Connect with us

Ohio

Riding 15-game road losing streak, history is at stake as Ohio State men travel to Wisconsin

Published

on

Riding 15-game road losing streak, history is at stake as Ohio State men travel to Wisconsin


Yes, Ohio State is 2-8 in its last 10 games. Yes, the Buckeyes are 4-9 in the Big Ten. And yes, this team is almost certainly missing post-season play (of any kind) for the second consecutive season — it’s been that bad lately.

But don’t you dare try to tell me nothing is at stake as the Buckeyes (14-10, 4-9) travel to Madison Tuesday night to take on a reeling Wisconsin team. The Badgers (16-8, 8-5) have lost their last four games, including a 22-point drubbing at the hands of 11th-place Rutgers this weekend.

However, Wisconsin is still No. 18 in KenPom, No. 21 in the NET, and are 11-2 at home this season. That’s all to say that this Wisconsin team is still very talented, deep, and dangerous. Beating the Badgers within the not-so-friendly confines of the Kohl Center will not be easy.

Advertisement

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Advertisement

History is at stake Tuesday night in Madison, as Ohio State would tie the program record for longest road losing streak if it doesn’t walk out of the Kohl Center victorious. A loss Tuesday night would make it 16 in a row, dating back to Jan. 1, 2023, when the Buckeyes knocked off Northwestern in Evanston for its most recent road win.

Winning on the road is hard — always has been, always will be. That’s why the NCAA values road wins more than it values home wins when evaluating for the NCAA Tournament, and that is why teams celebrate road wins so heavily, especially ones that happen in conference play.

Big Ten teams have a combined record of 31-74 this year playing on the road, winning 29.5% of the time. However, at 0-6, Ohio State is the only Big Ten team that has yet to win a road game. Michigan State and Nebraska have each won on the road once, and the other 11 B1G squads have all won at least two road games — even Michigan!

During the 1996-1997 season — the final season under Randy Ayers — Ohio State lost its final eight road games. Then Jim O’Brien took over, and the Buckeyes lost their first eight road games of the 1997-1998 season as well. From 1996-1998, Ohio State had a combined record of 18-39 (6-28 in Big Ten play) and missed the NCAA Tournament both years.

Advertisement

Ohio State is 30-29 over the past two seasons (so far), with a 9-24 record in Big Ten play. The two most recent Buckeye teams have been better than the 1996-1998 teams overall, but have been concerningly similar to those awful teams in Big Ten play.

The typical rule of thumb is to win most of your home games, try to win half of your road games, and you should be in a pretty good place come March. This team is 10-4 at home, so they’ve taken care of the “win most of your home games” part, even after blowing an 18-point lead to Indiana last week at the Schott. The issue, obviously, is that the Buckeyes have not won half of their road games.

Can you imagine a world where Ohio State was 3-3 on the road, instead of 0-6? It would have a record of 17-7, and be 7-6 in Big Ten play. That would put this team pretty safely into the NCAA Tournament field.

Alas, Chris Holtmann and his Buckeyes don’t have any road wins to boast. Part of it may be youth. Winning on the road is tough, but winning on the road with a bunch of underclassmen is tougher. Another issue is how bad this team is in the second half of games. They have the second-worst second-half point differential in the Big Ten, ahead of only Michigan. Receding into your shell in the second half is how you lose games, especially on the road.

But more than either of those things, this group of players just doesn’t know how to win yet. Neither the freshman or sophomore classes — nine of the 13 players on the roster — know what it’s like to play on a good team with NCAA Tournament hopes. Jamison Battle has only played on bad teams before coming to Ohio State — another bad team.

Advertisement

The only two players on this roster who have experienced winning in any form are Zed Key and Dale Bonner, who won plenty of games while he was at Baylor. Until this group strings several wins together and really learns how to win, it’s hard to envision them winning any big games, like Tuesday’s showdown in Madison.

And if they don’t win, they’ll get the “opportunity” to have that record all to themselves next Thursday at Minnesota.



Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ohio

Jake Diebler tries to stay perfect as Ohio St. visits Minnesota

Published

on

Jake Diebler tries to stay perfect as Ohio St. visits Minnesota


Feb 18, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes interim head coach Jake Diebler motions from the bench during the second half of the NCAA men s basketball game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Value City Arena. Ohio State won 73-69.
Image: Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Ohio State will look to win its second straight game under interim coach Jake Diebler when it tips off against Minnesota in a Big Ten Conference matchup on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

Advertisement

The Buckeyes are coming off a stunning 73-69 win over then-No. 2 Purdue on Sunday in Diebler’s first game at the helm. Diebler took over for Chris Holtmann, who was fired on Feb. 14.

“What a resilient group,” Diebler said. “We have some great young men in there who came together … these last few days in a way that I don’t know if any of us fully anticipated that they could get to in a short amount of time.”

Now Ohio State (15-11, 5-10 Big Ten) will try to keep its momentum going against Minnesota (16-9, 7-7).

The Golden Gophers are coming off an 81-70 win against Rutgers on Sunday. Pharrel Payne led the team with 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Elijah Hawkins had a team-high seven assists.

Advertisement

Minnesota coach Ben Johnson praised Payne for his dominance in the paint.

“I thought he was possessed on the glass,” Johnson said. “I thought he went and got a couple statement rebounds, and those are loud rebounds. That trickles down to everybody else on the floor. They see a guy go up there and get it, there’s an intensity to that.”

This will be the second and final matchup of the regular season between the teams. Ohio State recorded an 84-74 win on its home court on Dec. 3.

The Buckeyes led 42-28 at halftime and held on in the second half despite being outscored 46-42.

Bruce Thornton led Ohio State with 26 points on 8-for-12 shooting in the win against Minnesota. Jamison Battle finished with 25 points on 7-for-12 shooting against his former school.

Advertisement

Dawson Garcia registered a double-double for Minnesota with 36 points and 11 rebounds. Cam Christie contributed 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting off the bench.

The Golden Gophers are 14-3 at home this season. The Buckeyes are 4-7 away from home, but that includes a 4-0 record in neutral environments and an 0-7 mark in opponents’ venues.

—Field Level Media



Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Ohio

Ohio Legionnaires bring Be the One to schools

Published

on

Ohio Legionnaires bring Be the One to schools


Members of American Legion Post 221 in Massillon, Ohio, recently took the opportunity to recognize teachers and share the Legion’s Be the One suicide prevention mission.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day last week, Post 221 visited 18 elementary schools and delivered teachers a tumbler with hearts, American flags, Be the One stickers and thank you cards.

“I thought it would be a good idea to say how much we love our teachers, and it would be good to go visit them and share about Be the One,” said Post 221 Commander Larry Stottsberry.

Stickers of The American Legion emblem were placed on the back of the tumblers “so when they use the cup they see that we care for them,” Stottsberry said. The American flags were for the teachers to use however they like, with many of them telling post members it would go on their home’s front porch. “It was really good that we could do that for them.” And the homemade thank you cards had a photo of Post 221 members that was placed in each teacher’s lounge.

Advertisement

As Stottsberry handed out Be the One stickers, he shared with teachers and principals how they could visit betheone.org to learn more about the Legion’s suicide prevention mission and the resources available.

“The teachers have access to listening to the students, they notice everything that goes on at home and if a student doesn’t want to talk to their parents, the next best thing is a teacher,” Stottsberry said. “If the teachers hear about a student or even a parent (in crisis), then they would know how to help with Be the One.”

Stottsberry said that “it felt really good” for he and the other post members – Pat Patterson, Howard Marrotto, Barrett Scott and Rich Mortland – to recognize the teachers. “They don’t get recognized enough for all they do.” And the post plans to visit high schools this spring and provide the same recognition and education on Be the One.





Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Ohio

Ohio State mailbag: Explaining NIL and the portal, Chip Kelly's impact on key players

Published

on

Ohio State mailbag: Explaining NIL and the portal, Chip Kelly's impact on key players


Ohio State finally has a full coaching staff, and it came at a good time with the Buckeyes just a few weeks away from starting spring practice. With James Laurinaitis taking over the linebackers, the final full-time position, we now move on to talking about the roster and next season.

But before we get there, I figured it is a good time to answer some questions.

Let’s get to it.

Note: Submitted questions have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Advertisement

Can you explain a little about how the transfer portal and NIL work? Does a player enter the portal first, or do teams let it be known that they are looking for a certain position and type of player? Can coaches discuss what the possible NIL money could be if the player commits, or do they introduce them to a collective administrator? — Mark E.

It’s a pretty simple process, honestly, but I know a lot of people are confused. This is the legal process. A player enters the portal, and while recruiting a player, the coaching staff isn’t allowed to bring up NIL first. If the recruit asks about NIL, the coaching staff will refer him to the player personnel person for the NIL collectives. For “The Foundation” that’s Cardale Jones, and for “1870 Society” that’s Tyvis Powell. From there the collectives can talk about NIL, Ohio State and whatever else they want.

There is one stipulation: If they want to talk while on an on-campus visit, the conversation must be had off-campus. Again, it’s simple, but I understand if people don’t know these things. I’m working on a larger NIL story for some point this offseason, as well. But those are the basics.

Will Jim Knowles stick with the two-linebacker scheme, or will he go back to the variations he used in his first season? — Marty C.

So first, Knowles utilized two-linebacker sets about the same ratio in each of the past two seasons. In 2022, Ohio State played with two linebackers on the field for 717 snaps and three linebackers for 70 snaps. In 2023, that went to 726 snaps with two and 94 snaps with three.

Advertisement

I’d expect that to remain around the same this year, but I do believe Knowles will get a little creative. Ohio State has the depth and talent to run more dime packages this year. The secondary could end up being the strength of the team, so Knowles will need to get those players on the field.

One other thing to remember is that if Knowles does move Sonny Styles to linebacker, it will open up more versatility. I love to imagine a dime package that includes Denzel Burke, Davison Igbinosun, Jordan Hancock, Styles at linebacker, Lathan Ransom, Caleb Downs and Malik Hartford on the field together. How do you pass on that?

But between Styles and C.J. Hicks, you have two players who can play in the run and the pass. Knowing that, I expect Ohio State to stick to its two-linebacker roots under Knowles this year and utilize three in obvious rushing downs.


In his eight years as a head coach, Chip Kelly has had a running back finish in the top 10 nationally in six of those seasons. (Robert Hanashiro / USA Today)

Who on offense benefits most from the Chip Kelly hire? — Stacey Y.

The easiest answer is two players: TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins.

Advertisement

Henderson already has been one of the most explosive running backs in the country, when healthy. Now add Kelly, who is known for his prolific rushing attacks, and Henderson has to be excited about that.

Historically, nearly every running back Kelly has had has put together a terrific season. Last year was the only time Kelly didn’t have a running back finish in the top 30 nationally in yards per game. In fact, in his eight years as a head coach, Kelly has had a running back finish in the top 10 nationally in six of those seasons.

That’s not to say that Henderson and Judkins will add another year to that. But if Ohio State is at its best, those two won’t be that high on the list because they are sharing carries.

Kelly’s offenses have finished in the top 15 in rushing offense seven times. It’s the consistency I like. The Buckeyes are going to have the most talented running back duo in the country next year and have added a play-caller who consistently has turned teams into efficient rushing teams.

There’s no doubt right now that Henderson and Judkins benefit the most. Henderson’s draft stock could skyrocket after this season.

Advertisement
go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Could Chip Kelly bring nation’s best run game to Ohio State? 5 thoughts on Buckeyes new OC

Kelly’s offense demands run blocking from the tight ends. Our tight ends seemed to struggle with that last year, and the receivers did too. Will this be a priority in the spring, or do the coaches need to add a blocking tight end in the portal? — Dave P.

Ohio State already added a tight end known for blocking: Ohio transfer Will Kacmarek. He likely will be a big part of the offense this year, in a bigger way than maybe I even imagined. He’s a fine receiver, he has 507 yards and two touchdowns in two seasons, but he is a strong blocker already. If he can transition to the Big Ten, Ohio State has a strong blocker already.

I will say, Gee Scott has to take a significant step forward in that aspect this spring, and I’m interested to see how redshirt freshman Jelani Thurman has grown in that aspect. Ohio State has the pieces to be a good blocking tight end group already, but it will take some development and reps this offseason. If it’s not a strength, Kelly is smart enough to adjust.

The roster is loaded obviously, but I’m curious what do you think is the weakest position group? — Max F.

Advertisement

It’s the offensive line by a wide margin.

Getting Donovan Jackson back was big because he played some of his best football in the last half of the 2023 season. The addition of Seth McLaughlin is a big deal because he’s a terrific pass-blocker already and should anchor the interior of the line.

