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Thoughts following Ohio State’s regular season ending loss at Michigan State

The regular season no one expected from Ohio State basketball is finally over with today’s loss to Michigan State, 84-78.

The loss ended the Buckeyes modest two-game winning streak and put another negative mark on this season’s 13-18 record. This will be head coach Chris Holtmann’s first year as the OSU head coach that will not result in a 20 win season, with the exception of the 2020 campaign.

It was another disappointing game for the Buckeyes, one where the could have ended with a better result if they did a few things better over the course of the game. Find out my thoughts following another Ohio State loss.

Defense Was Bad

Why it mattered

The Buckeyes played today like defense was optional and that’s not a way to win games on the road in this conference. There were way too many open looks from beyond the arc and at the rim. The Spartans shot 54.7% from the field and an absurd 60% from three. The consistency that good teams show on defense just wasn’t there for this Ohio State team and was a major reason why it couldn’t get that third consecutive win.

Bruuuuuuuce

Why it mattered

The development from freshman [autotag]Bruce Thornton[/autotag] is huge. His leadership was shown when Holtmann made him a captain late in the year. Thornton responded with his best play of the season. His scoring increased significantly, 20 points today, making him a threat that helped the offense make a jump in efficiency. The Georgia native can hopefully take his game to another level in the offseason and become an even bigger force for the Buckeyes next year.

This team showed grit

Why it mattered

Down 10 points with under 8 minutes left in the game, the Buckeyes could have mailed it in but they continued to battle and got within 3 with a little over 5 minutes left. That was the closest the game would get. The upset wasn’t meant to be, but the effort showed a lot about the mentality of this team. Moral wins don’t count towards the season tally, but in the grand scheme of things, this will help next year.

There is hope

Why it mattered

The Buckeyes still have the conference tournament but this season is effectively over. The run of 20-plus wins is over and there will most likely be no NCAA Tournament in March. It was a huge struggle but towards the end, Holtmann did what he should have, looked towards next year. Starting four freshman post-Zed Key’s season ending injury was the right move. The experience is going to pay dividends next year. I know it’s been difficult this season, but next year’s team should have a lot more success.

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Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire