After becoming the No. 2 ranked team in the country, Ohio State has lost 7 out of the last 10 games and is now squarely on the bubble.
Ohio State is in trouble. The Buckeyes started the year with high hopes. Those hopes and expectations rose during November as Ohio State plastered top teams and won with ease.
In December the Buckeyes saw their first loss, but also had quality wins.
January has been a disaster.
Ohio State has lost 6 out of their last 7 games and looks lost. This a defensive minded team that isn’t playing great defense in the most important moments, and is not scoring.
A month ago, I would have told you I thought this team was a lock for the Elite Eight as a floor and had a ceiling as high as winning the National Championship.
That has changed. Today, I am hopeful this team makes the tournament but not expecting a win.
Ohio State entered last night’s contest desperately needing a win, but after a solid first half let the game slip away resulting in another loss. The next three games are absolutely must wins if the Buckeyes want any chance to salvage this season.
Northwestern is up next and sits at the bottom of the Big Ten, and is a team Ohio State must beat. If the Buckeyes don’t beat the Wildcats they have no business playing a meaningful basketball come tournament time.
The next game is a winnable yet tougher challenge at home against Indiana. Ohio State has a much better record in Columbus than on the road so this could be a game when the crowd helps will out a victory. While this game is important, it may be another loss.
Then, another must win game is against Michigan. Nothing turns around a rough stretch like beating a bitter rival. The flip side is that nothing would put the final nail in the coffin like losing to That Team Up North when Ohio State is already struggling.
If the Buckeyes have any chance of returning to becoming a Final Four caliber team they must win at least 2 out of the next 3 games.