COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the first time in five years, the 22nd-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes hit the middle of February with no shot at a Big Ten regular-season title.
But that doesn't mean there still isn't a lot left on the table.
Heading into Saturday's game at Illinois (14-11, 3-9), the Buckeyes (19-6, 6-6) are a distant four games back of co-leaders Michigan State and Michigan with just six games left. So coach Thad Matta is not going to capture his sixth regular-season crown in his 10 years on the job.
Instead, the Buckeyes must now refocus to getting ready for the postseason, particularly a first-round bye in the Big Ten tournament and then playing well enough to earn a decent seeding in the NCAA tournament.