On Oct. 3, the Big Ten conference released tip times and TV assignments for men’s basketball. That means we now know which games are going to be nationally televised, which games will be streaming-only, and which games will be in prime time, allowing the home crowd to “prepare” for the game on campus all day long. With that in mind, we’re going to discuss some potential pitfalls on the Buckeyes’ schedule.
Last week, Connor and Justin each made a prediction for Big Ten Coach of the Year. Justin chose Kevin Willard, whose Maryland Terrapins were picked to finish third in the Big Ten in this year’s media poll. Connor went with Greg Gard, whose Wisconsin Badgers were picked to finish fifth in the same poll.
50% of the people who read last week’s piece chose “other,” which means that neither Connor nor Justin won this week. 50% went with the other, while 38% voted with Justin, and the remaining 12% voted with Connor.
After 121 weeks:
(There have been four ties)
This week, we’re debating the trappiest trap game on the Buckeyes’ schedule. For reference, a “trap game” is a game that, at first glance, doesn’t look too challenging, but for various reasons, could wind up being much harder than you’d think.
Today’s Question: What is the sneakiest trap game for Ohio State men’s basketball?
Connor: At Wisconsin (Feb. 13)
But Connor, how can a road game against Wisconsin — a team picked to finish higher than Ohio State — be considered a trap game? How could any game at the Kohl Center — where they’ve been rumored to turn down the temperature drastically and where they use “The Rock” brand basketball just to be difficult — be a trap game?
Well, take a look at the few games around this one, and I think you’d agree that the road game at Wisconsin might get overlooked just a bit. The week prior, Ohio State will face Indiana at home on Tuesday night and Maryland at home on Saturday afternoon. Those are two home games against upper-echelon Big Ten teams, the second of which is a weekend home game. Attendance should be great for both games and if Ohio State is able to win both, everyone’s eyes will begin to look down the road to another big matchup... Purdue, that is.
If the Buckeyes are flying high come February and knock off Indiana and Maryland that week, Purdue will be looming just eight days later. The Boilermakers beat the Buckeyes three times last season, have the National Player of the Year on their team, and won the Big Ten outright. People will be very excited about that game, especially if Ohio State is playing well.
However, Ohio State will have to travel to Madison, Wisconsin, that Tuesday night and play the Badgers at the Kohl Center, where they’ve won just one of their last five games at. With Purdue looming, it could be easy to undercut the importance of winning this game. Beating a talented Wisconsin team on the road will do wonders for Ohio State’s NCAA Tournament resume.
I’m just wondering if, after winning two big home games and with Purdue in the distance, could this Wisconsin game turn into a bad, bad time for the Buckeyes? I could see Ohio State winning a few games in a row, but then walking into a buzzsaw in Madison — just to remind OSU who’s won the Big Ten more recently.
Justin: At Michigan (Jan. 15)
It is funny that we are talking about a trap game for a team that went 5-15 last season in the conference. But that’s the past! This year, we can expect some more wins. I hope.
The trap game I am penciling in is at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor when the Buckeyes play at Michigan on Jan. 15. The reason: it is early in the conference play season, and it is important to get off to a great start in conference play
This can be a trap game as Ohio State will likely be the favorite since Michigan is projected to finish in the bottom part of the Big Ten. The five games the Buckeyes have after this one are at home against Penn State, at Nebraska, at Northwestern, at home against Illinois, and at Iowa. All of those games are winnable, with the Illinois game being at Value City Arena. If they can beat Michigan on the road, it can jump-start a huge winning streak to end January.
Plus, it can erase some demons. This was around the same time last season that the losing streak started. The Buckeyes can get some solid momentum going by starting a winning streak instead of a losing streak in the middle of January. But if they lose this one, all of the other games get a little tougher ahead of them.
And besides, it is always fun to beat Michigan.
What is the sneakiest trap game for Ohio State men’s basketball?
This poll is closed
At Wisconsin on Feb. 13 (Connor)
At Michigan on Jan. 15 (Justin)
A different game