Texas Southern is a long way from Indiana, in distance and college basketball program stature. But for Mike Davis, going from one of the storied programs in the country to a school in the SWAC in six years, well, it’s just fine. The one-time coach of Indiana after legendary Bobby Knight was fired has since gone through the gamut of success and trials and finds himself at an HBCU on an interim basis. Still, if you take him at his word, it’s all good.“It’s a great opportunity for me to get back into coaching,” Davis said in an interview with KRIV-TV in Houston. “I’ve researched Texas Southern’s program.”Davis, who led Indiana to the 2002 Final Four and was 2010-11 Conference USA Coach of the Year at Alabama-Birmingham, was offered the job after Tony Harvey resigned for personal reasons, KRIV reported.“I think Harvey left some real good players there. They had a good program and it’s one of the better jobs in the (SWAC) conference, and I’m excited to get back working and teaching,” Davis said to the station.After resigning from Indiana in 2006, he signed on with UAB and had success early and struggles late. He said personal tragedies impacted him on his job.“My mom passed away and I had two nephews pass away in a three-month period before the season started, and that kind of got me off key a little bit,” he told KRIV. “I got it back at the end of the year, but by that time we were already in conference play. I have my focus and my drive back and I’m ready to get back into the flow.””I think Harvey left some real good players there. They had a good program and it’s one of the better jobs in the (SWAC) conference, and I’m excited to get back working and teaching,” Davis said.When Davis took over for Knight in 2000, he was a coaching phenom. The Hoosiers went21–13 his first year. In 2002, Davisn led Hoosiers the NCAA championship game. From there, expectations rose, but wins leveled off. Finally, he departed Indiana and faded after a good start at UAB.An HBCU landing an accomplished coach like Davis is a huge deal. Before long, he will shed the “interim” tag and, with good recruiting, lead Texas Southern to some good places.
Gauging the value of center Tyson Chandler has never been the easiest basketball exercise.The 17-year veteran has made his name in the NBA as a stellar rim protector, earning the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2011-12. But looking solely at his work on the defensive side of the ball would be selling him a bit short, given how well he has served as a lob specialist and a vertical floor-spacer in pick-and-roll situations.And then, of course, there’s the fact that Chandler — the newest member of the Lakers after a buyout from the Phoenix Suns — is perhaps the best player in NBA history at securing rebounds … without actually securing them.The cerebral 36-year-old has long excelled at what should be known as Tyson Tapbacks: volleyball-like plays in which he swats his club’s misfires toward half-court, where his teammates are more likely to come up with the ball. FiveThirtyEight reviewed every offensive rebound Chandler has obtained since the start of the 2013-14 season1Regular season only. and found that he has generated at least 140 tapbacks in that span. In other words, about 15 percent of his offensive boards during the past five-plus years have stemmed from this play.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/TysonTapbacks.mp400:0000:0003:30Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The natural question, of course, is how someone would become so good at such a counterintuitive skill, given that players would obviously prefer to grab misses with both hands. Chandler has suggested that he stumbled onto the strategy.“Once I started getting double-teamed and boxed out, I realized, ‘OK, I can’t get to my full jump — I’ll be getting over-the-back calls all the time,’” the 7-foot-1 Chandler wrote in The Players’ Tribune a few years back. “So I started jumping like I do on a jump ball and batting it with one hand to my teammates. Now it’s funny because I see other big men do it.” In the same piece, Chandler also mentioned that rebounding that way likely cost him from a statistical standpoint for some years, as scorekeeping officials probably weren’t initially crediting him with boards for his backtaps.2With this in mind, FiveThirtyEight’s analysis covers only plays in which Chandler was credited with having snagged an offensive rebound.Chandler, who’s used this method for the better part of a decade, isn’t alone with his unusual, hard-to-track rebounding style. The move is a distant cousin of a strategy employed by Hall of Famer and NBA rebounding legend Dennis Rodman, who would often tip rebounds to himself while in traffic until he could secure the ball. Retired Pistons star Ben Wallace, also one of the best rebounders of all time, used the strategy every so often, too. And players like Brook and Robin Lopez have collected defensive accolades in recent years despite grabbing relatively few boards because