We're in the final stretch of the college basketball regular season. There's 7 games left before the Big Ten Tournament, followed by the NCAA Tournament. And with the Buckeyes standing at 20-3, tied at the top of the conference, the schedule looks to be in favor of Ohio State.
If Ohio State wins their final 7 games, they will get the #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Here's what those seven games look like, and why it's looking good for the scarlet and gray.
2/6 - Michigan - There was a point when Michigan looked dangerous. They were 11-1 and seemed to have passion on the court. Then UCLA made them wear their ass for a hat and it's all been downhill since then. Michigan hasn't put together more than two wins in a row and they've lost 6 of their last 11 games. They've been pounded their last three times on the court, at Wisconsin, at Indiana, and at home against Iowa (who is barely above .500). They're fighting for their NCAA Tourney lives, but it looks like they're NIT material.
2/10 - Purdue - When the NCAA projections begin, expect to see Purdue's name in the "on the bubble" column a lot. They'll get in, but it's because their final five games of the season are against three of the Big Ten's weakest teams, Iowa (13-10), Northwestern (11-11) twice, and Minnesota (9-14) twice. Winning their final five games will give them 20 wins, and 20 wins in the Big Ten gets you an invite. But they weren't powerful enough to beat the Buckeyes on their own home court (78-60), and I doubt they'll be able to pull it off when they visit Ohio State.
2/14 - at Penn State - Are you kidding me? Penn State is 10-11, and they've lost 7 games in a row by an average of 13 points per game. Feel sorry for them, because four of their next five games are against Wisconsin twice and Ohio State twice. But while you're feeling bad for them, remember that we get two easy wins at the cost of that sympathy.
2/18 - at Minnesota - No. Sorry. They're 9-14 and have lost 6 of their last 8 games. Wisconsin plays them four days prior and will probably take all the life out of them....at least what little life still exists. The only thing to fear is complacency on our part.
2/21 - Penn State - See 2/14. Same thing.
2/25 - Wisconsin - The Badgers are not likely to face another challenge before this battle either, save for the Michigan State game at East Lansing four days prior. I fully expect Wisconsin to come in at 27-2 and Ohio State to be 25-3, and this game will be for the top seed in the Big Ten Tourney. They'll push it on TV ads for a week straight and they'll call it an epic game before Wisconsin's bus even arrives in Columbus. They'll talk about two Top 5 teams battling it out at the end of the season and how this game doesn't happen in the Big Ten often....until it happens again two weeks later in the Big Ten Tournament Championship. Ohio State fell by three points when these two teams played in Madison, and nearly took it to overtime. But this one's at home.....
3/3 - at Michigan - By this time, the Blue should be settled in to their NIT spot, but it's still Michigan. Be careful of complacency again. The Bucks should be good and rested, having six days off between games, and this tuneup for the Big Ten Tournament should be good for us. But I still am not impressed with the Wolverines and if Ohio State is going to make a serious run for the title, this is the best way to warm up.
There you have it. Seven games left. The road games all have weaker opponents, which bodes well for our chances, and the tough game is at home, where we have won a LOT of games in a row (22 as of this post). We have a good chance to be 27-3 headed into the tournaments. Now let's execute!