Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 2/29/12

The Ohio State men’s basketball team has certainly been struggling as of late, and perhaps the biggest reason has been the wildly inconsistent and unproductive play of star big man Jared Sullinger. Going into this season, Sullinger was on virtually everyone’s short list of national player of the year candidates. Now the talk is about how much damage Sullinger has done to his draft prospects this season.

It’s been a mind scratching season for Sullinger, the coaches, and fans and observers alike. Some have wondered if there’s an internal chemistry problem that is eating away at this team. But according to Sullinger, he’s just allowed himself to be too distracted as of late. Per Ari Wasserman of Scout.com:

It’s not one thing that’s been bothering Jared Sullinger, who admitted Tuesday that he hasn’t been playing his normal brand of basketball. It is the sum multiple small things that has had the sophomore All-American distracted.
And that could turn into one big problem for the No. 10 Ohio State basketball. Sullinger acknowledged that while offering an explanation for why he’s been playing noticeably different.

“It is just the little stuff,” Sullinger said. “It is just me letting the refs get to me, or letting everything on the outside get to me and it letting it creep in. I was focusing on other stuff besides the basketball team and what this team needs me to do to win basketball games.”

That may not be the only factor that has caused the Buckeyes (23-6, 11-5 Big Ten) to lose three of their last five games while slipping out of the race for the Big Ten Championship, but head coach Thad Matta most certainly knows the impact of not having Sullinger completely focused.

“I don’t know,” Matta replied when asked about his big man’s focus following the team’s 63-60 loss to Wisconsin on Sunday. “He was battling a cold, but he’s played with a lot worse than that. I know this: When Jared’s playing his best basketball, he’s engaged and into it.”

Sullinger and the Buckeyes return to the court tonight against Northwestern. It will be interesting to see whether the focus is back for the Buckeye big man.

[Related: Wisconsin Wears Out Buckeyes, Sends OSU Into Complete Meltdown]

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Mets’ trade for Carlos Gomez called off despite reports

Report: Rangers to acquire Cole Hamels from the Phillies

WATCH: Tulo hits first home run with Blue Jays

NFLPA officially files Brady lawsuit, wants QB to play Week 1

Mariota’s lack of red flags was a concern for NFL teams

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tigers 'rebooting,' make David Price available in trade

Jerry Jones backs Roger Goodell amid Deflategate controversy

Brady, agent contacted AT&T in attempt to retrieve deleted texts

Report: Chancellor 'strongly considering a camp holdout'

Colts become favorites to win AFC with Brady suspended

Dodgers reportedly acquire Mat Latos and Michael Morse

Revis won't wear Super Bowl ring around Jets teammates

Former NBAer Vin Baker now works at Starbucks

Can Preller fix the mess in San Diego?

Mike Leach compares Deflategate to Kardashians

All Panthers home games will also be broadcast in Spanish

Giants owner calls Pierre-Paul debacle ‘very disappointing’

Panthers WR cited for marijuana paraphernalia, had child in car

Bruins-Canadiens Winter Classic details announced

Jay Bruce and Carlos Gonzalez: Twin trade chips

Next summer's top 10 NBA free agents

Canseco will live as a woman to support Caitlyn Jenner

Giants owner says nobody from team has seen JPP's hand

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Can Preller fix the mess in San Diego?

Next summer's top 10 NBA free agents

Who is the NL's new top shortstop?

Cardinals HC Bruce Arians calls Jen Welter a 'trailblazer'

Mets still act like a small-market team

Tom Brady: I did nothing wrong

NFL upholds Tom Brady's suspension, legal battle likely

Cardinals hire first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Seau family: HOF broke their word

Kobe to see time at power forward next year

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker