It has been a roller coaster of a 2013-14 season for the Ohio State men’s basketball team, but with the Big Ten tournament upon us, the slate is officially wiped clean.
From here on out, the Buckeyes will be playing in a win-or-go-home scenario, be it in Indianapolis for the conference tournament or the Big Dance itself the following week.
If they win in the postseason, those head-scratching losses to Penn State will mean absolutely nothing. On the flip side, early exits would more than negate impressive victories at Wisconsin, at Iowa and over Michigan State.
Thad Matta is no stranger to success in Indianapolis, as the Buckeyes have captured three of the past four Big Ten tournament crowns, including the one from last year.
What’s more, Ohio State should have a degree of confidence as the No. 5 seed heading into Thursday’s tilt with No. 12 Purdue, and not only because the scarlet and gray are 2-0 against the Boilermakers this year.
The Buckeyes edged out Michigan State in a hard-fought two-point victory to close the regular season, capitalizing on a strong defense that held the Spartans scoreless for the final 4:30.
It was only fitting that Aaron Craft made the most important defensive play of the game on his senior day by lunging in front of Adreian Payne and grabbing the critical loose ball on the floor with less than a minute left.
Even in defeat, Tom Izzo complemented Craft in his postgame press conference, via Kyle Rowland of Eleven…