Future Still Bright For OSU, Kellogg Says

No. 2 Ohio State suffered its second loss in three games Sunday with a road defeat at the hands of No. 11 Purdue. While that might seem to be cause for concern following a 24-0 start to open the season, CBS college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg told BuckeyeSports.com that it is not the case.

Clark Kellogg has a message for Ohio State fans following the team's second loss in three games.

Kindly step back from the ledge, please.

On Sunday, the No. 2 Buckeyes dropped a 76-63 decision on the home court of No. 11 Purdue. It came eight days after they had suffered their first loss of the season in a road contest against then-No. 13 Wisconsin.

In the bowels of Mackey Arena after having called the game for CBS, Kellogg told BuckeyeSports.com that the expectations for the Buckeyes remain the same as they were before the game against the Badgers.

"They've played two really good teams that play really well at home," the former Buckeye said. "Ohio State's unbeaten at home too. The fact that you come to Purdue and you go to Wisconsin, Wisconsin played almost a perfect 13 minutes to beat them.

"Nobody was going to beat (the Boilermakers) today the way E'Twaun Moore played. That's just the way it happens."

In the loss to Wisconsin, guard Jordan Taylor got untracked in the second half and scored 21 of his game-high 27 during the stanza to key the four-point victory. In Sunday's contest, Moore went off for a career-high 38 points to sink the Buckeyes.

Standing outside of his team's locker room, OSU senior forward David Lighty said the two games had more than a few similarities with perhaps the lone difference being the Purdue fans did not rush the court like their counterparts did in Madison.

"The environments at both places are always like this," he said. "It's nothing new."

The loss dropped the Buckeyes to 12-2 in Big Ten play and moved Purdue to within one game of a first-place tie with four contests remaining. It also made them the final top-four team in the Associated Press poll to suffer a loss this week, joining Kansas, Texas and Pittsburgh on that list.

Kellogg said that although it is the first time that has happened since the 2003 season, it should not come as a major surprise.

"You think about the losses: they were on the road in conference play," he said. "Now, had they been at home, that is a cause for some (concern) but if you get beat on the road in a really good conference, even if it's an unranked team that beat you, that to me is not earth-shattering. That's what happens in college basketball. Home teams win."

After the game, OSU head coach Thad Matta pointed out that the Buckeyes are 6-2 in conference road games this season. Three of their final four games are at Value City Arena, meaning the Buckeyes find themselves in good shape as they try to close out a title.

"That's why I've said all along you have to take it one game at a time," Matta said. "It's been an incredible stretch. That's why I don't panic at this particular juncture. We've got to continue to keep the focus. Our guys know that we have to play better basketball."

As the events of the week across the nation showed, Kellogg said the future is still bright this season in Columbus.

"They're a Final Four-caliber of team," he said. "You always have to look at the landscape. Who else is out there? Kansas, Pittsburgh, Duke, Texas. To me, Texas is the best team. I think they're the best team. Kansas is right there with them, but whether they play the best in the one-and-done format of the tournament – there's a lot of basketball left to be played."

There remains work to be done, however. Kellogg pointed out the fact that the Buckeyes have just one perimeter player who can create his own shot on a given possession: junior guard William Buford. In addition, the analyst wondered how OSU will fare against a team with two mobile big men like they would encounter in games against Kansas and Texas. Plus, in a contest like the one OSU found itself in Sunday afternoon, the ever-present bench question was raised.

"The thing about Ohio State is, I don't think it's a major concern, but the depth is a problem," he said. "It showed today when Buford was in foul trouble. It affects their ability to be their best.

"(However,) they're still clearly one of the top teams in the country and they're going to get a good seed in the tournament and they're going to have a chance to make a deep run."

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