Ohio State Basketball: Buckeyes flip script, 2-0 start in Big Ten play

EAST LANSING MI - MARCH 5: Keita Bates-Diop
EAST LANSING MI - MARCH 5: Keita Bates-Diop /

Ohio State off to a good start in conference play.

Coming off a dominating road win against Wisconsin, Ohio state faced Michigan Monday night looking to improve to 2-0 in Big Ten play.

Outside of the impressive performance against the Badgers last week, this season has been one of disappointing second halves for the Buckeyes. Inability to convert at the free throw line, turnovers in the transition game and wasted possessions have all resulted in blown games, and also games that were a lot closer than expected.

However, Ohio State sort of flipped the script against Michigan, and decided to move these struggles to the first half. A slow start is never good, especially for a young team, and the Wolverines made the Buckeyes pay.

Early on Ohio State was down as many as 19 and a win against our rival was not looking promising. Between the Wolverines’ shooting behind the arc and the Buckeyes’ poor finishing inside, there didn’t seem to be anything the Bucks could do to get back in the game. They trailed 43 to 30 at the half.

Thankfully the second half woes didn’t continue and Ohio State kicked it into high gear. At one point the Buckeyes, led by their inside game,  went on a 30-6 run and the defense was as much of a blocking presence as ever. Junior, Keita Bates-Diop finished with 18 points along with 9 rebounds.

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Down the stretch the Buckeyes were nearly perfect from the free throw line and were getting stops on defense consistently, which are both big factors in determining how their Big Ten season will play out. Finishing with a win by a score of 71-62 is a huge victory for the Bucks, especially with the way they turned things around in the second half

Starting out 2-0 in the Big Ten was a much-needed mark for the Bucks, after blowing significant leads to both Butler and Clemson.

Next, Ohio State will resume non conference play before playing the rest of the Big Ten schedule, due to the new format. They play William and Mary Saturday night and look to improve to 8-3 on the season. This is a quite favorable matchup size wise, and just as has been the case lately, I look to see freshman Kaleb Wesson utilized more and more.

This matchup marks the first of three games before the Buckeyes head down to New Orleans to face the Tar Heels of North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic. This is without a doubt one of the toughest games on the schedule and a matchup the Buckeyes need to be well prepared for.

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Hopefully Ohio State continues the high level of play shown during the Wisconsin win and most of the Michigan game, but we shall find out. With youth comes nerves, and the game of college basketball often exposes them all too well.