Marshon Lattimore is NFL bound, Kam Williams should try to keep smiling and more

Colin Gay

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Today is Thursday, Jan. 12, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call. 


Johnnie Dixon needs a roommate 

The wait is over. Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore announced via Uninterrupted on Wednesday that he will forgo his final two seasons of eligibility and enter the 2017 NFL Draft.

Amid the sarcastic and hilarious tweets that chronicled the decision process for the cornerback, Lattimore was bombarded with many congratulatory tweets and messages after he declared. As expected, the free-speaking redshirt sophomore responded to many of them.

However, Lattimore got a taste of his own medicine from former Ohio State linebacker and newly declared Raekwon McMillan.

Lattimore is far from the only Buckeye to announce he is leaving school early for the NFL since Ohio State’s Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson on New Year’s Eve. This leaves the Buckeyes locker room a little less crowded — and wide receiver and Lattimore roommate Johnnie Dixon searching for a new person to live with.


Ohio State is not losing hope

Seventy-one points per game, 42-percent shooting from the field, 36-percent shooting from behind the arc. These should not be the offensive numbers of a team on a three-game losing streak. And now, with another tough matchup on tap — at No. 18 Wisconsin on Thursday night — Ohio State may be in “must win” territory early on in conference play.

Though Ohio State (10-6, 0-3 Big Ten) has been outscored by an average of just 5.5 points per game in its six losses, the Buckeyes are one of just two teams without a win in Big Ten play. Guard Kam Williams knows there are problems to be fixed … and he thinks they can.

“Where we are messing up, they are very correctable things, so that’s very encouraging as a basketball team,” Williams said. “It’s not like we are playing 40 minutes of bad basketball.”

Despite the mistakes and the losses in Big Ten play, Buckeyes coach Thad Matta is keeping things simple for his team.

“I don’t really care about your psyche or whatever,” Matta said. “We just have to go out there and play. We have to play better and we have to get the job done.”

The Buckeyes will have to get the job done against very good teams. After the Wisconsin, Ohio State returns home for the first time since Jan. 5 to host Michigan State on Sunday. Then come upstarts Nebraska and Northwestern before a home tilt against No. 24 Minnesota on Jan. 25. Even with those tough games ahead, the mentality for Williams is to just keep smiling.

“There’s a lot of season left,” Williams said. “Just ’cause we just lost three games don’t mean I’m not going to have a smile on my face. We just got to keep playing.”


The schedule does not get easier

Wisconsin (13-3, 2-1) also has something to prove Thursday, coming off its worst loss of the year, a 66-55 loss at Purdue on Sunday in which the Badgers set a season-low in scoring.

Ohio State has seen this narrative before, and it didn’t end well. The Buckeyes went into their Big Ten opener against an Illinois squad coming off a 25-point loss to Maryland to begin its conference slate. Playing with some extra fire, the Fighting Illini beat Ohio State 75-70 on Jan. 1, coming out of the gate shooting 48.6 percent and scoring 40 points in the first half.

Averaging 76 points per game, the Badgers are going to come out scoring. They have three players in the starting lineup averaging 10 points or more per game. Wisconsin is also a big team and uses size to its advantage with an average rebounding margin of plus-10.8. This is primarily due to the two forwards that dominate the paint.

If you are a Big Ten basketball fan, then you probably have heard of Nigel Hayes. Named the All-Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, the forward is averaging 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

However, the main Badger to watch out for in the paint is redshirt sophomore forward Ethan Happ. He leads the team in rebounding at 9.1 per game, with 30.8 percent of his boards coming on the offensive glass. He is also a producer in the paint, averaging 13.4 points per game on 64.6-percent shooting.

Wisconsin makes 48 percent of its shots, third in the Big Ten. Ohio State allows opponents to shoot 38.8 percent, but that number has dipped in Big Ten play. We could be in for a high scoring affair in Madison.


Spring is coming

With Ohioans in full-blown winter mode, it’s hard to think of warm weather. However, the Ohio State baseball team knows spring is coming. With 36 days until games begin, the players are working out at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, preparing for hopefully another successful season.

The Buckeyes are coming off of a 2015 Big Ten Tournament championship. After losing a lot of talent to the MLB draft, Ohio State is looking for more success with new players. It may be early January, but you know that coach Greg Beals and the rest of the baseball team is working for that common goal.


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