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Last week, Connor and Justin debated what exactly Ohio State needed to clean up before facing UCLA, after losing to Penn State 83-80 on the road. Connor said OSU needed to limit second-chance points. Justin said OSU needed to guard the opposing team’s guards better. 58% of the readers sided with Connor, who was concerned about the glass.
After 131 weeks:
(There have been four ties)
With Christmas just three days away, Connor and Justin are picking two things they know Chris Holtmann and the Ohio State men’s basketball team would love to find under their tree on Monday morning.
Today’s Question: What gift is Ohio State men’s basketball hoping to get this Christmas?
Connor: For UCLA, West Virginia, and Penn State to win some games
More than anything else, Ohio State would love it if UCLA, Penn State, and West Virginia would get their crap together and win some games — especially the Nittany Lions.
What once looked like a gauntlet of a non-conference schedule now actually looks pretty weak, with all three of the aforementioned teams now sitting outside of the top 75 in KenPom (Penn State and West Virginia are actually outside of the top 100, but UCLA is 78).
Ohio State’s loss to Penn State (when they blew an 18-point lead on the road) is currently a Quad-3 loss in the NET rankings, which is pulling Ohio State’s ranking down — the Buckeyes currently sit at No. 38 in the NET. Penn State is currently No. 138 in the NET. If the ‘Nits can get up to 135, that would become a Quad-2 loss for Ohio State, and if they somehow got into the top 75, it would be a Quad-1 loss. As it stands, that loss is actively hurting Ohio State’s tournament chances and likely seed.
Ohio State’s win over UCLA is currently a Quad-3 win because UCLA is No. 153 in the NET as of Thursday night. If UCLA was able to get inside the top 100 of the NET, it would become a Quad-2 win for the Buckeyes.
After Christmas, the Buckeyes will face a reeling West Virginia team that has lost back-to-back games to UMass and Radford. It will be a neutral site game in Cleveland, so that will also make a potential win less sweet for Ohio State and a loss even more painful. The Mountaineers are currently No. 202 in the NET, which means it’ll probably be a Quad-3 win or loss for the entire year — the odds of WVU getting into the top 100 don’t look great right now.
If you want to read about how the “Quads” are broken down, click here.
Ohio State’s only Quad-1 win right now is its neutral site win over Alabama in the Emerald Coast Classic. Six months ago, a schedule that included UCLA (very good last year) and West Virginia (looked good but then Bob Huggins said some things and got fired) looked pretty strong. Now, those teams stink, so wins against them don’t mean a ton and losses are devastating. What a raw deal!
In summation, Chris Holtmann would probably shout with glee if he opened up a few additional Quad-2 wins on Christmas morning, as well as his current Quad-3 loss turning into a Quad-1 or Quad-2 loss.
Justin: A win at Assembly Hall on Jan. 6
I thought about health here, but that is more of a season-long wish, and I wanted to stay somewhat close to Christmas time. But I do always wish for sustained health.
This is about two weeks after Christmas, but I will wish for it now and hope it comes true later.
The Buckeyes are 10-2 after bouncing back from the Penn State collapse and beating UCLA and New Orleans, leaving two fairly winnable games coming up. The Buckeyes take on a struggling West Virginia team on Dec. 30 in Cleveland and then start 2024 on Jan. 2nd at home against Rutgers.
Rutgers is a solid team with a good defense, but with that game being in Columbus, I like the Buckeyes’ chances with Rutgers’s inability to score at times.
Then, the Buckeyes head to Bloomington for a showdown against the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall.
It is not a secret that Assembly Hall is one of the toughest places to play, and no matter how good Indiana is any given year, it is a dogfight.
Over the last 10 years, Ohio State has been 3-7 at Assembly Hall. Since 1990, the Buckeyes are 10-22 in Bloomington. They are 20-9 against the Hoosiers in Columbus, so there is clearly a correlation there.
The Buckeyes have a bad loss on the resume, and unlike years past, there are not a lot of great chances for quality wins due to the Big Ten being down this season and Ohio State’s schedule being favorable
A win at Assembly Hall would be a huge resume boost and a momentum builder heading into three coin toss games for Ohio State.
What would be a better gift for Ohio State?
This poll is closed
A win against Indiana at Assembly Hall (Justin)
UCLA, Penn State, and West Virginia winning games to help Ohio State (Connor)