Ohio State isn’t a perfect team by any stretch, but it certainly looks like one headed back to the NCAA Tournament.
At the rate the Buckeyes are going again now, they might not even to sweat the bubble down the stretch.
That might have been almost unthinkable last month when the program was in the midst of a five-game losing streak in Big Ten play. But after stealing a 55-52 win on Sunday afternoon at Indiana, the Buckeyes are back to .500 in conference play and are once again on track to head to the tournament for the second consecutive time under Chris Holtmann.
There is, of course, still a lot of basketball left to play. But with a meaningful road win now added to an already solid resumé, Ohio State has weathered the rough patch and appears to be back on track for the Big Dance.
Lettermen Row is breaking down what else the latest win means with Three Points as the Buckeyes continue to battle back into the national mix.
Ohio State still killing itself with turnovers
Maybe this is becoming a broken record, but it’s still staggering to watch a team that is clearly well coached continue to have issues protecting the basketball. Chris Holtmann has done a magnificent job with the Buckeyes since arriving last year, and in this department he’s earned the benefit of the doubt since he doesn’t have a true point guard to help run the offense. But at some point, he needs to make sure his messages about making crisp passes, sharp decision making and dribbling with a purpose sink in or the Buckeyes are going to bounce off the NCAA Tournament bubble. There are obvious limitations on the roster right now, but that should only make playing fundamentally-sound basketball even more of an emphasis for a team that is more than capable of cutting down on the mistakes.
Kyle Young throwing block party for Buckeyes
No team in the Big Ten had blocked fewer shots this season than Ohio State heading into the weekend, but a healthy Kyle Young appears intent on changing that moving forward. His last-minute swat was critical in the win over Penn State on Thursday, and he proved it was no fluke by stuffing two shots in the opening half on Sunday against Indiana. The Buckeyes can always benefit from Young’s size and athleticism, but if he’s going to become a difference-maker by altering shots on the defensive end, that’s going to be a huge boost for a team that doesn’t always have much margin for error.
Don’t forget about Andre Wesson
For all the attention on his brother and the importance of Kaleb Wesson in determining the ceiling for Ohio State, Andre Wesson has quietly become somebody the team really relies on when playing its best. Andre Wesson isn’t afraid to take shots in clutch situations, he’s capable of being effective both in the perimeter and the post and he doesn’t get short-changed when it comes to defensive effort. Without his output in a defensive slugfest, the Buckeyes wouldn’t have even been in position to steal a huge road over Indiana — let alone seal it with an emphatic dunk from Andre Wesson.