Saturday, January 22, 2011

Get ready for the ride, OSU fans

Saturday was huge for the Ohio State men's basketball team.

Huge because, well, the Buckeyes' first 19 games of this season weren't exactly a murderer's row of opponents, with more teams with hyphens then a ranking before it.

Saturday changed a lot of that. OSU's win at Illinois legitimizes the Buckeyes' No. 1 ranking and has this corner believing they might just win it all.

It's far from over though. OSU's rugged stretch has just begun, but winning at Assembly Hall is no small feat when the Illini are a good team.

Up next is perhaps the Big Ten game of the year to this point, a Tuesday night home game against Purdue. After that, it's a road game at Northwestern, then home to Michigan. Then, the fun really begins.

Consecutive road games at Minnesota and Wisconsin precedes a home contest with Michigan State, and then a Feb. 20 game at Purdue.

At 20-0, the Buckeyes are the real deal, but don't expect that record to remain perfect. That's not important in the grand scheme. What's important, and Saturday's win at Illinois proved it, is that OSU is now battled-tested and ready for the long haul.

- Mark Podolski


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