, the Ohio State linebackers coach was (or is) rumored to be taking the defensive coordinator job at Tennessee.
With Al Washington now planning to stay in Columbus, what will this fall’s OSU defense look like?— Tom Orr (@TomOrr4) February 10, 2021
How much will new personnel impact the scheme and on-field results, and what should they change? @RossRFulton joins me to answer all that and more. https://t.co/QDMnQFPX7u
On the bright side, even if things change and he does decide to take the job with the Volunteers, Lettermen Row eased any worries that Washington’s highly ranked 2022 recruits will back out of their commitments because of it.
The country’s top-ranked 2022 recruiter according to 247Sports.com has been integral in the early commitments from three of the country’s top linebacker prospects, including Gabe Powers from Marysvillle, Ohio. Powers knows that Washington could be leaving but was quick to clear up any concerns about the strength of his commitment when he spoke to Lettermen Row on Tuesday.
“I am Buckeye for life,” Powers told Lettermen Row. “[A coaching change] isn’t going to change anything.”
This also goes for Dasan McCullough, who was recruited by Washington, and who’s father just accepted the associate head coach position at Indiana (which also happens to be his hometown). McCullough also told Lettermen Row that, while Washington’s absence wouldn’t be ideal, he committed for Ryan Day and the culture he’s built at Ohio State, and he doesn’t see that changing.
In case you’ forgot, Thayer Munford’s return to Ohio State is a big freaking deal.
PFF's top-10 OL returning to College Football pic.twitter.com/eqku8sU2Zn— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 9, 2021
It’s as if he has more than one.
And here’s just something for the road.