Simple Keys vs Rutgers and How Ohio State Can Make The Dance


It will be a challenge for Ohio State to make the NCAA tournament, but it is possible.

Ohio State will host Rutgers tonight at 7 PM in Value City Arena, hoping to string together back to back victories for the second time in their Big Ten schedule. It is certainly a must win for the Buckeyes if they are entertaining any thoughts of being invited to the NCAA tournament.

Here are the keys to a victory over Rutgers. Show up, play basketball, don’t do anything stupid and don’t look ahead to Maryland. It’s just that simple, the Scarlet Knights just aren’t very good.

Now let’s look ahead at Ohio State’s chances at making a run at the NCAA tournament. It’s a bit of a long shot that’s for sure. But it’s not like the odds of winning the Lotto, more like buying a couple of scratch off tickets hoping to win 50 dollars.

The three home games against Nebraska, Indiana and of course Rutgers are busin“Take care of business” games. If Ohio State loses to one of those teams, forget about making the tournament, it ain’t gonna happen.

Next are what I call “Flip a coin” games and the Buckeyes need to win at least one of these. Both of the road games to Michigan State and Penn State are winnable.

It’s surprising that MSU would be in this category at this time of the year but that’s the case this season. Usually Tom Izzo’s teams start rolling after 6-8 games into the Big Ten schedule.

In fact, I can only remember one other time in recent years when that wasn’t the case. But the Spartans have lost four of their last six games, and five of their last eight including two home games.

Penn State is 5-7 in the league which will be Ohio State’s record if they defeat Rutgers tonight. In the Nittanly Lion’s last two home games, they have lost to Rutgers and defeated Maryland. Like I said, flip a coin on the Penn State game.

There are two “Must win one” games, at Maryland and Wisconsin at home. Believe it or not, Ohio State could actually win either of these two games.

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Maryland was on a roll with an 8-1 conference record until losing at home to Purdue. Then they lost on the road at Penn State. That has to at least give the Buckeyes some hope they could pull out a win at Maryland.

This just may be just a case where I am looking for a silver lining, but the Buckeyes catch the Badgers in the middle of a difficult stretch. Prior to facing Ohio State, Wisconsin will face Northwestern, Michigan and Maryland and then go on the road to play Michigan State. I certainly wouldn’t bet on an Ohio State upset, but at least it’s a home game so there is a chance.

If Ohio State could pull out five wins in the next seven games it will even their Big Ten record at 9-9. A win in the Big Ten Tournament and it will be a 20 win season, and who knows a second win may give them a shot at the NCAA tournament.

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Like I said before, the Buckeyes making “The Dance” is a long shot. But it’s not out of the question.