they box out so well — an unselfish approach that boosts their teammates’ rebounding stats.Chandler certainly doesn’t lack ability as a traditional offensive rebounder. He’s still elite at generating offense from teammates’ misses — his career offensive rebound percentage ranks third among active players — and he has finished in the NBA’s top 10 in putback frequency3Tracking the share of a player’s offense that stems from a shot attempt immediately after securing an offensive rebound. Minimum of 75 putback possessions required. each of the past three seasons, according to Synergy Sports.It’s worth noting that not all of Chandler’s tapback efforts will be successful. (Laker fans, of course, have fond memories of the sport’s most infamous tapback, when Vlade Divac tipped the ball out to Robert Horry, who hit a game-winning three in the Western Conference finals.) Every now and then, he may toss one out of bounds by mistake, or throw one into the hands of a defensive player who happens to be in better position than one of Chandler’s teammates.But there are indications that Chandler’s tapback rebounds may carry a bit more weight than a typical offensive rebound.Chandler has already displayed clutch timing with his signature play — he’s come up with huge tapbacks already for the Lakers in the last four minutes of games against Miami, Atlanta and Minnesota. But the play also often creates high-value shots for teammates because of how flustered it leaves opponents, who have already crashed the defensive glass and aren’t in ideal position to run out and contest perimeter shooters.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/TapbacksIntoBuckets.mp400:0000:0003:11Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.An analysis of Big Data Ball play-by-play logs shows that the offensively challenged Suns launched shot attempts a tenth of a second quicker than league average — and shot 3 points of effective field goal percentage better than usual4Going from a 43.4 percent effective field goal rate to a 46.5 percent effective field goal rate. — following a nonputback offensive rebound while Chandler was on the court5So excluding attempts that were within 2 feet of the basket or within 2 seconds of the offensive board. last season. The improved efficiency may have been at least partly due to the extra space shooters enjoyed from Chandler’s occasional tapbacks.And while the one-time All-Star has already proven his worth to the Lakers, who have gone 5-1 since signing Chandler, there are reasons to think that they could benefit from more of the Tyson Tapback. Entering Tuesday night, the club ranked ninth in jump-shooting6Meaning shots ranging from 10 to 35 feet. efficiency when the closest defender was at least 4 feet away. By contrast, the Lakers rank 21st when defenders are any closer than that, according to Second Spectrum. So it might be best for Los Angeles to get more open looks from outside.With time, the Lakers could even benefit from better understanding Chandler’s tapback patterns. In December 2012, Chandler told his teammates on the Knicks during a late-game timeout against the Nets to be prepared for him to tap the ball toward the perimeter on a miss.“I told the guys before we went out there I was getting grabbed and held down. I said, ‘I can’t come up with the rebound, so be ready. Don’t run away so quick because I’m probably going to get my hands on it and tap it out. So be ready to retrieve it,’” he said. Then, like clockwork, Chandler tapped out a rebound to get the Knicks an extra possession, and Jason Kidd — who had won the 2011 title in Dallas with Chandler — hit a game-winning triple on the next sequence.So while Chandler’s 3 points per game might make it easy to overlook his impact on that side of the ball, keep in mind that his value — even on the offensive end — generally goes far beyond that.Neil Paine contributed to this article.Check out our latest NBA predictions.
Ohio State junior gymnast Jamie Stone performs on vault against Denver on Feb. 24. Credit: Megan Russell | Lantern reporterThe No. 25 Ohio State women’s gymnastics team is looking for redemption away from home against No. 7 Denver on Saturday, after falling to the Pioneers 196.900-195.225 last weekend at St. John Arena.The Buckeyes were neck-and-neck in the previous meet with Denver, but lost their edge in the third rotation on balance beam when junior Stefanie Merkle, junior Alexis Mattern and sophomore Kaitlyn Hofland all fell during their routines. With improvement as a major goal for the week, the OSU team is looking to make some lineup changes on beam in preparation for the Saturday meet at Denver.“We actually did a pretty heavy beam assignment for the whole week, and so we’re just tracking stats and practicing a lot to see everyone’s hit ratio,” OSU coach Carey Fagan said. “We’ll take a look at that tonight after practice and kind of base the lineup off of who has had a really good week and who’s got good competitive experience.”The Buckeyes have had a season-long struggle to establish consistent lineups for each event, and this coming meet is no exception. Some of the OSU athletes have been facing recurring agitation to previous injuries including Mattern with her shoulder, sophomore Jamie Stone with her ankle and junior Taylor Harrison with her lower back.Injuries aren’t the only thing hurting the Buckeyes, but illness as well. Many of the OSU gymnasts were experiencing cold symptoms during the last meet, and are continuing to recover this week.“We had the stomach bug that was passed around,” Fagan said. “Taylor had it. Lexy had it. I think Jamie had it a little bit.”Fagan said she wants the team to focus on making adjustments and perfections to their routines, but considering the number of injuries and illnesses experienced, it’s a question whether or not all the athletes will practice enough before Saturday’s meet.“It boils down to the number of reps we can get them in practice to really make improvements on the weekend,” Fagan said. “The biggest thing we’re trying to accomplish this week is making improvements in practice. The reality of all of a sudden getting better on a weekend isn’t a reality. It doesn’t happen.”Harrison said she is looking forward to the trip to Denver. She said that there seems to be a different kind of energy in the Pioneers’ arena that she and the rest of the team use for momentum.Fagan agreed that her team focuses more during away meets.“I think that this particular team does better on the road, only in a sense that at home, there can be a lot more detractions.” Fagan said. “When we get on the road, really it’s just a business trip. The focus is really on the home team.”With the previous meet fresh in their minds, the Buckeyes are looking to take back the win on the Pioneers’ own turf.“As a mindset, I feel like this is kind of redemption for us,” Harrison said. “In those first two events (in the last meet), it was so exciting to see how close we were. So I know that if we can just go this weekend — I really believe beam makes you or breaks you — I feel like we’re going to nail it.”Although the Buckeyes have their eyes on redemption against Denver, coach Fagan views their personal away score as the priority. The top 36 teams qualify for NCAAs in April, and a score more than 194.375 — the team’s lowest away-meet score — would positively affect the team’s regional qualifying score in the national rankings.“I’ve said multiple weeks in a row, this is a (196.000) team, it just is,” Fagan said. “The routines we’re putting out are high difficulty and they’re really high level routines. So if we can hit them all, it would be an easy 196.”
The Ohio State women’s volleyball team is all about breaking records. This is the first season since 2006 that the Buckeyes have recorded 20 wins. They are 20-7 overall. Their eight conference wins are their most since the 2006 season.The Buckeyes started the season at No. 120 in the NCAA RPI rankings and have climbed to No. 25. The numbers are evidence enough of the growth of the team. The Big Ten and the Pac-10 continue to produce the most competitive women’s volleyball teams. The Big Ten has seven teams in the Top 30, while the Pac-10 sports six Top 30 teams. The Buckeyes defeated Iowa 3-1 and Wisconsin 3-0, both on the road last weekend, climbing to fifth in the Big Ten standings. During the Iowa match, Katie Dull became the 17th Buckeye to break 1,000 career kills. OSU coach Geoff Carlston does not expect her to slow down any time soon.“She is a highly motivated kid and knows she has lots of room to grow. She won’t slow down,” Carlston said.Senior Kristen Dozier’s performance against Wisconsin earned her Buckeye Athlete of the Week honors. Dozier had a match-high 11 blocks, 3 solo and 8 assisted. That set a season high for her, and the 11 blocks fell just two short of her career-high 13 blocks, set in 2006. She scored a team-high 14 points against Wisconsin. Senior Chelsea Noble’s list of honors continues to grow. She has been named a third-team selection on the ESPN Academic All-District IV squad. Noble has started at libero every match this season, leading the team with 703 digs. On Friday, the Buckeyes host Northwestern, a team they beat 3-0 in the start of conference play. Carlston expects the Wildcats to come in with confidence.The Buckeyes take on No. 5 Illinois Saturday. They lost to Illinois, 3-1, in their first conference game of the season.The Buckeyes will have to be aggressive offensively against Illinois, because they do not make a ton of mistakes, Carlston said.“They are steady and we have to beat them,” he said. Two former OSU volleyball players will return this weekend as assistant coaches at Illinois and Northwestern. Kristen Jensen played for the Buckeyes in 1992-1995 and is the assistant coach at Northwestern. Fellow Buckeye Jen Flynn (Oldenberg) led the Buckeyes from 1996-1999 and is the assistant coach at Illinois. The Buckeyes face Northwestern 8 p.m. Friday at St. John Arena. They play Illinois 2 p.m. Sunday at St. John Arena.
The Ohio State women’s soccer team’s (17-5-1) historic season came to a halt in Cary, N.C. on Friday, when the Buckeyes fell in the Final Four to Notre Dame (20-2-2) 1-0. “We always talk about extending the season as long as we can, until you run into a great opponent and I think Notre Dame handed us some things tonight that was very difficult for us to sort through,” OSU coach Lori Walker said. The Fighting Irish out-shot the Buckeyes 22-7, however failed to find the back of the Buckeyes net until Mandy Laddish scored in the 83rd minute of action. “Our defense got crossed up a little bit and they were able to place it a little wide and she was able to sneak it into the post,” OSU junior goalkeeper Katie Baumgardner said. “I tried to cover as well as I could but it ended up going a little higher than expected.” Baumgardner finished with a career-high 10 saves. OSU junior forward Paige Maxwell attempted to answer back the Fighting Irish in the 89th with what was the Buckeyes’ best scoring opportunity of the game, but her shot over Notre Dame goalkeeper Nikki Weiss hit the left post. “I got robbed. It was our turn to get robbed. They got robbed a few times. The soccer gods were not in our favor on that one,” Maxwell said. “I just wanted to get that ball in there. I was hoping it would go in. It just landed right on the outside. I was trying to fight for the team. I just got unlucky.” With the win, Notre Dame advances to Sunday’s championship game to face Stanford (23-0-2), who beat Boston College (17-7-1) 2-0 in its Final Four match-up. This season marked the first time that the Buckeyes had advanced to the Final Four in program history. It was also the first season that the Buckeyes earned a share of the Big Ten title, which they shared with Penn State. “I’m so proud of the squad and the season they’ve had and the things this team and this program have accomplished,” Walker said. Heading into 2011, Buckeyes will lose five seniors from this year’s squad, although there remains a chance that the 2010 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Cassie Dickerson, will be granted a sixth year of eligibility due to injuries. In addition to Dickerson, the Buckeyes will return Maxwell, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and All-Big Ten first team selection Tiffany Cameron.
Ohio State baseball coach Greg Beals and his players agree that the team has made progress in 2012, but Beals said the program needs to continue to grow and the road to growth is littered with “major” obstacles. The Buckeyes ended their 2012 season May 25 with a 6-2 loss against Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament at Huntington Park. The team finished with a 33-27 record compared to the 25-26 record the team posted during Beals’ first season in 2011. OSU snuck into the postseason as the Big Ten Tournament’s sixth and final-seeded team. The Buckeyes played on the tournament’s opening day – a 12-5 win against Penn State on May 23 – while the conference’s top two seeds – Indiana and regular-season champion Purdue – earned byes. Beals said earning a first-round bye is a key step his squad needs to make in the future. “Our program at Ohio State needs to get back into a situation where we’re getting the bye (on) opening day and that we’re able to keep ourselves in the winners’ bracket,” Beals said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, in my opinion.” After beating Penn State, OSU lost against Purdue, then the 18th-ranked team in the country, on May 24. The narrow 5-4 loss sent the Buckeyes to the tournament’s losers’ bracket, and was the first of three games the team played in the span of about 22 hours. The Buckeyes were finally knocked from the double-elimination tournament in the loss to the Spartans, and Beals immediately turned his attention to recruiting. Beals and sophomore pitcher and first baseman Josh Dezse both said signing recruits is a struggle because of the allure of Major League Baseball. “At Ohio State University – our baseball program – they expect me to recruit the best student-athletes in the world. That’s what I’m going to do,” Beals said. “We’ve got to get that top-shelf player.” Beals said he was “burned” last year when some of the top-shelf talent he had recruited – three players signed National Letters of Intent on Aug. 15 – signed professional contracts and opted not to attend OSU. Beals said two of the players were seventh-round MLB picks while the other was a ninth-round selection. “All three of them (the players), their total signing bonuses were over three-quarters of a million dollars,” Beals said. “That was tough for us. I’ve got to do more homework to learn about these guys to see how important education is to them.” Dezse said competing with professional baseball clubs for talent is part of the reality OSU and other college teams face. “Who knows for recruits,” Dezse said. “We see them in and out of Bill Davis Stadium. We’re hoping we can get away without the (MLB) Draft taking them. That was one of our issues this year, and you fight it every year. “It’s just one building process, and I’m sure coach is finding great kids out there.” In spite of the on-going struggle against professional clubs and falling short of the Big Ten’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, junior infielder Brad Hallberg said definite progress was made in 2012. “We’re more comfortable (with the coaches),” Hallberg said. “More time will be more success, but we’re going to have to work hard for that too. So it’s not just going to come, we know we’ve got to put in the hours.”
Ohio State men’s soccer’s Chris Hegngi is adding another line to his resume after being named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List Tuesday. The Buckeyes’ senior forward, who was the 2011 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, is one of 42 other male athletes named to the award’s watch list. The Hermann Trophy is the highest individual award in intercollegiate soccer and honors college men’s and women’s soccer’s best players. OSU men’s soccer coach John Bluem said Hegngi is coming off “an exceptional season.” “After leading the conference in scoring last season, I think this recognition is a testament to how much talent that takes in the Big Ten,” Bluem said in a statement. “All the pieces are certainly in place for him to have continued success in his final season as a Buckeye.” Hegngi started to make his mark at OSU as early as his freshman year. In 2009, his first season as a Buckeye, Hegngi was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team and started in all 21 of OSU’s games that year. In fact, Hegngi has started in the last 39 of 41 games for OSU. The senior is the third Buckeye in history up for the award. In 2011, Columbus Crew keeper and then-All-Big Ten goalie Matt Lampson was named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List. Four years earlier, defender Eric Brunner, who was a member of OSU’s NCAA College Cup runner-up squad in 2007, also found himself on the award’s watch list. The award, which is presented by the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) in St. Louis, will announce its male and female recipients on Jan. 11. The Buckeyes open their 2012 campaign at Dayton, Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Hegngi did not immediately respond to The Lantern‘s request for comment.
Ohio State junior forward Dakota Joshua and Penn State sophomore forward Nikita Pavlychev face off during their game on Dec. 1. The teams tied at five, but the Nittany Lions won the shootout 1-0. Credit: Nick Hudak | For the LanternA six-goal third period highlighted a fast-paced offensive show between No. 11 Ohio State (8-3-4, 3-3-1-0 Big Ten) and Penn State (8-7-2, 3-4-1-1 Big Ten) Friday night at the Schottenstein Center. The game ended in a 5-5 tie, with Penn State getting the 1-0 shootout win.A goal by Penn State junior forward Andrew Sturtz with less than a second to go in the game forced overtime for the Nittany Lions after Ohio State came back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period.“We had total control of the puck, and we just tried to play the clock instead of continuing to try and play the game there at the end,” head coach Steve Rohlik said. “The kid got the puck to the net and that’s what hockey is.”The Buckeyes battled back in the third, starting off the comeback with a one-timer by junior forward Dakota Joshua off a pass from sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski. Laczynski would score less than a minute later on the power play to tie the game at three.“Whenever you’re down, you have to keep morale up, and I thought we did a good job of that in-between periods,” Laczynski said.Junior forward Brendon Kearney found the back of the net for Ohio State with 11 minutes to play in the period to give Ohio State its first lead of the game, a 4-3 advantage. Senior forward Christian Lampasso and freshman forward Austin Pooley had assists on the play, giving each member of Ohio State’s fourth line two points on the night.“It’s just doing things simple,” Kearney said about his line’s success. “Not trying to force any plays, and being smart with the puck and good things seem to happen.”The scoring was far from complete. Penn State knotted up the score, this time on a shot by senior defenseman Trevor Hamilton. Hamilton then had a chance to take the lead shortly after on the power play, but his shot hit the post, and the score remained 4-4.The Nittany Lions called a timeout with 4:33 to go in the period, and just eight seconds later, Ohio State took the lead on a shot in front of the goal by junior forward Freddy Gerard off assists from Laczynski and senior forward Matthew Weis.Ohio State had chances to clear the puck in the final seconds, but it stayed in its defensive zone for much of the final minute. And in the final seconds, the failed chances cost the Buckeyes. Sturtz scored with 0.7 seconds remaining on a shot from the point that somehow trickled past goalie Sean Romeo. After a long review confirming the goal, the score was tied at five and the game went to overtime.Though overtime featured no goals, both teams had ample chances to secure the full three points in the Big Ten standings. Laczynski hit the cross bar on a chance in front of the net and Penn State failed to take advantage of a power play, so the game went to a shootout.The game eventually went to a shootout tied at five. Ohio State led Penn State in shots 48-36.Sturtz was the lone scorer for either team in the shootout. The win earned Penn State two points in the Big Ten standings. Ohio State gained one point in the Big Ten, and the matchup shows up as a tie in the record books for both teams.The first period featured rushes up and down the ice from both teams, but it was the Nittany Lions who struck first on a goal by sophomore Kris Myllari. The Buckeyes evened the score before the first period was over on a goal by Lampasso. Pooley and Kearney earned the assists on the play.The Nittany Lions scored two goals in the second period, the first of which was due to a costly turnover by Ohio State redshirt defenseman Wyatt Ege. Romeo made a save, but then Ege batted the puck into his own net with his glove, giving freshman forward Alex Limoges the tally, and giving Penn State the 2-1 lead.“We have to correct a lot of our puck turnovers,” Rohlik said. “You can’t give good teams like that golden opportunities like we did tonight.Junior defenseman Kevin Kerr doubled the lead later in the period, and the Nittany Lions had a 3-1 advantage entering the third period, which they eventually gave up.Ohio State and Penn State will have a rematch at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Schottenstein Center.
