Matta Buckeyes not bothered by shaky road results

The Ohio State men’s basketball team has been a dominant force at home and has an opportunity to go undefeated at the Schottenstein Center this season.Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament are away from OSU.  “Going on the road is battle testing,” junior David Lighty said. “Seeing where your team’s mind is gets you ready for the tournament because you never know where you are going to play.”Despite its unblemished home record, the Bucks are just 2-5 on the road and 1-1 on a neutral court. With four of their final seven regular-season games on the road, including games at Michigan State and Illinois, the Buckeyes will have to have success away from home to have any chance at a regular season Big Ten Championship.Lighty said the team tries to imagine it is always playing in Columbus.“We try to treat it like home games, but it’s hard to do with all the opponent fans chanting and going crazy,” Lighty said. “Coach talks about us keeping that same mindset and being prepared for all the situations that happen on the road.”One problem for the Buckeyes is their lack of offensive production on the road. For a team that has eclipsed the 100-point barrier three times this season, it has only scored 70-plus points once away from home, in a 77-73 loss to North Carolina at Madison Square Garden. Coach Thad Matta said the Buckeyes don’t try to change too much on the road. “You are who you are,” Matta said. “We don’t attempt to reinvent the wheel going into a different opponent. “Road games are a big testing ground for the conference tourney and NCAA Tournament. While the Big Ten Tournament is located in Indianapolis this year, if Ohio State were to make the field of 65, the closest opening round site to Columbus would be in Buffalo, N.Y.   “My freshman year we played in San Antonio during the tournament and we could have played Texas A&M, which would have been like a home game for them,” Lighty said. “All the road games we played up to that point prepared us for that situation and you just have to take it in stride.”Junior Evan Turner said that while he knows how important it is to win road games, playing away from Columbus doesn’t bother him. “It prepares you for that tough environment,” Turner said. “Playing overseas in Serbia, that was a tough environment. So playing out here feels like Disneyland.”While the road has been far from a fairy tale for the Buckeyes, they understand how important winning road games are to move up the standings and gain experience for postseason play. But Turner says that they have to remember what’s being played, not where. “We’ve all been through these experiences,” Turner said. “So, you just pay attention to the game, not where you are playing at.”

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