I know many Ohio State fans have their thoughts on left tackle Josh Simmons, but he got better as the season went on. He was bad in the Cotton Bowl, but everybody was. He put together a strong base last year that he can build on this season, and we can expect him to take a big step forward. Ohio State loves his size and athleticism; he just needed some time to adjust to the level of play.

After that, I have serious questions. Josh Fryar just looked lost last year, but he could be a better guard than a tackle. If he moves inside, Luke Montgomery and Tegra Tshabola would be battling for the starting right tackle spot. I assume Montgomery wins that job seeing as Tshabola just hasn’t been able to push for serious playing time yet, although this could be the year.

Still, that’s not a lot of depth if people don’t make steps forward. Who on the bench can you look at and say, “That’s a good swing piece.” I don’t know that there is one right now, but that’s also what spring is for.

Advertisement

Ohio State is going to have to seriously develop some players this offseason because this offensive line could be the difference between a national championship.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Ohio State’s new D assistants bring continuity, flexibility for Knowles

In his UCLA articles and on his podcast, Bruce Feldman said that “some” Big Ten schools are in the eight figures for NIL, and UCLA was not even in the seven figures. He then went on to say in the podcast that he heard at least one school is at 20 million per year for the roster. Stewart Mandel said he does not believe that is sustainable: To raise 20 million year after year from donors, outside of the athletic department. Is that viable for OSU? Can the collectives raise 20 million per year or close to that to pay for the football roster? — Kevin H.

This is a good question. I’ll preface this by saying, I don’t believe Ohio State is quite at the $20 million mark, but I’m going to use it as a hypothetical since that’s what the question has.

Raising $20 million each year isn’t sustainable. I agree with Stew, but at the same time, I don’t think it needs to be.

Advertisement

Let’s use this offseason as an example. Ohio State spent a lot in NIL because it was aggressive in the portal, but that’s not necessarily new. Ohio State had six incoming transfers so far; it had nine last year. The Nick Saban retirement changed things, and Ohio State went hard after some big names, but there’s also the junior class returning instead of going to the NFL. That’s not going to happen every season, and when players leave after having big NIL contracts, others step into those roles. But they’re not always going to be as highly paid.

Use JT Tuimoloau as an example. He’s a superstar right now, a top-50 NFL Draft prospect. Who on this roster would’ve got that money if he decided to go to the NFL instead of returning? There’s nobody, not even a transfer, who would’ve been able to equal his financial impact.

Again, these are all hypothetical conversations because we don’t know the exact numbers people are making, but offseasons like this from Ohio State aren’t going to happen every year.

Ryan Day has committed to continuing to develop high school players while filling holes in the portal. You’re going to have offseasons like this when you spend big to keep players and add impact players, but there will also be slower periods.

So is $20 million sustainable? No. But it doesn’t have to be. Now, my name isn’t Phil Knight, and I’m not a co-founder of Nike, so maybe it is sustainable for him.

Advertisement

What does hiring Kelly mean for recruiting? Is Day going to shift his focus and recruit more? Is Brian Hartline the recruiting co-offensive coordinator with Kelly the play-caller co-offensive coordinator? How do you see this playing out past next season? — Josh C.

I’m not worried about recruiting because Kelly isn’t responsible for recruiting the entire offense. He’ll recruit quarterbacks, his position, and as long as Day is the head coach, Ohio State will never have a hard time recruiting quarterbacks to come to Columbus. As for Hartline, I love the role he’s in for his future. He has the offensive coordinator title and gets to learn from Kelly and Day about play-calling. This will only help him.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Can Will Howard win over Ohio State — and the NFL? Inside a winding QB journey

Does Devin Brown have a legitimate shot at starting if he performs well in spring ball? — Brian H.

Common sense would tell me that Will Howard didn’t come to Ohio State to back up Brown, so my initial reaction is Brown doesn’t have a shot.

Advertisement

But I do know that Brown isn’t going to go down without a fight. I hate that he didn’t get a chance to really play in the Cotton Bowl because he has the attitude I think people want out of the Ohio State quarterback. We just don’t know about the talent.

At the end of the day, Ohio State will give Brown a chance to win the job, and I bet Brown pushes Howard for the starting spot, but ultimately Howard will win the job.

(Top photo of TreVeyon Henderson (32): William Purnell / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)





Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending