A New Era Of Buckeye Basketball

A New Era Of Buckeye Basketball

Ohio State sports is gaining national attention again and it isn't because of football.

In sports, it comes down to consistency.

For the Browns, it usually is an issue of not being consistent enough. The constant turnover of players, coaches, and front office personnel prevent any real tangible change from taking place. The other side of the coin is when teams find themselves in a rut. Things might not be bad but they are likely not improving and are often declining.

That was the position Ohio State basketball found themselves in during the final years of Thad Mattas tenure at OSU. Consecutive years of not making the NCAA tournament is one thing, but the inability to recruit in Ohio on top of that is inexcusable.

With those two issues staring OSU in the face, they elected to move on from Thad Matta, one of the longest-tenured and most respected coaches in college basketball. With Matta's departure, in comes Chris Holtmann and a new era of Ohio State Basketball. Hopefully.

This season, the Buckeyes are sitting at 22-7 overall and 13-3 in the Big Ten Conference. Having knocked off the two top teams in the conference in Purdue and Michigan State, the Buckeyes are poised to make a run at the conference title and will likely have a bid to the NCAA tournament.

All of that, in part, comes from a coaching change prior to the season (Holtmann is aided by potential conference player of the year in Keita Bates-Diop who was out with injury last season but let us just call that coincidence). It is clear that a change was necessary for this team. For seniors on the team especially, hearing a different voice in the locker room might have been just what they needed.

Different speeches before games and different gameplans can make all the difference in reinvigorating players love for basketball. It may sounds cliche, but everything may feel brand new and exciting for these players.

This quick and completely unexpected turnaround by Ohio State is one that should put the whole country on notice. Ohio State may not be a blue blood basketball school like Duke or Kansas, but if they can win enough games to inspire their homegrown talent to stay home, they can be a force at the national level.

But for that to be possible, Chris Holtmann needs to show that he is a capable recruiter. There are four Ohio natives in ESPN's top 100 basketball players of 2018. None are committed to Ohio State. If Ohio State is going to lose out to schools like Syracuse, Indiana, Northwestern, and Notre Dame on their home turf, that does not inspire confidence for the future of Ohio State Basketball.

The next LeBron James to come out of this state should be at least tempted to commit to his home state school. Right now, it doesn't seem like that incentive has formed. My prediction would be that that storyline will change after this season.

Nothing is a better recruiter than winning. Duke has the top three high school players committed, and it's because they win a lot and often. After a promising season like this one, the Buckeyes can almost officially call themselves "winners."

Only time will tell if this season is a magical one and done for the Ohio State Buckeyes and their new coach Chris Holtmann. They are far from having proved themselves with the Big Ten Tournament looming, along with the NCAA Tournament. If you want my prediction, the Buckeyes are in a potent recruiting location at a school that has plenty going for it in terms of location and academics. I think the Buckeyes are here to stay. Mark your brackets accordingly.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Portland Is The Three Seed, For Now

Are the Trail Blazers good enough to dethrone the top-two teams?

The Portland Trail Blazers are the three seed right now in the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association. However, the difference between the three seed and the ten seed is not very many games at this point in the season.

They are behind the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets who look as if they are on a different level so far this year with their play.

Damian Lillard has been just what the Blazers need in terms of scoring and giving the ball to his teammates in the perfect moments. His supporting cast of CJ McCollum, Ed Davis, Evan Turner and others has also been playing extremely well lately.

Davis has become one of the best offensive-rebounders in the league and has been giving the team a lot of second-chance opportunities.

This team is playing well together and recently coming off of a win against the Golden State Warriors without Stephen Curry.

Many are still wondering if this Blazer team is legitimate in the West because they will most likely have to face the Rockets or the Warriors, and they haven’t made it too far in previous seasons.

They are all playing well right now and hitting a hot streak, but it may be too early and the other teams may be too much in the playoffs.

James Harden and the Rockets, as well as, Stephen Curry with the Warriors are the primed favorites to be in the Western Conference Finals. The two teams are well above the rest of the conference and have the most stars on their team.

The Warriors are probably the favorites again to represent the West in the Finals, just because of their talent and experience being there multiple years in a row now.

In order for this Blazer team to stay in the three seed, as well as continue on to win some playoff games, they will need a few things to happen.

They will need to stay hot and keep making their shots, they will need Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to continue shooting extremely well, the supporting cast as well as young players getting more involved, and maybe some luck from the other teams losing.

I fully expect the Trail Blazers to make it into the playoffs, but I am unsure how far they will make it in the extremely talented Western Conference.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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