Ohio State freshman goalie Lynsey Wallace (30) and the rest of the women’s hockey team line up prior to the start of the game against Minnesota on Jan. 19. Ohio State won 3-2. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Early in the season, it looked like a typical year for the modern Ohio State-Michigan saga.The Wolverines opened their season with a loss to Notre Dame, and the Buckeyes opened their season with five straight victories, two against then-ranked opponents.But as the season progressed, one team proved to be the superior coming into the matchup.Ohio State started its decline to the underdog position with closer-than-expected wins against Indiana and Minnesota, showing flaws both offensively and defensively, capitalized with a 49-20 loss to Purdue.Many expected the Buckeyes to come out the following game and take out their frustration on an underperforming Nebraska team. They didn’t, squeaking out a 36-31 win. Ohio State looked slightly more impressive in a 26-6 victory against Michigan State, but that was more a result of the Spartans handing the Buckeyes opportunities than Ohio State proving itself fixed.Ohio State was not fixed. And that showed in a big way, in Saturday’s 52-51 overtime win against Maryland.The Buckeyes came into College Park with No. 4 Michigan on the horizon, and appeared underprepared for a Terrapins team with five losses, allowing 535 yards to the 31st-worst offense in the nation.The Ohio State offense tallied 688 yards and kept the team in it while trailing for the majority of the matchup, something it won’t be able to do next Saturday.Ohio State leaves with a win it didn’t deserve. On Maryland’s only overtime possession, in which Maryland redshirt freshman running back Anthony McFarland ran the ball 24 yards, setting up a 1-yard score by sophomore running back Tayon Fleet-Davis, the Terrapins went for two. “I was already stressed out that the fact that they scored in the first place, and then, when they went for it, I’m like, ‘alright well we gotta find a way to stop them,’” Ohio State redshirt junior defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones said. “I tried to just get penetration, shoot the gap, and, luckily it was a bad pass because he seemed open in my point of view.”Jones was right. On the conversion attempt, redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome had an open receiver in the endzone to win the game. He missed him, and Ohio State squeaked away with a win, holding on to the fading hopes that this team could make the Big Ten Championship and, if things go in favor of the Buckeyes, the College Football Playoff.“I mean, if we would have lost that game, then pretty much everything is over,” Jones said. “That’s what I feel like.”The Buckeyes are expected to be a team that competes for the playoff every season, and anything less than a Top-4 finish is considered a failure in the eyes of many, including Jones.But Ohio State proved once again on Saturday that finishing outside the Top 4 is increasingly likely.After failing to take a lead for the entirety of regulation, forcing redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins to carry the team on his back with 464 total yards and six total touchdowns, the defense needed a missed throw to give him a victory in his home state.After sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins broke his career-high with 203 rushing yards, Ohio State needed to be lucky. They won’t get that luck against the Wolverines.“It’s up and down,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said. “Is it where we need to be? It’s not, but we are 10-1 and we will try and find a way to be 11-1.”To be 11-1, the Buckeyes need to be a team they haven’t been the entire season. They need to be a team capable of defeating an opponent with a scoring offense and defense in the top 25 in the NCAA, a team with the nation’s fewest yards allowed per game, a team that defeated this same Maryland team by three touchdowns.Ohio State is the inferior team coming into the matchup, and lacks the consistency on either side of the ball to prove itself as anything other than the underdog come next Saturday.Defensive coordinator Greg Schiano knows his defense has had this inconsistency.“We’ve had some really good defensive play at times, but not consistently, and I’ve said that after the first quarter of the season, I said that at the midway, it’s frustrating that we’re not a consistent defense right now,” Schiano said. “Rest assured, I mean every waking minute we have, we’re gonna try to get that fixed.”The defense looked “fixed” against Michigan State. The Terrapins proved it wasn’t.With the Buckeyes likely coming in as underdogs against the Wolverines, they will need to prove themselves as a new team following a 1-point victory to Maryland.Because the team that held on for dear life against Maryland does not stand a chance against Michigan this season.