The Ohio State basketball team struggled during the first half of the Big Ten schedule but things are looking up heading into the final 10 games.
When Ohio State resumed Big Ten play January 5th against Michigan State with a 12-1 record there were high expectations for the young team. With the Buckeyes losing six of eight games and having a 4-6 conference record not so much.
However, they enter the final 10 games with a little momentum, winning two of the last three games, and have a more favorable schedule from here on out. And the next three games are against teams below them in the standings.
Ohio State takes on Penn State (1-10) tonight at home, Indiana (4-7) Sunday on the road and then Illinois (4-8) at Value City Arena a week from today. All three games are winnable and the Buckeyes could head to East Lansing to play the Michigan State Spartans with a 7-6 Big Ten record.
Beginning with that game things get more difficult. But if Ohio State can get through the Big Ten schedule with a 10-10 record and win a game or two in the conference tournament, a berth to the NCAA Tournament is possible.
The Big Ten is strong this year and some think as many as eight teams could make “The Dance”.
Here are keys for the Buckeyes to have a strong finish the last half of the conference schedule.
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Kaleb Wesson is going to have to stay out of early foul trouble like he did in the win over Rutgers. He doesn’t have to play 38 minutes or score 27 points like he did against the Scarlet Knights, but he has to be on the floor a large percentage of the time to make the offense flow.
Freshman Luther Muhammad has to continue to be more involved on the offensive end. And it wouldn’t hurt if freshman Duane Washington and sophomore Musa Jallow would do so as well.
Hopefully sophomore forward Kyle Young will recover from his leg injury and join the team in the next couple of weeks. It would be nice if Ohio State had another inside presence on both ends of the floor.
It’s been a difficult stretch for this young basketball team but the season is far from lost. If the Buckeyes make a strong push the last 10 games, and have a decent showing in the Big Ten Tournament, they could go dancing in March.