Alright, Buckeye Nation, we are one hour away from the tipoff of the Ohio State men’s basketball team’s 2021-22 postseason. I wouldn’t exactly say that Chris Holtmann’s Buckeyes are coming into the Big Ten Tournament on a hot streak, as they lost three of their final four regular-season games.
They’ve also been hampered by injuries to some of their most impactful players, especially sixth-year glue guy, power forward Kyle Young, who is missing postseason games for the second season in a row due to a concussion.
The sixth-seeded Buckeyes open up the second round of the B1G Tournament against No. 11 Penn State at 9 p.m ET in a game being broadcast on the Big Ten Network. But, before the action gets underway, we asked Land-Grant Holy Land’s Ohio State fans a handful of questions about how they’re feeling heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
Which player needs to be healthy to give OSU the best chance to win the B1G Tournament?
This one is a no-brainer if you ask me. Since the departure of Andre Wesson, Kyle Young has been the straw that turns the Buckeye’s drink. Even though he has primarily been a reserve this season, there is no doubt that he is absolutely vital to the team’s success.
In our LGHL Reacts survey, 74% of respondents said that KY would be the most impactful if he was healthy for a tournament run. We know that the super-senior won’t be in action against the Nits tonight, but there is always hope that he could return at some point in the postseason.
Sophomore center Zed Key was a distant second place at 16%, with guard Meechie Johnson Jr. and forward Justice Sueing at 5%. Johnson is expected to be available tonight, while Key is a game-time decision. With each passing day, it’s unlikely that we see Sueing again this season.
Which Buckeye needs to step up most for OSU to make a B1G Tournament run?
Everyone knew coming into the season that graduate transfer Jamari Wheeler would be one of the best defenders in the conference, but heading into the postseason, Ohio State fans think he needs to step up — presumably on offense — to get the Buckeyes back to their winning ways.
Wheeler is averaging 7.4 points per game, but 59% of respondents to our survey think he needs to do more to give his team a chance at a deep run in the conference tourney. Relatively close behind him was Justin Ahrens who came in at 34% — if that was his shooting percentage from behind the arc this postseason, I think Buckeye fans would be happy with that. Cedric Russell was a distant third at 7%
What teams will play for the Big Ten Tournament title?
Along with our Ohio State-specific questions, one question was asked across all Big Ten fandoms, who’s going to playing in the final game of the tournament. Unsurprisingly, the tournament’s No. 1 seed, the Illinois Fighting Illini, led the way with 66% of the vote.
No. 3 Purdue game in second at 52% and while Purdue has had an up-and-down season, I believe this would be the best potential matchup possible.
In third was the tournament’s No. 2 seed, the Wisconsin Badgers. UW came in with 39% of the vote, followed by Michigan State with 10%, Iowa at 9%, and the Buckeyes at 4%. If Ohio State makes the tournament finals for the second season in a row, I will shave my head (check my avi on Twitter to see how big of a deal that would be).