For the fourth straight time, the Ohio State Buckeyes have been defeated, this time at the hands of Nebraska, 68-62. At one point, they were ranked third in the country and 15-0. Now, they risk falling out of the top 25 as they are 15-4 including a 2-4 Big Ten record. While you’d like to point to a positive at a time like this, it’s hard to find anything on this Ohio State team to be positive about.
OK, that might be a stretch. They are still one of the toughest teams defensively and boast a fearless leader in Aaron Craft, but other than that, there’s not much to be happy about if you’re Thad Matta. Your team has just come apart in its last four contests and has been knocked off by two ranked teams and two unranked teams. Columbus, we have a problem.
Ohio State has no clue what they are doing offensively. It looks unorganized, messy, sloppy and just downright pitiful. They don’t have a go-to player as Lenzelle Smith Jr., LaQuinton Ross and Shannon Scott are too inconsistent to rely on. Down low, they don’t have a big man to rely on. Amir Williams gives a good effort and so does Trey McDonald, but you can’t expect them to carry your team. Adreian Payne of Michigan State showed us that.
When they have come across a team that has been able to match their intensity defensively, they don’t have what it takes to win on offense. It’s either they play fantastic defense, or lose. There is no middle ground. That’s what Michigan State, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska have done in the past four games. Simply put, they matched Ohio State’s intensity on defense and beat them. If Ohio State needs to make plays offensively, they don’t have the players to get that done.
It was obvious throughout the non-conference schedule that the Buckeyes were an overrated basketball team. However, I don’t think anybody expected them to be this overrated. This doesn’t look like a team worthy of a top 25 ranking and certainly doesn’t look like a team worthy of a tourney spot.
As it currently stands, Ohio State won’t make it to the big dance in March. They have too many problems and playing tough defense isn’t going to fix them. Matta and his bunch have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to turn things around. They better work quickly as they welcome a tough 13-6 Illinois team into Columbus on Jan. 23.