The Ohio State Buckeyes entered their battle with Michigan State a perfect 15-0. They left East Lansing 15-1 after being upended in overtime 72-68. While losing is never good and this one certainly stings, this is a minor bump in the road for Thad Matta and the Buckeyes.
Ohio State avoided getting blown out in East Lansing and showed plenty of resiliency in their comeback. They entered the half being behind and were down 17 with 7:05 left in the game. In a Big Ten Conference ruled by defense, it seemed as though the Buckeyes should have started warming the bus for the drive home. Instead, they came together and went on a 20-3 in the final 7:05 to send the game into overtime.
When the tourney comes, this loss won’t affect their seeding that much. They lost a very close game on the road to a very good Michigan State team. This isn’t going to make or break their season. Actually, it could likely give them a boost. Through their first 15 games, Ohio State was tested just once against Notre Dame. On Tuesday night, they were challenged by a legitimate title contender and stood up to the task — they just fell short of the goal.
The Buckeyes also grew not only as a team, but individually as well. LaQuinton Ross, one of the team’s best players through the non-conference schedule, got a dose of reality when he got abused by Adreian Payne. Sam Thompson dropped a game-high 18-points to go along with eight rebounds in his best effort of the season. Freshman Marc Loving played a very valuable 23 minutes and scored 10 points in the effort.
Yet again, Aaron Craft was valiant in the attempt and proved why he’s the team leader and MVP.
While going undefeated is cool and all, there is a lot of value that can be found in losing. The Buckeyes learned a lot about themselves as players and as a team, and it will greatly help them moving forward. They shouldn’t dwell on the loss to Michigan State as it won’t do them any good.
The Buckeyes are going to be fine. As stated earlier, this is a mere bump in the road on their way to the tourney. They are still a top-10 team — they just have a little bit of improving to do and it’s games like this one that makes it possible. While it goes in the books as a loss, Ohio State still came out winners in some way. Pouting about this loss is the worst thing they can do as they have no reason to be upset about it.
Besides, they’ll get them again in the season finale on March 9 in Columbus, and you can bet that it will be one highly-anticipated matchup.