Ohio State Buckeyes Preview
Date: Wednesday, January 18th - 8:00pm - Pinnancle Bank Arena - Lincoln, NE
2015-16 Record: 21-14 (11-7 Big Ten)
2016-17 Record: 11-7 (1-4 Big Ten)
Head Coach: Thad Matta (13th year)
It has been an interesting year for the Buckeyes. Then again, you could probably say that for a majority of the Big Ten teams this year. Either a team is overachieving to a certain point or they are having a down season. Looking at the Big Ten Rankings, it’s kind of hard to tell who’s really that good this year outside of of two or three. The middle to bottom teams have jumped around considerably this year.
Ohio State is no different. There was a little hope that this experienced team might be able to do something impressive. Early wins had them sitting fairly well. Their non conference slate was only marked with three losses. One was to a very good Virginia squad and another was to a one loss UCLA. The Florida Atlantic game was a bad overtime defeat to a bad team. Everyone is entitles to one of those a season, right?
(cough cough...Garder-Webb...cough cough)
Then the conference slate hit. It hit them hard in the face. They experienced four straight losses to Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. All fairly decent teams and all but #20 Purdue was on the road. Outside of their confines seems to be a struggle for this team.
The losing streak ended against Michigan State in Columbus this past weekend.
The Buckeyes are lead by Jae’Sean Tate who is averaging 14.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, and 1.7 apg. The junior forward has not only been a force on defense but also on offense. He is currently shooting an impressive 54% from the floor and 59% from the line.
Up front is guard JaQuan Lyle who is coming off a 22 point game in the Michigan State win. He is averaging 12.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, and 5.4 apg. Lyle is quick and will make defenders pay for it if they leave him unattended.
Senior forward Marcus Loving is a former Mr. Ohio basketball who isn’t the most consistent scorer but can still hurt you if not properly managed. For instance, he struggled to get to the basket against Wisconsin and ended the game with five points. Then turns it around against the Spartans and ends up with 12.
The Buckeyes seem to fit well into the Big Ten narrative this year. Not a great team but still one you have to watch out for. On paper, they should be better than their record shows. They still have some great players and could quite possibly turn this season around. It really depends on what the leadership does and how the players can improve their game. The talent is there.
Right now, I can see the game against the Huskers go either way. The Buckeyes have the talent but are underachieving and are not doing well on the road. Though, that last part could play into their favor as Nebraska doesn’t exactly have the best home record this season. Could the Buckeyes pull off win number two in Lincoln?