Iowa hoops haven't been quite up to par lately, but they have a great chance to right the ship tonight against the Buckeyes in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. There isn't a whole lot of buzz surrounding Ohio State’s basketball team these days, but they have the capability to beat just about anyone on any given night.
To get a better idea of what to expect from Buckeyes tonight, we did a Q&A with Land-Grant Holy Land’s Harry Lyles. We touch on the state of Ohio State basketball, who to watch, and of course, who he expects to win. Let's get to it.
Max: Ohio State is 13-8 this season, but there doesn't seem to be any buzz at all surrounding the team, with the LGHL Twitter even saying they'd rather watch Illinois/Iowa than OSU knock off Minnesota. What's the deal with that?
Harry: Ohio State basketball has been quite the rollercoaster ride the past couple of years. The talent isn’t up to the level we’ve been accustomed to seeing in the Thad Matta era, and they’re a pretty inconsistent team. There is still talent there, but you really just don’t know what you are going to get from them on any given night, and it’s more often than not frustrating to watch.
Max: It's Year 13 for Thad Matta in Columbus. Does his tenure seem to be coming to a close, or is his job pretty secure?
Harry: He’s secure. Last season was tough, and it looks like this one is going to be worse, but he’s also the right guy to fix things. He’s a good coach and will right the ship. It might take more time than people are willing to give him, but Ohio State shouldn’t be down too long.
Max: Who are the players that Iowa fans should know before this matchup with the Buckeyes?
Harry: The three you will likely hear from the most are Marc Loving, JaQuan Lyle, and Jae’Sean Tate. Loving is the veteran of the team, and can break out in great scoring streaks. Lyle is kind of similar, but has also been known to put on passing clinics during games. Tate is undoubtedly the emotional leader and brings a ton of energy to the floor. The rest of the team typically feeds off of what Tate is projecting on the floor.
Max: Iowa's biggest weaknesses are in their inability to play stout defense and keep opponents off the offensive glass. Is this something that Ohio State should be able to exploit in this matchup?
Harry: It may not be something that Ohio State exploits necessarily, but that definitely helps. Every game, there’s usually two things that don’t go in favor of Ohio State. That’s rebounds, and turnovers. Either of which they can get help on is definitely going to help, but it may not be a game changer necessarily.
Max: Alright, prediction time. Who ya got?
Harry: It’s going to be a close game, and we’re going to stick with the good guys and go Ohio State. Though the confidence in that pick is not high whatsoever.