WASHINGTON - With Ohio State’s run in the Big Ten tournament halted by a loss to Rutgers in the opening round Wednesday night, many wonder if that was the Buckeyes’ last game played for the 2016-17 season.
OSU owns a 17-15 overall record and a 7-11 conference mark. The NCAA Tournament is certainly out of the question for the club, but other postseason tourneys such as the National Invitation Tournament or the CollegeInsider.com Tournament may send a bid the Buckeyes’ way.
After failing to reach 20 wins for the first time in his 17-year head-coaching career, however, would OSU mentor Thad Matta even want this team to play another game this season?
“I haven’t even thought about that,” Matta said after the Rutgers loss. “I don’t know, I’ll have to sit down and think about that, what I want to do with these guys.”
Senior forward Marc Loving, who could have very easily played his last game as a Buckeye Wednesday night, would welcome an invitation to a postseason tournament.
“I mean, if we had the opportunity to play another game, I’d love to,” Loving said following the Rutgers game. “But how our season’s going, we don’t know right now.”
“If we had the opportunity to play, I’d like to play.”
Junior center Trevor Thompson wasn’t as fond of the idea of playing again this season.
“Honestly, I’m not sure (about playing another game this season),” he said Wednesday night. “I doubt it. If we do, then we do. But if we don’t, that wouldn’t surprise me.”
As for sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle, he said it’s ultimately up to Matta whether or not the team takes the floor at least one more time this year.
“That’s Coach Matta’s decision,” Lyle said following the loss to Rutgers. “Obviously, I love the game so being able to put the Ohio State jersey on another time this year, it’d be fun. But that’s on Coach Matta.”
Given that junior forward Jae’Sean Tate has only one more year of his Buckeye career remaining, he would not turn down the chance to lace them up again for the 2016-17 campaign.
“Of course, I would never say I wouldn’t want to play the game of basketball I love,” Tate said after the Rutgers game. “My time here is limited, going into my last season. So anytime I can take the court in scarlet and gray, of course, I’m going to take that opportunity. But we just have to see how everything works out.”
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