The Ohio State Buckeyes have not yet felt the loss of Evan Turner but the Butler Bulldogs need to make sure that they do on Saturday, to try and salvage their disappointing non-conference season.
In truth, the Bulldogs were rated far too highly in all of the polls - not their fault, but true. They have done nothing so far to indicate they are an elite level team and Ohio State represents their last shot for a signature non-conference win.
Butler has looked out of sync since the season began and coach Brad Stevens has struggled, it seems, figuring out two things. One, how to keep Matt Howard out of foul trouble. And two, because of Howard’s foul trouble, the rotation he wants to use.
Ohio State, on the other hand, probably wasn’t ranked as highly as it should have been. They are a solid, if unspectacular, group (other that Turner) that plays team basketball as well as anyone. Life without Turner will be trying. He was certainly in the conversation for national player of the year before he went down. It remains to be seen if the Buckeyes hopes for a Big Ten crown went down with him. Ohio State rallied for a couple of games last year after David Lighty went down with a season-ending injury, but was roughed up (especially by West Virginia) in the following games. They will not only have to replace scoring, but rebounding and more importantly, leadership.
Butler will win Saturday. They need it, no, have to have it. Ohio State has to find a way to keep it together for the next six weeks, and hope that Turner can come back healthy, to have a shot at a decent seed come March.