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You’re Nuts: Will the Buckeyes hit an over of 13.5 conference wins this season?

Which one of us optimistic, and which one of us is being more realistic?

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Quarterfinals - Michigan State vs Ohio State Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

We officially have a official 2023-24 Ohio State men’s basketball full schedule, officially. The Buckeyes’ 20 conference games and the dates of those games is now known, and it seems Chris Holtmann and Co. may have dodged a couple of bullets.

So, for this week of ‘You’re Nuts”, we will be taking a look at that. However, before we get into it, let's review the results of last week and our recruiting discussion.

In our debate of “Should the Buckeyes take another player in the 2024 class?”, Connor won with his answer of yes, getting 73 percent of the vote over Justin’s answer of no.

Here are the updated standings:

After 118 weeks:

Connor- 53
Justin- 48
Other- 13

(There have been four ties)

And here is the week’s prompt...

Today’s Question: Will the Buckeyes hit an over of 13.5 conference wins this season?

Connor: No

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Ohio State Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

To go from five conference wins to 14, that’s quite a jump — especially for a team that once again will be carried mostly by underclassmen. Last season, 14 conference wins would’ve equated to a second-place finish, a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament, and probably a two-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

If this team turns things around and nearly triples their win total in the Big Ten, Chris Holtmann wouldn’t just win the Big Ten Coach of the Year Award, he might mess around and win the National Coach of the Year Award, too. But do we really think that’s going to happen?

There are reasons to be optimistic about this team — Bruce Thornton became a household name at the tail end of last season, and Roddy Gayle is on his way. Felix Okpara is a freak, and Jamison Battle was an all-Big Ten caliber player at Minnesota two seasons ago.

But there’s also plenty of reasons to be skeptical of this team. If Battle is supposed to be your leading scorer, are you completely convinced he’s elite after shooting 37% overall last season and 31% from three? Can Roddy Gayle be more consistent, or will he fall back to what he saw from him last season — a three or four points per game kind of guy who plays good defense? Are Devin Royal, Scotty Middleton, or Taison Chatman ready to make a difference?

Ohio State finished 106th in defensive efficiency last season, and they haven’t finished inside the top-80 since 2020. Do we suddenly believe that Chris Holtmann is going to coach up a defensively-minded team after not being able to do so the last three seasons?

For all of those reasons, I think it’s pretty safe to take the under on 13.5 conference wins. Some of those questions I posed will be answered — I think Gayle is going to be very good, and that the Buckeyes are going to be vastly improved on defense. But not all of those chips are going to fall in their favor — some of those concerns are going to materialize in November.

Making a jump from 13th to second in the Big Ten would be unheard of. On the other hand, many Ohio State fans attribute the Buckeyes’ 13th-place finish to poor coaching, and still expect this team to win a Big Ten championship because that is now the standard with this program.

I think they will make a big jump this season, but going 14-6 in the B1G after going 5-15 is a massive turn around. I will go under 13.5.

Justin: Yes

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

There are three main reasons that I believe the Buckeyes can go 14-6 in conference or even 15-5.

The first one involves a little self-awareness. I am an optimistic Ohio State fan. I don’t want Ryan Day or Chris Holtmann fired, I think last season was a fluke, and in general, I love the direction of the Ohio State hoops program. So, when making predictions, I will always lean on the glass being half full instead of half empty. I recognize that, and I own that. If I am wrong, so be it.

The second reason is the depth. And I realize we commend Ohio State’s depth every season, and then injuries happen, and somehow they are low on guys when the end of the season hits. However, they have legitimately 11 guys that can play productive minutes this season (assuming all the freshmen are good to roll, which they should be). Not to mention, I am very high on the transfers they brought in, especially Jamison Battle.

Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle, and maybe Battle will be the guys that play 32-34 minutes a night, but everyone else should split the minutes and help everyone get valuable playing time in case they are needed for March.

The third and simplest reason: the schedule is light. The two December games are against Minnesota and Penn State, possibly the two worst teams in the conference. They only play Illinois, Michigan State, Purdue, and Maryland once, and they do not have to travel to Maryland or Purdue, both of which are houses of horrors, and there are no brutal back-to-backs. The schedule is a benefit, which it was not last season.

Let’s just be optimistic, folks. It’s fun.


Will the Buckeyes hit an over of 13.5 wins in the conference this season?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Connor: No
    (11 votes)
  • 45%
    Justin: Yes
    (9 votes)
20 votes total Vote Now