Ohio State Basketball: Buckeyes Try to End Historic Losing Stretch Against Michigan

The Ohio State basketball team entered February with a loss, moving to 11-11. Their 2023 has had an unfortunate start as they a 2-8 to begin the year. Each game is a must-win at this point to try and salvage the season. Today they travel to Ann Arbor for a battle with Michigan. Tip-off is set for 1:00 pm ET on CBS.

Buckeye Preview:

The Buckeyes were a 7.5 point favorite against Wisconsin at home, yet found themselves losing yet again. The first half was about as ugly as we’ve seen all year, as the Buckeyes couldn’t score and couldn’t take care of the basketball. To make matters worse, Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann had enough of the poor officiating as well, leading to a double-technical near the end of the 1st half. Following his ejection, the free throws, and possession, Ohio State would trail 43-27 at the half.

The second half was much better for the Buckeyes sans Holtmann. It was evident the ejection lit a bit of a fire and acting head coach Jake Diebler re-discovered some energy on the roster. The Buckeyes were able come within one possession with under 2 minutes, but still lost 65-60. There was a poor pass and a player control foul, both committed by Isaac “Ice” Likekele, that made it difficult to overcome Wisconsin’s lead.

Overall, this was a game that the Buckeyes could have won and they taken better care of the ball. Surely Brice Sensabaugh fouling out with around 8 minutes remaining in the game wasn’t ideal. But in all these losses the same trends are appearing, poor free throw shooting, carelessness with the basketball, and no flow on offense.

These players and coaches know what’s gone wrong, that can’t be denied. The question is, can they find a way to correct these errors enough to string together some wins and make a run at the NIT and maybe the NCAA tourney.

A Look at the Wolverines:

The Wolverines record-wise aren’t much better at 12-10, however, they have played better in conference than the Buckeyes. Although, they sit just one game over the .500 mark, so not great either.

The projected lineup:

Dug Daniel (G)

Kobe Bufkin (G)

Jett Howard (G)

Terrance Williams (F)

Hunter Dickinson (C)

The Wolverines aren’t a dominant team in any respects, they certainly aren’t playing at the level fans have been accustomed. However, they do still have their workhorse center, Hunter Dickinson. He has caused trouble for the Buckeyes in his time and slowing him will be the key to success, Zed Key and company. He leads the team with 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.

Jett Howard and Bufkin sit at 14.6 and 12.2 points per game, the scoring duos success typically indicates success for the team. This another pair of aggressive scorers that the Buckeyes guards must attempt to lock up.

Ultimately, there isn’t a real recipe to success when facing your rival. Both teams are going to be doing everything they can to get a win, especially since they are both reeling in 2023.


The Buckeyes starting lineup (based off last outing):

Isaac Likekele (G)

Sean McNeil (G)

Bruce Thornton (G)

Bruce Sensabaugh (F)

Zed Key (C)

The Buckeyes are facing an uphill battle heading into a sold-out Crisler Center for a rivalry game, on a losing streak.

The Buckeyes are going to need everyone on their A-game for not only today but the remainder of the season to earn wins. Brice Sensabaugh and company must show up and play a complete 40-minutes.

I’d love to think the Buckeyes right the ship against their rivals after the late momentum gained from Wisconsin. But, I just don’t have confidence in the team and their play has justified that. I think they’ll battle, staying in the game all the way through, but a late game collapse will ice the cake.

Score Prediction: 80-78, Michigan

feature image via: Jay LaPrete, AP Photo