As the season continues to spiral out of control, we have to continue adjusting our expectations for the Ohio State men’s basketball team. What began with hopes of a high seed in the NCAA Tournament quickly turned into optimism that this team would just make the tournament.
That optimism quickly turned into uneasiness about being on the NCAA bubble, and now we are just accepting that this season is over and Ohio State will have to play spoiler for other teams.
Last week, Connor and Justin debated whether there was any reason at all to think this team could still make the NCAA Tournament. Justin said yes, Connor said no.
A whopping 89% of the readers agreed with Connor, and two losses later, it looks like he was right — it’s over.
After 138 weeks:
(There have been four ties)
We’ve come to grips with the fact that for the second consecutive year, the Buckeyes will be at home while the best event in all of sports — the NCAA Tournament — is going on. That doesn’t mean we’re going to stop pulling for victories, however.
With at least nine games left in the season, the Buckeyes could throw a wrench into someone’s NCAA Tournament plans, or at the very least knock them down a rung or two.
Today’s Question: Will the Ohio State men’s basketball team play spoiler down the stretch?
I think Ohio State has a few wins in them, but I don’t think those wins will be consequential in any way to the NCAA Tournament picture.
This isn’t a team that’s been blown out the last few games. In fact, Ohio State had the ball with a chance to win the game with the final possession each of the last two games. Unfortunately, they turned the ball over both times, and didn’t even get a shot off.
Still, this team has played pretty close games recently and has put itself in the position you want to be at the end of games — you just want to give yourself a chance to win.
Ohio State plays four likely tournament teams (Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan State, Nebraska) and four teams that aren’t going to make the tournament (Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Rutgers) to end the season. I think the Buckeyes are going to lose all four games against the likely tournment teams, so the Badgers, Boilermakers, Spartans, and Cornhuskers avoid a big speed bump on their NCAA Tournament resumes.
I think Ohio State will beat Minnesota, Michigan, and Rutgers during the stretch run. That includes two road wins at Minnesota and Rutgers, so yes, I think the Buckeyes will soon snap this impressive road losing streak they currently have going for them. The Michigan program is in freefall just like Ohio State, therefore I think the Buckeyes find a way to get it done on senior day against their rivals.
I think Ohio State is going to lose to Maryland this weekend, because I believe in Maryland’s scoring trio of Donta Scott, Jahmir Young, and Julian Reese, and I think the Terrapins have mostly underperformed this year compared to the talent on the roster. Kevin Willard & Co. have not done a great job maximizing what they have on the roster, but there’s some juice that’s yet to be squeezed out of that team.
To summarize: the Buckeyes are going to end the eternal misery at some point, and will win a couple games before the season ends. However, those wins will be irrelevant to the NCAA Tournament field, just like this team.
I said last week I had one more optimistic bone in my body and predicted Ohio State to beat Iowa and Indiana. Since then, they lost to both in tragic fashion.
My optimism is getting beat with a bat, but I am ready for the 12th round. So, I have a bold prediction: Ohio State beats Michigan State on Feb. 25 in East Lansing and tries to play spoiler for the Spartans.
There is obviously nothing to back up this claim, and it probably won’t happen, but this Ohio State team has shot the ball horribly over the last month, and I think they are due for a good shooting run. The averages eventually average out, and it is hard to believe that the Buckeyes will continue to struggle this much from the three-point range.
The Buckeyes have two weeks before they play the Spartans, and they have struggled with consistency this season. They have some games they can win down the stretch, but beating Michigan and Rutgers is not playing spoiler to anyone, and honestly, I think they will lose to Minnesota in the barn, which is a very underrated place for home-court advantage.
Michigan State is good but inconsistent. I think Ohio State gets hot and wins. Like last season in the Big Ten Tournament. And that could really hurt the Spartan's NCAA Tournament chances since they are on the bubble.
Will Ohio State play spoiler during the final stretch run?
This poll is closed
No, they’re not going to beat any relevant teams (Connor)
Yes, they will beat MSU (Justin)