Commentary: Buzz about Ohio State basketball not the same
Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 00:01
The Ohio State men’s basketball team is coming off arguably its biggest win of the season, taking down archrival Michigan, 56-53, but I still don’t care.
OK, it’s not that I don’t care, but I just am not nearly as interested as I have been in previous years.
Teams led by Jared Sullinger, Evan Turner and Greg Oden were the things my life revolved around. School, work, even relationships took a back seat to watching these teams play. Whatever the record, although they were typically fantastic, I would find the Buckeyes on television and shut out all else. But this season I have found it harder and harder to get really into OSU basketball games.
Although the turnout at Woody’s for those students who couldn’t attend the Michigan game might tell you otherwise, there are many students who are dealing with the same indifference.
The passion and pure unadulterated joy that came to campus last year after home victories against Duke and Indiana just has not been matched this season.
But what is it that is keeping this talented team from garnering the following that previous Thad Matta-led squads have had? It is hard to pinpoint an exact reason as to what has changed from such a short time ago since there are so many factors contributing to the decline in interest.
Potentially most clear of all is the inflated expectations this team has suffered from. Ranked No. 4 overall in the preseason AP poll, OSU hasn’t quite lived up to these lofty beginnings, dropping three games to some very talented teams in Duke and Illinois and at home against Kansas.
But the drop-off from where they began to where they are now has been a rude awakening for fans who have become accustomed to a consistent top-10 team.
Add the lack of new recruits this year, a perfect football season stealing the spotlight from basketball and what I am terming as the Jared Sullinger hangover, it is no wonder fans are showing a lack of enthusiasm this year.
With the depth of the conference this year, every game is going to matter and home-court advantage will play into the Buckeyes’ chances at competing for the Big Ten Championship. The fans could by key down the stretch for OSU.
Looking ahead, the Buckeyes will travel to Michigan State for another tough test against the Spartans Saturday at 6 p.m. before returning to Columbus to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes.