Thad Matta needs to pick it up if his team wants to contend
Who are the Ohio State Buckeyes? Are they the team who started the season 16-0 or are they the team who has lost 4 of their lost 5 to teams such as Nebraska and Minnesota? Right now they are playing like the team who doesn’t even know who they are.
Losing to Michigan State and Iowa has become normal for most Big Ten teams but losing to Nebraska and Minnesota should not have happened. Their win versus Illinois was edged out 62-55 with help from LaQuinton Ross’s 17 points.
Their upcoming schedule does not get much easier, having to play three ranked teams in their next five. They will play Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan with the only home game between those three teams. Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin’s home crowd has been more than intimidating for opposing teams, not as much as the Cameron Crazies but they have proved you do not want to play there.
This is not the same team as last year mostly because of the loss of Deshaun Thomas who led them to an Elite Eight performance where they lost to Wichita State, not to mention their two wins before the Elite Eight were with buzzer beaters against less than superb teams.
If Ohio State wants to make a run at a decent seed in the tournament, because they are more than likely already out of the Big Ten race they will need to beat some of the bigger teams they play such as their brutal upcoming schedule. Thad Matta will need to pull some tricks out if he wants to keep his Ohio State team in contention.
Week six was the last time the Wolverines were in the top 25, but is there a way for them to get back? Losing four games this early in the season is a problem for this young basketball team looking to get back on track.
Right now, the Big Ten Conference is one of the best in the nation and that will be Michigan’s biggest challenge to overcome. Right now the Wolverines sit at 4-0 in conference play and if they want to make a run at the tournament and a run at the top 25 Michigan will have to continue performing in conference play.
(PHOTO BY JAIRAJ) Nik Stauskas is the Wolverines top player and needs to continue to be.
After just beating Penn State by a score of 80-68 their next three games come against Wisconsin (3), who was just upset by Indiana, Iowa (14), and Michigan State (4), some of the hottest teams in the country right now despite Wisconsin’s loss. In my opinion Michigan will have to beat two of these other opponents if they want to have a spot in this list. Beating Wisconsin or Michigan State could put them there but Iowa is a must win.
The post play for the Wolverines is a big part due to the recent loss of star Mitch McGary. Fifth year senior Jordan Morgan and redshirt Junior Jon Horford will need to work together to achieve what McGary would do alone. Nik Stauskas will need to keep up his red hot play to keep this team in rhythm.
If the Wolverine’s can pick up their defense and post play against tougher opponents such as Wisconsin and Michigan State, the Michigan Wolverines should find themselves just inside the top 25.