Ohio State Basketball: OSU’s win over UM can be momentum-changing

The Ohio State basketball team’s 61-58 win over Michigan on Tuesday could be a catalyst for shifting the trajectory of the Buckeyes’ 2019-20 season.

Tuesday was big for the the Ohio State basketball team. The Buckeyes started their season 11-1 with big wins over Villanova and Kentucky. OSU’s success ultimately earned them a No. 2 ranking in the both the AP and Coaches polls heading into a matchup against West Virginia on Dec. 29.

Issues on offense then became evident in that game against WVU and they only grew over the next month.

Head coach Chris Holtmann‘s team then did a complete nosedive from being a win over West Virginia away from potentially bumping Gonzaga from their No. 1 perch, to losing six of seven and falling to a 2-6 record in Big Ten play.

Then against Northwestern (6-15, 1-10) on Jan. 26, the Buckeyes got away with a 71-59 win and followed that with a 68-59 win over Indiana (15-7, 5-6). However, neither win seemed to be what the team needed to grab back any semblance of the level they were at through the first two months of the season.

The win over Michigan on Tuesday though, showed that the Buckeyes defense can buckle down and stop a team that is second in the Big Ten with 72.6 points per game. Turnovers were also down (8) for a team that is averaging 13.2 per game.

Led by Kaleb Wesson– 23 points and 12 rebounds – and Duane Washington Jr. –17 points off the bench – the Buckeyes battled their rivals to the final buzzer and came away with a tough win.

If they can cut down on turnovers and get back to shooting three-pointers at a high clip – 18th in the country at 38.1 percent – Ohio State could return to being a tough matchup in March.

Any win over a rival is always big, but Tuesday night’s win could be what this Buckeyes team needs to get back to the level of play they were at during the first two months of the season.

Rivalry wins can create momentum and hype that could carry the Buckeyes back into a comfortable spot in the NCAA Tournament and away from the bubble.

Next: Is OSU in danger of losing Kerry Coombs?

In a season that is wide open and lacks a true No. 1 team, physical wins are what will be needed to make any sort of run in March.

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