The Buckeyes' start to the Big Ten season has been a worst-case scenario.
The most important day might be Jan. 4. That's when Evan Turner's back is X-rayed again. If all goes well, Turner could be back in the lineup in two weeks, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Ohio State is 3-3 in games Turner has missed, but the disturbing part has been an 0-2 start to the Big Ten schedule. The Buckeyes followed up a 22-point blowout loss at Wisconsin with a surprising 73-64 loss to Michigan on Jan. 3.
The 73 points allowed to the Wolverines are the most since the Bucks surrendered 77 in a loss to North Carolina on Nov. 19.
Ohio State had dominated its series with Michigan recently. The loss was just the second in the last 11 meetings, and the first time a Michigan team beat a ranked Ohio State team in 11 years.
More importantly, it's the first time coach Thad Matta has started a season 0-2 in the Big Ten.
It's not going to get any easier. Following a home game against Jan. 6 against Indiana, the Bucks have a brutal three-game stretch against Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin. Only the game against the Badgers is at home.
It's hard to imagine Turner returning anytime before the game against the Badgers. By then, Ohio State could be 1-4 in the conference and fighting for survival.
--Ohio State enters its home game against Indiana 9-0 at Value City Arena and shooting 54 percent as a team. The Buckeyes are shooting 43 percent on 3-pointers at home.
--The Buckeyes connected on 10 3-pointers against Michigan, their most in one game since hitting 16 against Eastern Michigan on Dec. 5.
ON THE SPOT: The Buckeyes are typically known for their defense, but need a better effort than they showed against Michigan. Ohio State looked listless and lethargic in getting blown out by the Badgers, but their defense failed them against Michigan. Forward DeShawn Sims had 28 points -- nearly double his scoring average of 15.8. The Bucks must do a better job of defending both on the perimeter and in the post.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I need to attack more." -- point guard P.J. Hill, on getting to the basket more often to open up the perimeter for shooters like Jon Diebler and William Buford
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP: Evan Turner's broken back has crippled any momentum the Buckeyes were building. Ohio State is 3-3 since Turner's injury and, more importantly, 0-2 in the Big Ten.
PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F David Lighty, C Dallas Lauderdale, G P.J. Hill, G Jon Diebler, G William Buford. Key Subs -- G Jeremie Simmons, F Kyle Madsen, C Zisis Sarikopoulos.
Ohio State 72, Cleveland State 59
Wisconsin 65, Ohio State 43
Michigan 73, Ohio State 64
vs. Indiana, Jan. 6
at Minnesota, Jan. 9
at Purdue, Jan. 12
vs. Wisconsin, Jan. 16
vs. Northwestern, Jan. 19
IN FOCUS: The Buckeyes have lost on their last two trips to Minneapolis, but can ill-afford to extend that skid to three. Assuming Ohio State beats Indiana at home, a win against the Gophers can pull them back up to .500 and keep them floating in the Big Ten. Another loss drops them to 1-3 and buries them entirely too early.
--Evan Turner's broken back was scheduled to be X-rayed again on Jan. 4. Depending on the results, team doctors told the Columbus Dispatch it's conceivable Turner could be back within two weeks.
--Jon Diebler broke out of his shooting funk against Michigan, shooting 6 of 14 from the field for 17 points. It's the most points he's scored since scoring 21 against Eastern Michigan on Dec. 5 -- the game Evan Turner broke his back.
--Sophomore William Buford grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds in the win against Michigan. He has averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds through the first two Big Ten games.
Going Inside The Ohio State Buckeyes
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