Buckeye basketball fans are all to familiar with how we got here. Ohio State was once ranked number 2 in the country but hit the skids, losing 6 of 7. Despite winning back-to-back games (at Northwestern, vs. Indiana) to improve to 14-7, OSU heads into a week with road games at Michigan Tuesday and at Wisconsin Sunday, at just 4-6 in conference play. They are currently tied with the Wolverines for 11th in the Big Ten standings.
Like Ohio State, Michigan was sensational early, with non-conference wins over Gonzaga, North Carolina and Creighton, rising to number 4 nationally. Also, like the Buckeyes, the Wolverines crashed after that, losing 8 of their next 12. They've won two in a row but Michigan's overall record is now just 13-8. These two teams, who two months ago looked like top 2 NCAA tournament seeds are in legitimate danger of sliding all the way out of the field of 68.
"This is a huge week for Ohio State," former Buckeye captain and 610 WTVN analyst Tony White said Monday night on Bucksline. "This is a week where you can either take control of your season again, or you can put yourself on the edge to allow somebody else to decide what's going to happen to you in March."
This will be Ohio State's first meeting with Michigan (they will host the Wolverines on March 1) and their second with Wisconsin. The Badgers (13-9, 6-5 Big 10) last month, beat the Buckeyes 61-57 in Columbus.
"Ohio State is playing two teams, Michigan and Wisconsin, that are fringe top 25 teams. Michigan and Wisconsin are teams that are kind of drifting around that could get top 25 votes depending on how they do during a particular week, but they're not really getting enough top 25 votes (to be ranked)," White said. "But they're both recognized as being pretty good teams. If you could score a win against Michigan and a win against Wisconsin on the road, you start to get attention again...You start to take control of your season again."
The Michigan game tips off at 7:00 on ESPN 2. Sunday's game at Wisconsin starts at 1:00 on CBS.
In addition to the Bucksline discussion on the upcoming schedule, we also talked at length about the win over Indiana, the absence of D.J. Carton, the Big Ten as a whole, the play of Kaleb Wesson, the impact of Justin Ahrens and much more. If you missed Bucksline Monday night, you can check it out by clicking here to go to our podcast page.