A catastrophic stretch continues to snowball for Chris Holtmann and firm.
After a dominant win over Northwestern to kick off the new yr, it has been downhill quick for the Buckeyes, who dropped their fifth sport in a row Wednesday in opposition to one among the Big Ten’s most beatable groups. Ohio State began the season 10-3 with a 2-0 report in convention play. Now staring down the barrel of the ultimate 13 video games of their league slate, the Buckeyes are sitting in thirteenth place in the Big Ten with a 10-8 report that places their NCAA Tournament potential in query.
This is not the first time Holtmann’s endured a skid of this magnitude. Following a 12-1 begin to the 2018-19 season, the Buckeyes dropped 5 in a row and 6 out of seven in the month of January to freefall out of the AP Top 25 for the the rest of the yr. Ohio State went 5-6 the remainder of the approach in the common season and received a sport in the Big Ten Tournament to earn a No. 11 seed in the Big Dance.
That group wound up with a first-round win in the NCAA Tournament, which is so far as any Holtmann-led Buckeye group has gone in March.
But the stage of competitors Ohio State misplaced to amid the five-game slide 4 years in the past was a notch above the groups which have overwhelmed the Buckeyes as of late. Yes, Purdue was the No. 1 group in the nation (and nonetheless the prime group in the Big Ten) when the Boilermakers escaped Columbus with a two-point win on Jan. 5. And sure, the Rutgers group Ohio State took to additional time on Sunday is sitting in second place in the convention standings.
In two of the previous three video games, although, Ohio State’s fell to groups that entered these video games amongst the backside two groups in the Big Ten. Minnesota was the solely group with no convention win when it took on the Buckeyes in Columbus final Thursday. Controversial game-changing name or not, the Gophers left the Schottenstein Center with a win. Nebraska was next-to-last in the convention standings earlier than edging out a 63-60 victory over Ohio State on its house ground Wednesday.
Even Maryland, which handed Ohio State a seven-point defeat in College Park on Jan. 8, is now twelfth in the convention with a Big Ten report of 2-4.
Back in 2019, two of Ohio State’s 5 straight losses got here to the eventual common season co-Big Ten champions (Michigan State and Purdue), and two of the different three have been in opposition to groups that completed in the prime six of the convention standings (Maryland and Iowa). If you embrace the Buckeyes’ sixth lack of that seven-game stretch, Ohio State took on three groups ranked in the prime 20 of the AP ballot at the time, with two of them ranked eighth or above.
And that is the drawback for this yr’s Buckeye group; the highway would not get any simpler from right here. The Feb. 19 rematch with Purdue is the solely ranked group left on the Buckeyes’ slate, however there are powerful outs throughout the schedule.
Next up is 12-6 Iowa (sixth in the Big Ten), which is able to journey a four-game successful streak into Columbus on Saturday. Two of these wins embrace Maryland and Rutgers, each of which beat the Buckeyes in the previous 10 days. After that, Ohio State performs at Illinois (fourth in the convention), the place Brad Underwood and firm have solely misplaced one sport all yr.
Ohio State closes out January with a highway matchup in opposition to Indiana, as soon as a top-10 group in the nation that has a double-digit win in opposition to then-No. 18 North Carolina (which additionally beat Ohio State this season) on its résumé. The Hoosiers simply blew out then-No. 18 Wisconsin by 18 factors over the weekend.
The Buckeyes open February in opposition to two of the Big Ten’s prime 5 groups (house in opposition to Wisconsin and at Michigan) earlier than internet hosting Northwestern and Michigan State squads that will not be simple outs, both.
A darkish horse Big Ten title contender lower than three weeks in the past, Ohio State now finds itself flirting with the backside rung of the convention. The Buckeyes are firmly on the bubble when it comes to NCAA Tournament speak, and as issues stand, Wednesday’s loss ensures extra analysts will place Ohio State on the outdoors trying in.
The Trojans, Terrapins, Broncos, and Wildcats make the lower pic.twitter.com/PCEihP1qzY
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) January 17, 2023
With every successive loss, it is turn out to be more and more tougher to see the slim margins of defeat the Buckeyes have suffered as a silver lining. While solely one among Ohio State’s eight losses has come by a double-digit deficit, it is solely received two out of 9 video games that have been determined by a single-digit unfold this season.
Ohio State’s outlook nonetheless has loads of time to change, however its current observe report has not impressed a lot confidence in that risk. For any optimistic hangers-on, it is time to press the panic button.