The tenth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes pulled off an upset victory against the seventh-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With a final score of 90-78, Ohio State not only secured their spot in the tournament’s third round but also effectively eliminated Iowa from contention for the NCAA tournament.

This victory keeps the NCAA tournament hopes alive for the Buckeyes, who came into the tournament needing to make a statement with a couple of key wins. Iowa, on the other hand, entered the Big Ten Tournament as a bubble team, and their loss to Ohio State deals a significant blow to their postseason aspirations.

The matchup was eagerly anticipated by Buckeye fans, especially considering Iowa’s narrow victory over Ohio State earlier in the season with a final score of 79-77. However, tonight’s game would tell a different story as the Buckeyes are not the same team they were when they faced Iowa the first time.

Ohio State’s Jamison Battle, held scoreless in the first half, exploded in the second, single-handedly turning the tide of the game with a remarkable 23-point performance. Scotty Middleton’s 11-point contribution off the bench further fueled the Buckeyes’ momentum. Notably, Bruce Thornton added 14 points, while Roddy Gayle Jr. chipped in with 10.

With this impressive win under their belt, Ohio State now looks ahead to a formidable challenge in the next round as they face off against the second-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini. Illinois, one of four teams to receive a double bye, previously defeated the Buckeyes earlier in the season with a score of 87-75.

“Our guys have come together; they’ve battled. We’ve raised our toughness and our togetherness and that’s been the biggest difference…We’re a different team, absolitely, but they’re (Illinois) a really good team and we got to go get some rest, recover, and finish the prep. We will be ready tomorrow.”

Interim Head Coach Jake Diebler

For Ohio State, the road to the NCAA tournament remains uncertain, but this victory over Iowa and the opportunity to take on Illinois presents a critical opportunity. With just one more win, the Buckeyes could very well punch their ticket to the big dance, making tomorrow’s matchup against Illinois a pivotal moment in their season. Game time is scheduled for 6:30 pm.