We’re not gambling men (or are we), but we took our guesses at which games Ohio State may have the most trouble in.
We are so close to actual games starting, I can almost taste it —or perhaps that’s the aftertaste of honey barbeque wings from Buffalo Wild Wings earlier, who knows? Regardless, we are now four days away from Ohio State’s first game of the season. The Buckeyes host the Akron Zips on Tuesday night at 6:00, just in time to also catch the Champions Classic on ESPN right afterwards (Kansas vs Michigan State at 7:00 and Duke vs Kentucky at 8:00). It’s going to be a great night of college basketball.
Anywho, we’ve got one more pre-season debate to throw at you, and this one is a bit more intensive. This week, we looked at Ohio State’s schedule and counted how many losses we think the Buckeyes will take, and to whom. We then subtracted that from the total games on the schedule — 31 — to predict how many wins they’ll have. Last year, Ohio State won 21 games. Will they reach that benchmark this season?
Last week, Connor and Justin debated which Ohio State basketball player had the best performance in the team’s “This is Team 123” video. Connor picked “Chef” Meechie Johnson, and Justin took Jimmy Sotos, who broke it down with the Ohio State dance team. With 43% of the vote, Justin won, with “someone else” coming in second with 33% and Connor/Meechie bringing up the rear with 24%. That’s three wins in a row for Justin.
After 26 weeks:
(There has been one tie)
With Justin riding a winning streak, let’s take one final peek at the schedule and take a crack at which games might be the toughest for Ohio State.
Today’s Question: How many games will the Buckeyes win this season?
Connor: 26 wins
The easiest way to explain is to highlight which games I think Ohio State will lose. So, in order, here are the games that I don’t think the Buckeyes will win. I then added wins for the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament, and voila. Keep in mind we are making these guesses with zero games played so far, and will likely be way off. Cheers!
Duke (Nov. 30)
Paolo Banchero. If you’re not familiar, get familiar with it. Duke’s 6-foot-10, 250-pound freshman is a matchup nightmare. And after watching Ohio State’s exhibition, I’m not sure if they’ll have the personnel to hold him back.
At Indiana (Jan. 6)
Road games in the Big Ten are brutally tough, Assembly Hall is celebrating its 50-year anniversary, and that’s one of the loudest venues in the nation before you factor in that fans are coming in for the first time in almost two years.
At Purdue (Jan. 30)
I think Purdue will win the Big Ten this season, Ohio State has struggled at Mackey before, and they also have bad juju from losing their NCAA Tournament game there this past March.
Maryland (Feb. 6)
Ohio State will hold serve at home most games this season, but I think Eric Ayala and Qudus Wahab will present a big challenge to the Buckeyes. Ayala is a 6-foot-5, 205-pound shooting guard who Chris Holtmann actually recruited pretty heavily out of high school. He averaged 15+ points per game last season, and should be even better this season.
At Michigan (Feb. 12)
The Wolverines may have the most raw talent of anyone in the Big Ten, and by February they will be firing on all cylinders. Caleb Houstan and Hunter Dickinson are likely NBA Draft picks, and Moussa Diabate isn’t far behind. Add in the rivalry aspect of this on the road, and it’ll be a tall task.
At Illinois (Feb. 24)
The Buckeyes beat Illinois in Champaign last season, and I’m sure the Illini haven’t forgotten. Another raucous venue and another All-American center could cause some problems for the Buckeyes.
At Maryland (Feb. 27)
If I don’t think the Buckeyes can beat Maryland at home, I’m certainly not going to pick them to go on the road and beat them at the XFinity Center. Have you seen their student section?
Michigan State (Mar. 3)
Michigan State looks slightly above average nearly every season and then suddenly turns it on in February and March, striking fear into everyone they play. Beating the Buckeyes on their home court right before the tournament would just be another Izzo special.
Ohio State goes 2-1 in the Big Ten Tournament
I predicted last week that Ohio State will finish fifth in the conference, so going 2-1 would have them losing in the semifinals of the BTT.
Ohio State goes 1-1 in the NCAA Tournament, fails to make it to Sweet Sixteen
I’ve been burnt by this team in March so many times, I can’t pick them to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. Do they have the talent? Yes. Should they make it to the second weekend? Certainly. Will I stick my neck out for them again? Probably not.
Final record: 26-10
I tend to be an optimistic person, and I do feel like that will come out in my predictions. Hey, what’s wrong with keeping the hopes alive and having some fun with the hypotheticals. My prediction for the Buckeyes is 23-8 out of their 31 games.
I think they will finish in the top five of the conference, anywhere from three to five. The top two of Michigan and Purdue is a tier above in mu opinion, but the next four of Illinois, Maryland, Ohio State and Michigan State is really anyone’s guess to me.
I don’t think it is an unpopular opinion to say that the Buckeyes will win their first three. Akron, Niagara and Bowling Green just simply don’t have the depth or talent to keep up with the Buckeyes for a full 40 minute game. After those three though, it gets fun. The Bowling Green game is the start of the Fort Myers Tip Off by the way, but that first game is in Columbus.
After the Bowling Green game, Ohio State will travel to Xavier to play Xavier in the Gavitt Games. The Gavitt Games is basically the Big Ten-Big East challenge. I do think they win this game, especially with Xavier’s best player Zach Freemantle possibly being out or limited with a an injury.
The Buckeyes will then travel to Fort Myers for the rest of the Fort Myers Tip Off. They will play Seton Hall and then either Florida or California. I think they beat Seton Hall, Florida beats Cal and then Ohio State beats Florida. I like the Buckeyes depth in these games where they might play three in six or seven days.
After they get back from Florida, the Buckeyes host Duke at the end of November. The Buckeyes will be drained from the trip to Florida and I do think they lose a close one to Duke. Then, the Buckeyes play their two December conference games against Penn State and Wisconsin with a game against Towson in the middle. They should win all three of these.
The Buckeyes then get to play Kentucky in the yearly CBS Sports Classic. I think the knock off Kentucky simply because the Buckeyes tend to play the CBS Sports Classic well and particularly against Kentucky. The Buckeyes then will beat Tennessee Marin and New Orleans to end their non-conference schedule and head into 2022 13-1.
The start to the Buckeyes 2022 schedule and conference schedule is not terribly difficult, but I think they drop one early, losing to Indiana in Bloomington after beating Nebraska. Indiana is an underrated team and Assembly Hall is always a tough place to play.
The Buckeyes then beat Northwestern, Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Minnesota to go to 18-2 and officially set expectations through the roof. Then it gets tough. I think over their next five games, they will lose three. They will beat Iowa and Rutgers and lose to Purdue, Maryland and Michigan.
They will then beat Minnesota and Indiana, both at home and lose at Illinois. Then to end the season, I think they will beat Maryland and lose their last two to Michigan State and Michigan to finish the season a very respectable 23-8. Place you bets now. Responsibly of course.
For the big ten and NCAA tournament’s it feels impossible to predict so I will just say two wins in the big ten tournament and I will say an Elite Eight appearance. So three wins in the tournament and then they lose to like Texas or something. Have faith.