Purdue v Ohio State
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In its first game under interim coach Jake Diebler, Ohio State staged the upset of the weekend in college basketball with a 73-69 stunner over No. 2 Purdue on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio. Just four days after firing coach Chris Holtmann, the Buckeyes led for the majority of the game and held off a furious late push from the Boilermakers (23-3, 12-3 Big Ten) behind huge performances from Jamison Battle and Bruce Thornton, who combined for 41 points in the win.

Battle was held to 11 scoreless minutes in the first half before blossoming into a difference-maker in the final 20 minutes when he scored all 19 of his points to help Ohio State to the win. As he heated up, Thornton kept Ohio State in the mix early with 14 of his 22 points coming in the first half.

How Ohio State (15-11, 5-10) pulled off the win was less about its offense and more about its defensive performance, as it limited reigning player of the year Zach Edey to 22 points and 13 rebounds in 33 minutes. Edey struggled with the Buckeyes' extra attention in the post and committed six turnovers, matching his career-high in a single game. Purdue as a team committed 14 turnovers and only forced six, and Ohio State converted 14 of those turnovers forced into 22 points.

The supporting cast around Edey all season has been much improved from a season ago but on Sunday the firepower beyond him was scarce to find. Non-Edey Purdue players shot 16 of 42 from the field and committed a meager 10 assists to eight turnovers.
The win gave Ohio State just its fourth win of the 2024 calendar year and second in its last eight outings. It entered the day 2-9 in its last 11 games, including an OT loss to Maryland mid-week that led to Holtmann's ouster.  

Purdue's seed outlook shifts

On Saturday morning, the NCAA Tournament selection committee named Purdue as the No. 1 overall seed in its mock exercise that previewed what the bracket would look like if things were set in stone entering the weekend. On Sunday afternoon, with Ohio State's stunner over Purdue, the outlook for Purdue is likely different.

CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm said after the the game that he is keeping Purdue as a projected No. 1 seed for now, but two outcomes -- UConn's destruction of Marquette on Saturday and Purdue's loss to Ohio State on Sunday -- is enough to have him move Purdue to the No. 2 overall seed. UConn, Palm says, is now the projected No. 1 overall seed.

"Purdue's loss at Ohio State on Sunday will drop the Boilermakers to the No. 2 overall seed behind UConn, a winner over Marquette on Saturday," Palm said. "Purdue's collection of wins is still superior to the other contenders, but its three losses are to two of the last four in the current bracket and a non-contender, and that is not good enough to hold off the Huskies."

Diebler debut a hit

In 2014, then-Ohio State coach Thad Matta hired Jake Diebler as a video coordinator. Less than a decade later, Diebler has captured the attention of the Big Ten and beyond in leading an outmanned Ohio State team to a win over the No. 2 team in the country in his first outing as the interim head coach.

Diebler has deep ties to the state and the family name carries some weight in coaching circles. His father, Keith, coached high school hoops in the state of Ohio for nearly four decades, and his older brother, Jeremiah, coached high school basketball as well. Diebler also has a brother, Jon, who played four years at Ohio State and was drafted in 2011. Ironically, Matta hired Jon in 2022 at Butler, where he now serves as the program's Director of Recruiting.

Jake may have an uphill climb to earning the Ohio State job on a full-time basis given the names that may be available to the Buckeyes and given he has no previous head coaching experience, but a win over a top-two team and projected No. 1 seed won't go unnoticed across the country. With assistant coaching experience at Ohio State, Vanderbilt and Valpo, and some brief-but-so-far-successful head coaching experience in Columbus, he has a chance to build a name for himself if the team can close the year on a high note.

One result doesn't define Purdue

Just like Purdue's shocking loss last postseason to No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson, this loss should not and does not define Purdue. Yes, obviously, it's a bad loss, and Purdue because of earlier than expected postseason exits in recent years makes for an easier target than other top teams. But a bad loss to a flawed team should not serve as a referendum on the program. Purdue is still very much in the mix to be a No. 1 seed come March Madness, and even with the loss to the Buckeyes, I think readjusting postseason expectations for this team would be an overreaction to the fantastic season this team has otherwise had.