After an unfortunate loss to Northwestern this past weekend, Ohio State now sits at 1-2 in the Big Ten standings. The Buckeyes come back to Columbus to face a 4-5 Nebraska Cornhuskers team who has struggled to get a single win in the conference this season.
Head coach Chris Holtmann met with the media Tuesday to discuss the Northwestern loss and preview the game against the Cornhuskers. Holtmann did share that guard Musa Jallow, who has been a delightful surprise this season, will be out indefinitely due to COVID-19 contact tracing.
At the moment, the Buckeyes have no more non-conference games on the schedule, so it is in full Big Ten mode now and will have to deal with adversity in such a tough and deep conference.
“You don’t have to be a Big Ten guru to look around the league and figure out that every team is going to go through tough losses,” Holtmann said. “That’s part of being in a league that has nine teams in the top 25 and the overall depth it has.”
No Musa Jallow is a void the Buckeyes must fill is how Coach Holtmann put the absence of the up-and-coming junior guard.
“You don’t want any young man to miss games, not only for themselves but for the team and certainly given the way he’s played,” Holtmann said. “We’ll have to adjust and move forward and guys will need to be ready to step up.”
The upcoming opponent for the Buckeyes is considered a “must-win” for them as this can help them get into a groove in this rigorous conference schedule. Nebraska has dropped games against Michigan and Wisconsin thus far and is trying to avoid their third Big Ten loss.
Holtmann has nothing but respect for his Cornhuskers counterpart, Fred Hoiberg.
“I’ve always really respected the way Fred’s groups have played and shared the ball and moved it,” he said. “And defensively, they really have done a good job this year by making it difficult for teams in a lot of ways.”
The Buckeyes have seen some struggles from their top performers in the past few games, such as Justice Sueing, who is now averaging 7.3 points a game in Big Ten action. Holtmann admitted that this year would not be easy for any player to adjust to and that it is a learning process for all.
A nice surprise in the last few games, has been the play of Seth Towns who has increased his minutes each and every game since he was cleared to play. This has given the Buckeyes a big addition from the bench to build their depth and give another big and athletic body in the frontcourt.
Towns, who has recovered from a significant knee injury from the 2018 Ivy League Championship game, is now rocking the scarlet and gray. The long-awaited time has come for Buckeye fans and they have gotten a taste of what Towns can do.
In the three games Towns has played this year, he is averaging 5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. This is most certainly exciting for the Buckeyes given the depth they have and the talent they have in the frontcourt.
Ohio State looks to bounce back after their loss to Northwestern and hopefully get a victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The game is on Wednesday, December 30 at 6:30 pm on BTN.