Despite losing to its bitter rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes could take a lot of good things out of a close road loss to a top-5 opponent.
The game went to overtime and Ohio State shot the ball well, but the most important takeaway for the Buckeyes was the discovery of secondary scoring. Ohio State had four players in double figures during the loss including LaQuinton Ross coming off the bench. That is something that bodes well for this team as it heads into its second battle with a top-5 team this week.
If the Buckeyes want to knock off the top team in the land, the Indiana Hoosiers, it must continue to get secondary scoring from guys not named Deshaun Thomas. Don’t get me wrong, Thomas is among the best players in the Big Ten, but no man can beat a team by himself especially a team ranked No. 1 in the country. It took a balanced effort for the Buckeyes to compete with the Michigan Wolverines on Tuesday so surely the same sort of effort will be needed to compete with a team of Indiana’s caliber.
Ohio State has enough weapons besides Thomas to compete with and beat Indiana, but all of them will need to show up at the same time. The strength of the Hoosiers is their depth and diversity of scoring which is why they sit atop the Big Ten at the moment. Nobody else in the conference has the consistent spread of scorers as Indiana does and the team that comes the closest is Michigan, who is now tied with Indiana. Ohio State must emulate this concept if it has any shot at beating Indiana.
If the Buckeyes do get the secondary scoring they had in Ann Arbor, it may be the Hoosiers who drop their second straight, preserving Ohio State’s streak of games without consecutive losses, currently the longest in the nation.