Thoughts on Ohio State basketball’s loss to Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals

The magical run for Ohio State basketball is over, as Purdue defeated the Buckeyes in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals 80-66.

It was an exhilarating three days prior, as the Buckeyes became the first No. 13 seed to make it this far. Even though the team finished with a 16-19 record, there are still some very good aspects of this season that head coach Chris Holtmann can lean upon for next year starting with his freshman that grew up during the season.

There was some good to come from this game and conference tournament, and here are my thoughts about the season-ending loss for Ohio State basketball.

That was fun


The Buckeyes ran into a buzzsaw in Purdue, a team that won the conference regular season and should be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The three-day run was exhilarating to watch, each win was unexpected. When it seemed like this game was getting out of hand, OSU kept working and made it a game late. This season will be looked back at as a failure, but that comes with the territory. There are plenty of aspects of this team to be excited about, especially for the future of the program.

Size was a huge factor


There aren’t too many players the size of [autotag]Zach Edey[/autotag] in the country, but the way this Buckeye team is constructed along with [autotag]Zed Key[/autotag]’s absence, it was always going to be a rough go. The Boilermaker big man seemed unstoppable and coach Matt Painter knew there was a huge mismatch. He said at the halftime break that OSU had no backup center, so feeding Edey was the plan. It worked as the Buckeyes tried [autotag]Isaac Likelele[/autotag] guarding Edey with the other “bigs” in foul trouble. Ohio State had no answer as Edey scored 32 points and helped Purdue outrebounded OSU 38 to 27.

A star in the making?


Coming into the season, the expectation for [autotag]Roddy Gayle Jr.[/autotag] was to learn on the job, but not necessarily in a starting role. As the season progressed, it became evident that he, along with [autotag]Bruce Thornton[/autotag] and [autotag]Felix Okpara[/autotag] are the future in Columbus.

Thornton already broke through, Okpara has had his moments but this tournament has really elevated how we view Gayle Jr. He’s shooting with confidence, especially beyond the arc as he scored 20 points going 5-of-6 from three. There are still aspects of his game that need work, like ball handling and decision-making, but expect some growth in those areas during the offseason. Calling Gayle Jr. a star is a bit premature, but if he continues to get better, it could be happening.

Purdue is good but are they championship good?


This is something that I have wondered all season. Does the Big Ten’s best have a legit shot at winning a championship? It’s still tough to say, if you can contain Edey, there is a potential to knock the Boilermakers out. There is really no other team that has a chance to win and the conference hasn’t won one since Michigan State in 2000. Can the Boilers break the streak? They very well could but if I had to guess, I’d be taking the field.

Thank you Brice


Prior to the game, it was announced that [autotag]Brice Sensabaugh[/autotag] had played his last game for the Buckeyes this season and quite possibly for his career. He was phenomenal when he was on the court, showing his NBA offensive game and really growing on the defensive end as the year progressed. It’s selfish of us to ask for another year, but if he does opt to return, this team will be a top-25 squad before the season starts. It still might be even if Sensabaugh leaves, but if this was his lone season in Columbus, it was a fun one. Thank you, Brice.

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Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire