When Chris Holtmann took over as Ohio State’s men’s basketball coach ahead of the 2017-18 season, the expectations were low. Then he led the Buckeyes to a second place finish in the Big Ten and a five-seed in the NCAA Tournament, leading to a renewed excitement heading into this season.
That excitement grew even more when the Buckeyes opened the year 12-1 heading into the meat of the Big Ten schedule. Things have changed from there, though, as the Buckeyes have slipped to 3-6 in the Big Ten and 13-7 overall and difficulty taking care of the ball is a big reason why. Just look at the numbers.
In 11 non-conference games, the Buckeyes turned the ball over 130 times – 11.8 turnovers per game. Not a stellar number, but certainly a clip that you can win with.
The problem in Big Ten play is that the Buckeyes have turned it over 130 more times in two fewer games, which comes to 14.4 turnovers per game – almost three more than in non-conference play.
Those issues were never on display more than Tuesday night when the Buckeyes fell to Michigan, 65-49, in Ann Arbor. Ohio State turned it over 19 times while the Wolverines coughed it up just nine times. That can be the difference between a win and a 16-point loss like Holtmann’s squad suffered at the Crisler Center.
Fixing turnover issues isn’t as easy as snapping your fingers, but the Buckeyes can at least identify one major problem and work on it going forward.
Luckily for Ohio State, the team is entering an easier stretch in the schedule with home games against Rutgers and Penn State followed by a road trip to Indiana and another home game against Illinois. If those are all wins, the Buckeyes would be sitting at 17-7 heading into a road trip to Michigan State on Feb. 17.