JaQuan Lyle admitted Monday this season hasn’t exactly gone according to plan.
“Definitely not,” Ohio State’s sophomore point guard said. “Not for me individually or for our basketball team. But I mean, we’re still a work in progress and the season isn’t over."
“We only have to go up from here.”
The Buckeyes know they cannot change what’s happened in this rather trying season in which they currently sit 16-13 overall and just 6-10 in the Big Ten. So, instead of dwelling on the past, Ohio State is looking toward the future. The Buckeyes have two games left in the regular season and a Big Ten tournament ahead of them. That’s all that’s guaranteed.
Finishing out strong is now the goal.
“It’s a now or never type of mindset just in terms of how we have to play and what we have to do,” head coach Thad Matta said. “Obviously, one of the great equalizers to everything is just your mindset, the framework in which you’re thinking on each possession is so important.”
Ohio State did exactly that in its most recent performance, an 83-73 win over 22nd-ranked Wisconsin. The question now for the Buckeyes, as it has been all season, is can they duplicate what was their most impressive effort of the year?
“We’ll find out tomorrow night,” Matta said when asked if he felt his team could bottle up Thursday night’s performance against the Badgers.
Consistency has been Ohio State’s biggest issue all season, so it’s no surprise Matta answered that way. There have been plenty of times this year with a high directly followed by a low.
But the Buckeyes know they can’t change the past. All that’s left to do is focus on what lies ahead.
That begins Tuesday with a matchup at Penn State.
“We just have to win,” Lyle said. “I feel like we have to win every game.”