OSU fans expecting an early exit?

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Established October 31, 1996
Front Page Columns and Features
Last updated: 02/27/2012 4:25 PM

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Men's Basketball
Ohio State Fans Expecting Early Exit?
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Do recent losses have you feeling pessimistic about this Ohio State men’s basketball team?

You may not be alone.

According to a poll conducted by The-Ozone over the past week, most OSU fans expect Thad Matta and the Buckeyes will get no further than the Elite Eight in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Matta’s Buckeyes have been bounced from March Madness in the Sweet 16 round the last two seasons, and fans are apparently expecting a similar exit for Ohio State in 2012.

Participants in the latest poll were asked how many games Ohio State would win in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, and 78 percent of the votes favored the Buckeyes winning no more than three games in the tournament.

The highest percentage of votes (38%) were cast for the Buckeyes to win two games and then face another Sweet 16 exit in this tournament. Twenty-eight percent of voters think Ohio State will advance to the second weekend of the tournament and win a game in the Sweet 16 round before losing in the Elite Eight.

Only 12 percent of the voters anticipate Ohio State returning the Final Four for the first time since the days of Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr., while 9 percent believe the Buckeyes will still find a way to make it back to the National Championship game this season.

Some of these votes were cast before the Buckeyes lost their home finale against Wisconsin on Sunday. Ohio State allowed 6-10 forward Jared Berggren to step out for a game-winning three in the final minute on Senior Day, and the Buckeyes have now lost two of their last three and 3-of-5 overall dating back to their 58-48 loss to Michigan State in Columbus.

Outside of an 83-67 win over Illinois last week, the Buckeyes have not really played well in any of their games since blowing out Michigan 64-49 in Columbus back on Jan. 29.

They only dropped to No. 10 in the Associated Press Poll this week, and No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, but Matta admitted he had to throw his team out of practice in the days leading up to their loss to Wisconsin.

The Buckeyes have two more games left in the regular season, both on the road, starting with their trip to Northwestern on Wednesday (8:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network). They close out the year with a trip to East Lansing against the Michigan State Spartans, who now have a two-game lead on Ohio State with two to play.

Ozone Poll Voting Results:

2 wins - 368 votes (36%)
3 wins - 286 votes (28%)
1 win - 137 votes (13%)
4 wins - 125 votes (12%)
6 wins - 74 votes (7%)
5 wins - 24 votes (2%)
0 wins - 15 votes (1%)

*Thanks again to all who voted in our poll. Be sure to check out The-Ozone Front Page ( link: http://theozone.net/)  for the latest poll, which will run throughout this week.

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