Ohio State Basketball: Buckeyes looking to avoid 4th consecutive loss

The Ohio State basketball team is 10-6 and moved to 11th in Big Ten standings. They have dropped three consecutive matchups, all in conference play. They are hopeful to get back on track on the road against Rutgers. Tip-off is at 2:15 pm ET from Piscataway, NJ, live on BTN.

Buckeye Preview:

Since suffering a nail-biting loss to previously No. 1 ranked Purdue on January 5th, the Buckeyes haven’t looked like the same team.

In both the road game at Maryland and home game versus Minnesota the Buckeye defense wasn’t effective start to finish. While the offense had stretches throughout both games where scoring seemed impossible. However, they did fight their way back in to both contests but just couldn’t get on the right side of the final score. It will be important for them to put those games in the past, especially Minnesota, where a bad foul call sealed their fate.

Brice Sensabaugh was again the leading scorer for the Buckeyes with 18. He struggled early in the game, opening 1-6 from the field. However, he would ultimately hit a massive 3-point bucket and the game tying free throws with 8 seconds left. Justice Sueing, Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil and Zed Key all also contributed double figures in points, but it still wasn’t enough.

It was very promising for Buckeye fans to see Zed Key back and playing significant minutes after missing nearly 2 games with a sprained shoulder. However, it was Holtmann’s lack of use of Okpara that was quite puzzling. He held his own against Purdue and had some foul issues against Maryland, but somehow lost any meaningful role to Eugene Brown. Holtmann even went on to admit he should have eased Zed back in.

A Look at the Scarlet Knights:

The Scarlet Knights are 12-5 on the season and sit at 2nd in the Big Ten. They are 3-1 in their last 4 including a win at #1 Purdue and at Northwestern.

The projected lineup:

Cam Spencer (G)

Caleb McConnell (G)

Paul Mulcahy (F)

Mawot Mag (F)

Clifford Omoruyi (C)

The guards for Rutgers are very talented. A new face, Cam Spencer, transferred in from Loyola and has gone on to be the teams leading scorer. He is tallying 13.5 points per game while also adding 3.5 assists. He has been a massive bright spot for a team with lots of confidence.

Reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Caleb McConnell, has picked up right where he left off with stellar defense. He helps assist the Scarlet Knights in being one of the conferences top defenses, as they hold teams to 56.6 points per game. He also adds 9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

A familiar foe leads the backcourt for Rutgers, as Omoruyi is the second leading scorer and leading rebounder for the team, sitting at 13.2 PPG and 10 RPG. He posed a tough matchup for the Buckeyes in the 2nd half of the first meeting.

Rutgers is a well-coached, experienced team looking to continue their success in the conference.


The Buckeyes probable starting lineup:

Brice Sensabaugh (G)

Sean McNeil (G)

Bruce Thornton (G)

Justice Sueing (G)

Eugene Brown (F)

Zed Key is healthy, but likely not going to be at full go. As Holtmann alluded to being more cautious with his return after overplaying him Thursday.

Rutgers is an extremely formidable opponent, that thrives off of defensive intensity and success. This surely isn’t the ideal matchup for a Buckeye team that has struggled to score consistently and looking to end a 3-game skid. Buckeye fans should certainly be nervous about losing a 4th straight game. They barely snuck by Rutgers at home on a questionable call, I don’t like their chances on the road.

Prediction: 69-62, Rutgers

Featured Image: Getty Images