The Buckeye basketball team is reeling after dropping two in a row, but it comes home to face Rutgers to try and get back in the winning column and keep pace with Michigan State and Purdue.
Ohio State (22-7) (13-3) vs. Penn State (13-16) (3-13) Game Preview
Broadcast, TV, Game Time
Date: Tuesday, February 20
Game Time: 7:00 pm ET
Venue: Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
After surprising everyone in the Milky Way Galaxy, the Buckeye basketball team has suddenly been bumped out of orbit and lost two in a row to fall out of first place.
But not all is lost. Ohio State sits just one game still behind Michigan State, and if it can win its last two games, there is hope that the Spartans will drop a game and the Buckeyes can elbow their way into the Big Ten tournament with a share of the league title and get the benefit of being the No. 1 seed.
However, if it drops another, it could fall all the way to the No. 3 seed and have to climb uphill to make it to the tournament championship game, and lose some seeding for the NCAA tournament.
The final two game stretch begins with a game against Rutgers at home, which should be one OSU can get by, but nothing is for certain any longer. Chris Holtmann and company need an emphatic win to get their confidence back.
Ohio State Short Attention Span Game Plan
It all starts and ends with point guard Corey Sanders for Rutgers. He’ll have the ball in his hands more than any other player for the Scarlet Knights, and if they have any designs on pulling the upset, he’ll try to shoulder the load and will his team to victory.
Ohio State can’t completely forget about guard Geo Baker and forward Deshawn Freeman, but if it can clamp down on Sanders, and get everyone rallying to help when he beats his man off the dribble, it can force him into bad shots.
He’s been known to take a few ugly ones (and sometimes make them), but he can be forced into a bad game where he tries to do everything.
On offense, Ohio State has the inside advantage in this one. Keita Bates-Diop can still do his thing on the perimeter and with one-on-one matchups in space, but Jae’Sean Tate and Kaleb Wesson should be able to get plenty of looks in the paint. Rutgers just doesn’t have the defensive length and girth to provide enough resistance.
Oh, and there’s this. Ohio State needs to stop the bleeding when it comes to turnovers. When the Buckeyes win, they have inevitably done a better job taking care of the ball. Against Michigan, OSU had fourteen whoppers.
You can’t let a team that shouldn’t hang around do so by giving them extra possessions.
Key Player For Ohio State
Kaleb Wesson. The OSU center has shown flashes of his potential at times, but at others, he’s had a hard time finishing and dominating teams that he should.
This is one of those games.
The Scarlet Knights like to go small and space things out to try and get buckets on the offensive end, but that has its problem when trying to defend.
Wesson is only 6-9, but has a wing span over seven-foot, and the body and footwork to be a valuable asset — especially against this Rutgers squad.
Chris Holtmann won’t go away from the perimeter completely with Bates-Diop and the guards, but OSU would be foolish to not play through Wesson at times during this one.
How It’ll All Go Down
This Ohio State team needs a game to get its confidence back, and this should be it. Rutgers is a scrappy team that’ll try to buzz around and muck things up, but it just doesn’t have the personnel to stay with Ohio State on the boards, or defensively when matching up the size advantages.
The Buckeyes are coming home after licking their wounds with two-straight losses, and they’ll get right in this one and cruise to a hard-fought, yet relatively smooth win. Nothing’s coming easy right now, but there shouldn’t be a problem in this one.
Ohio State 72, Rutgers 60
Ohio State -16
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