Any coach or basketball player would never admit to taking the foot off the gas pedal at any point during a long season. But with seven more games until the Big Ten tournament, Ohio State is nearing the most critical part of its schedule.
The Buckeyes have four more road games to play before the regular season comes to a close, and two of those contests are against ranked squads. As teams try to dethrone Ohio State's stranglehold on the top spot in the conference, the Buckeyes can expect the competition to get more intense.
The team is currently riding its second longest winning streak of the season. The Buckeyes have rattled off six consecutive victories, but none of their remaining contests will be a walk in the park.
The four road games involve two longer trips that will take the Buckeyes to a different time zone, and the other two are against ranked opponents. Ohio State still has to visit Northwestern and Minnesota, as well as Michigan and Michigan State.
The fact that the Buckeyes have to play the Spartans twice in the final seven games of the season presents an interesting scenario. Theoretically, Ohio State should be playing its highest level of basketball all season … as will Michigan State. Unfortunately, the Buckeyes get to host the Spartans before traveling to East Lansing, because it's often harder to play a team the second time than the first.
If the season were to end today, Ohio State would almost undoubtedly be one of the four number one seeds in the NCAA Tournament. But some of the Buckeyes' remaining competition will be looking to book a number two or three seed. That makes these games the equivalent of a Sweet 16 or Elite Eight contest. Of course, the season doesn't end with a loss, but getting into that mindset could be key for the Buckeyes.
This is the point in the season that the bench players need to step up for the Buckeyes. Jared Sullinger, Aaron Craft and William Buford should carry that bulk of the load, but they need to stay fresh down the stretch. The future leaders of the Buckeyes will step in and make some big plays, and Ohio State should end up as the top dog in the Big Ten.
Related VideosReturning Soon!!!!
No related posts.
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/a2a