Posted: 4:24 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, 2013
By Luke Zimmermann
The Ohio State men's basketball season may feel a little bit different than it has in recent seasons. Per a spokesman for the basketball team, the Buckeyes will not take the return trip to Ann Arbor during the 2013-2014 Men's basketball season, instead only hosting their arch rival. Of course there's always the possibility of a rematch in the 2014 Big Ten basketball tournament, but as of now, the Bucks are only assured of one date with a team ESPN's revised early 2013-14 Top 25 has ranked as 9th best in the country.
The Buckeyes will also not be playing host to either Indiana nor Wisconsin this coming fall/winter. ESPN pegs Tom Crean's bunch as the 20th best in the nation from an extremely premature/early vantage, and as we've grown accustomed to, Wisconsin is unranked as of now. Given a few months of play and the chance to grow into their various roles, it's likely Bucky Badger will be back where they always are – climbing the top 25's, reminding us all why their home arena's been informally nicknamed the "Trohl Center", and getting themselves positioned nicely for a disappointing first week of the NCAA Tournament (we jest, Wisconsin fans; sort of). The Buckeyes will also only play first year Northwestern coach Chris Collins' Wildcats one time (at Value City Arena).
This marks the first time the Buckeyes will have only faced the Wolverines once in the regular season since the Buckeyes' inaugural season under Thad Matta, 2004-2005. During that season, Matta's Buckeyes downed the Wolverines, 72-46.
While some will be quick to get the pitchforks, such is life in a situation with unbalanced schedules. It's never a good thing losing a prospective top 10 (or in IU's case, top 25) caliber opponent from your end of the year NCAA tourney credentials, but it's possible Iowa could play their way into top 25 worthiness, and two games against likely national title contender Michigan State could prove more valuable than two against the Wolverines, Hoosiers, or Badgers would've. The other potential downside is this leaves little room for error should the Buckeyes stumble against Notre Dame, Maryland and/or Marquette and fail to land another premium opponent this relatively late in the game for their non-conference slate.