Identifying Ohio State’s 1st Potential Loss

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Ohio State is still #1 and the last remaining unbeaten in college basketball. However, following their narrowest of escapes against a much less talented Northwestern team on Saturday night; it’s pretty obvious they’re not going to run the table this year. Last week we explored the chances of it actually happening; now we’ll look at where they might pick up that first L.

By Paul M. Banks

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tOSU has been living on the edge during Big Ten play beating the Illini by five, Northwestern by one, Penn State by three, Minnesota by three, and Michigan by four. They’ve been winning, but obviously winning very ugly.

The most obvious prediction of where OSU will fall is at Wisconsin February 12th; a place where Thad Matta has never won ever. There will be a lot of red in that pre-Valentine’s Day match-up, and this game could evoke memories of their famous 2007 ESPN College Gameday contest. And of course the school’s meeting in college football as well- where the #1 undefeated Buckeyes came to Madison and suffered their first loss.

I can’t see them losing ever at home this season, but the fans in Columbus truly don’t deserve the team they have. Like Penn State and Notre Dame, people are so dysfunctionally obsessed with football there that they overlook the quality of the basketball team they have. It’s a shame the Buckeyes can’t sell out Value City Arena more often. Because this year they’re more nationally relevant in basketball than football.

Trips to Minnesota Feb. 6th and Purdue Feb 20th will be treacherous. And don’t forget Happy Valley, where the Nittany Lions have proven to be pretty tough this season; notching three wins over top 20 teams already. The Buckeyes will not likely finish their road slate unblemished, and I’m predicting two losses before the Big Ten tournament commences.

“What is it, January 29th, and there’s one team left that hasn’t been beaten? So we’re going to celebrate our wins, these things are hard and difficult,” said Matta Saturday night.

“And I think the challenge is everybody plays the score comparison: this team beat this team by this and that team beat that team by this, so this means this, and it doesn’t mean anything. You got to win the game that you’re playing and I saw enough things that upset me throughout the course of the game that we need to get addressed and get better at, and a lot of it is concentration.”

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He doesn’t have a real nickname, but he is also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

He does a weekly radio segment on Chicagoland Sports Radio.com and Cleveland.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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