Folks. We have a full 2022-23 Ohio State men’s basketball schedule. So, for this iteration of You're Nuts, we are going to be touching on that.
We are only two months away from Ohio State basketball and we can now feel it. Last week, we discussed who would lead Ohio State in assists. Connor chose freshman stud Bruce Thornton, and Justin chose Oklahoma State transfer Isaac Likekele.
Here were the final poll results.
Funny enough, Connor and Justin tied this one.
After 66 weeks:
(There have been three ties)
After 66 weeks, we have had three ties now. 1 every 22 weeks. Math.
Let’s get into this week’s topic. We are talking about the Big Ten schedule and who might give the Buckeyes the toughest challenge.
Today’s question: What is Ohio State’s most challenging home conference game this season?
Connor: Michigan State (Feb. 12)
That’s how the saying goes, right? Like it or not, Tom Izzo always has his team playing their best basketball at the end of the season. The last two seasons, Michigan State has gone a modest 20-20 in conference play, and — like the Buckeyes — they did not make it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament either season.
But the Spartans typically turn the heat up in February and March. Each of the last two seasons, Michigan State looked bound for the NIT in December before turning on the jets at the end of each season and clearing the bar necessary to snag an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Izzo’s Michigan State team this season probably won’t be cutting down nets in Chicago at the end of the Big Ten Tournament, but they return several key pieces and will be playing their best basketball when they visit the Schottenstein Center in February.
Tyson Walker (8.2 PPG, 4.3 AST) is back to run point for the second consecutive season and should provide a steady calming force in the backcourt. Malik Hall (8.9 PPG, 4.6 REB, 42.6% 3PT) will need to take a big step forward this season, and many people covering the Big Ten Conference expect just that. He scored in double digits 15 times last season, but disappeared in March, averaging just 4.2 PPG during the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament.
Joey Hauser (7.3 PPG, 5.3 REB) is back, as are A.J. Hoggard (7.0 PPG, 4.8 AST) and former top-50 overall prospect Jaden Akins (3.4 PPG, 2.4 REB). “Get old and stay old” is the age-old formula for success in college basketball, and Izzo retained quite a bit from last year’s team, including young players who could have sought more playing time elsewhere
Michigan State’s game against the Buckeyes in Columbus is wedged between two games that the Spartans shouldn't be nearly concerned about. Sometimes, when a team has another huge test before or afterwards, they can see production dip due to a hangover from the last game, or looking forward to the next one. But with Maryland five days beforehand and Minnesota three days later, Ohio State will be MSU’s main focus for the better part of a week. Chris Holtmann and the Buckeyes will certainly get them at their best.
Justin: Illinois (Feb. 26)
First of all, this schedule is brutal.
“The Buckeyes have basically a brand-new team, and the fresh faces are going to get a taste of how brutal the Big Ten schedule can be,” 247Sports’ Isaac Trotter wrote. “Ohio State has to play Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Purdue and Rutgers twice. Road dates at Michigan and Indiana will not be easy. Ohio State probably would’ve preferred to get more than three combined games with projected bottom-feeders Penn State, Minnesota and Nebraska.”
So there is that. It is going to take a really solid season for the Buckeyes to contend in the conference. Obviously, they can still do it as this is a talented team, but they are going to have their hands full. No doubt.
I agree with Connor that Michigan State game is going to be tough. It always is. But I am going with the team I think will win the Big Ten this season. The Illinois Fighting Illini.
Illinois reloaded this season with guys like Skyy Clarke, Matthew Mayer and Terrance Shannon Jr. They are in the same boat as Ohio State with losing a lot of players, and have a fairly new team, but they are incredibly talented, well-coached and that late in the season, should be hitting their stride. This will be a tough game.
Full disclosure, I would have picked Michigan but they do not come to Columbus this year. Ohio State only plays them once and it is at Michigan.
Which home game is going to be a tougher challenge for the Buckeyes?
This poll is closed
vs Michigan State on Feb. 12 (Connor)
vs Illinois on Feb 26 (Justin)