What the Ohio State Basketball team's next game looks like

The Ohio State basketball team fought to live another day in the Big Ten tournament after their win against Iowa, but now they have an even bigger game on their hands.

Mar 14, 2024; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes interim head coach Jake Diebler talks to
Mar 14, 2024; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes interim head coach Jake Diebler talks to / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday the Ohio State basketball team beat Iowa 90-78 to advance to the next round of the Big 10 Tournament. But now they have to face Illinois. Illinois was able to get a double-bye in the tournament after finishing second in the Big 10 rankings and being ranked at No. 13.

Ohio State and Illinois have already met this season back on Jan. 30, where Illinois beat the Buckeyes 87-75 in Columbus. But the Ohio State team back in late January is not the same team they are now. Currently, the Buckeyes are heavy underdogs in this game, but this isn't something new for them. They have been underdogs in almost every game they've played.

If Ohio State even still wants a chance to fight for a spot in March Madness this is a must-win game. The more they advance in this tournament the better the chance they will have to make March Madness.

Jake Diebler will need to continue whatever he's been doing with this Buckeye team because it's clearly working. He keeps winning games, he has changed the culture and environment in that Buckeye locker room. If Diebler can keep the same attitude they will beat Illinois.

This game could solidify Diebler as the next full-time coach of the Ohio State basketball team. The team is clearly responding to him, so why bring someone from outside to change? If Ohio State loses today, I think it's 50/50 on whether or not he stays or they bring in Dusty May.

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If Ohio State does beat Illinois they will play the winner of the No. 6 Indiana vs No. 3 Nebraska. Both teams are beatable and would actually be an easier win for the Buckeyes than against Illinois. The Buckeyes could even be favored in that matchup if they are able to beat Illinois.