Ohio State is in the midst of the longest losing streak in the Chris Holtmann era, but the Buckeyes have a longer-lasting record on the line against Purdue.
Though Ohio State had never lost more than two games in a row since Holtmann took over as head coach, it has not lost more than four games in a row since the 1997-98 season. The Buckeyes lost 17 straight games that season after starting the year 7-3, finishing with an 8-22 record.
In the 21 seasons since the losing streak, the Buckeyes have lost four games in a row six separate times, but have never pushed it to five games.
To avoid the longest losing streak in more than two decades, Ohio State must defeat the Boilermakers, and do so without sophomore forward Kyle Young, who Holtmann said would miss “several weeks” with a stress fracture in his right leg.
“Kyle has performed really well as a sophomore, and come into his own a little bit, in a lot of ways, and really made a step forward as a player,” Holtmann said. “He’s been an instrumental part of this team in every way.”
Ohio State (12-5, 2-4 Big Ten)
G — C.J. Jackson — Senior, 13.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.8 apg
G — Keyshawn Woods — Redshirt senior, 7.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.0 apg
G — Luther Muhammad — Freshman, 9.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.1 apg
F — Andre Wesson — Junior, 7.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.8 apg
F — Kaleb Wesson — Sophomore, 15.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.6 apg
Purdue (12-6, 5-2 Big Ten)
G — Carsen Edwards — Junior, 24.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.4 apg
G — Ryan Cline — Senior, 12.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.3 apg
G — Nojel Eastern — Sophomore, 6.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.1 apg
F — Grady Eifert — Senior, 4.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.3 apg
C — Matt Haarms — Sophomore, 7.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.3 apg
Purdue comes in winners of its past three games, including a 35-point win against Rutgers six days after the Scarlet Knights picked up their first in-conference win of the season against Ohio State.
Even though the Boilermakers come into the game unranked, KenPom.com has them as the No. 8 team in the NCAA and the third-best team in the Big Ten.
Holtmann said Purdue will come in as hot as Maryland did in Ohio State’s previous game, and it is something for which he knows his team must prepare.
“They’re playing as well as any team in our league right now,” Holtmann said. “I think they have a great understanding of what they’re trying to do on every possession, they’re extremely well connected as a group, they’ve obviously got very gifted players.”
Junior guard Carsen Edwards leads the Boilermakers with 24.6 points per game, No. 4 in the NCAA, while hitting 37.9 percent of his shots from deep and 85.7 percent of his free throws.
Holtmann is preparing for Edwards, along with senior guard Ryan Cline, a duo he said is among the best in the nation.
“All of us know the effectiveness of Carsen Edwards and how dynamic he is,” Holtmann said. “I think he and Ryan Cline are two of the best shooters in the country, I really do. They are fantastic together.”
The Boilermakers shoot the 30th-most 3-pointers per game and hit on 37.1 percent of them, No. 59 in the NCAA.
Purdue also dominates in the turnover battle, with a plus-3.4 turnover margin per game, No. 33 in the country.
Where Purdue struggles is away from home, something Ohio State will have the opportunity to take advantage of on Wednesday.
While the Boilermakers are 9-0 at home, they have won just one of five games on the road. Ohio State is 9-3 at home this season.
Junior forward Andre Wesson sees the upcoming matchup as a chance to shift momentum in the conference.
“They’ve been playing well as of late,” Wesson said. “Obviously we haven’t, but this is a game that we need, especially if we want to continue to get better and continue to rise this year, so it’s a game that we need, and we’re gonna be ready.”
Ohio State takes on Purdue in the Schottenstein Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.