Loss to Maryland may have burst Ohio State’s bubble, Buckeyes dominating spring sports and more
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Today is Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.
Bubble burst for Buckeyes?
It’s been a tough year for the Buckeyes basketball team and there is no way to deny that, really. On Saturday, facing the No. 21-ranked Maryland Terrapins in College Park, Ohio State found itself in a must-win game against one of the Big Ten’s most talented teams.
Already without junior forward Keita Bates-Diop, the Buckeyes learned Friday that they’d have to travel to Maryland without sophomore point guard JaQuan Lyle.
Sophomore point guard JaQuan Lyle, who recently was relegated to a backup role after spraining an ankle, left Columbus Thursday because of a family emergency in Indiana, Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said Friday.
“His 19-year-old sister had a baby a few days ago, and there’s been some complications,” Matta said. “He texted me a little bit ago and said she’s (his sister) taken a turn for the worse. What that means I’m not sure. We’ve spoken with his mother and advised him to stay with her.”
The loss of Lyle was particularly devastating for the Buckeyes because they found themselves on the NCAA tournament bubble heading into the game. The 86-77 loss to the Terps may have permanently burst that bubble.
Ohio State was on the NCAA Tournament bubble coming in, at least according to the latest projections by CBS Sports. This might have been the loss that burst it. The Buckeyes had two chances at what definitely would have been two top-50 RPI wins against Maryland and Wisconsin, and a possible third if Michigan State stayed in the top 50.
With the opportunity to beat Maryland now gone, Ohio State likely has to win its final five games just to get back on the bubble, and it’s unclear how much longer they’ll be without Lyle.
The Buckeyes are 15-11 overall and have fallen to 5-8 in the Big Ten.
Ohio State’s men’s basketball team may fall short of the NCAA tournament and may no longer have championship aspirations, but there are plenty of other programs in the athletic department that do.
In fact, nine current Buckeyes teams are ranked in the Top 10 in their respective sports and are charging toward national championships in the spring. The men’s volleyball program, national champions a year ago and riding a 36-match win streak, is leading the way.
It’s the longest win streak in a head-to-head sport in Ohio State history. Incredibly, half of the streak’s wins (18) have come against opponents ranked in the top 12 and six have come against top-5 teams.
It’s not like the team is just sneaking by in these matches, either. The Buckeyes have won 108 of 128 sets over of the streak and 39 of 43 sets this season. The team has yet to go to a fifth set in 2017.
With the talent the team has on the roster – including 2016’s National Player of the Year Nicolas Szerszen – Ohio State is a favorite to play for the NCAA Title at the beginning of May.
Of course, no one can forget last year’s incredible run toward a national championship in wrestling, either. The Buckeyes grapplers are back at it, currently ranked at No. 4 nationally.
Literally the best wrestler in the world wrestles for the Buckeyes.
But it’s not just the Olympic Gold Medalist, Kyle Snyder, who earned that No. 4 ranking. The Buckeyes have three national champions, seven wrestlers ranked in the top 15, five ranked in the top 5 and three ranked No. 1 in their weight class.
Ohio State has just two losses on the season, and one of them likely would not have happened if Snyder were not busy winning one of the world’s most prestigious wrestling tournaments at the time.
It’s pretty incredible how many top-ranked teams are donning the scarlet and gray. As the Ohio State men’s basketball team is seeing attendance decreases, it’s no surprise these other sports are getting a lot more on-campus attention.
Could it be Cardale Jones time in Buffalo?
It’s time to give the people of Buffalo what they need. For long-suffering Bills fans, there’s only one thing that has the potential to end their misery: Cardale Jones?
Buffalo’s front office is in a precarious position as it heads toward the NFL Draft in April. The Bills don’t want to pay Tyrod Taylor a truckload of money for mediocrity at quarterback and they’re not in a position to draft one of the elite QB prospects.
So maybe the answer is the former Ohio State hero Jones. That is the answer that, right now, may be most appealing to the Bills’ brass.
Otherwise, they might be inclined to follow through with a plan that is thought to be appealing to at least one member of their hierarchy, General Manager Doug Whaley, and that is going with Cardale Jones as the starter.
Working in Jones’ favor, of course, is that the GM seems to prefer him. Working against him? He threw just 11 passes as a rookie in 2016. Now Jones could have the chance to be the man in Buffalo.
Jones, last year’s fourth-round pick from Ohio State, has plenty of talent, but only time will tell whether he has acquired much-needed maturity to understand the amount of time and effort it takes to prepare to play his best.
Here’s hoping Cardale wins the job and enjoys his moment in the sun … without J.T. Barrett challenging him.
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