Updated: Mar 12
2023 Ohio State University
The impossible became possible over the last week for the Ohio State Buckeyes who looked lost in conference play during the regular season. But against all the odds and against all the noise a handful of freshman and a couple veterans shook up the conference's biggest stage in Chicago this past week. Ohio State entered the conference tournament with a 13-18 record and a 5-15 conference record and were ranked as the thirteenth seed out of the fourteen teams in the tournament.
The Buckeyes came in playing without fear. In their first round matchup against Wisconsin they doubled the Badgers first half points total and looked like a completely new team. Despite a second half comeback from the Badgers, the Buckeyes held on thanks to some late free throws. Justice Sueing, Sean McNeil, and Bruce Thornton combined for 48 of the teams 65 points in their first upset of the week, 65-57.
Round two brought the Buckeyes a familiar foe in the 7th-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes. Whom the Buckeyes saw twice during the regular season, with each team winning a high scoring contest. That would not be the case here in the Big Ten Tournament as they Buckeyes were determined to slow down the tempo of the game after playing just 24 hours earlier against a physical Badgers team. The Buckeyes gave the Hawkeyes everything they could handle and then some as the Buckeyes knocked down seven three-pointers, including the big one by Justice Sueing with just under two-minutes to go in the game. His three-pointer gave the Buckeyes a four point lead and from that point on it became a free throw contest from both teams. Ohio State clung to that four point advantage to claim their second upset in as many days with a 73-69 victory.
At this point the Buckeyes became just the sixth team ranked tenth or higher to reach the Big Ten quarterfinals. Which saw the Buckeyes going up against the fourth-seeded Michigan State Spartans. The Buckeyes faced off against the Spartans twice in the regular season with the Spartans winning both games and handing the Buckeyes one of their worst offensive performances of all-time and then ending the Buckeyes regular season with a loss.The Buckeyes found themselves shorthanded going into their pivotal round three matchup, as they found out before the game that their leading scorer in Brice Sensabaugh would not be available as he was suffering from a knee injury that occurred during the Iowa game the day before. This was a huge blow to the team that had been playing without their starting center in Zed Key who was sidelined earlier in the year with a season ending injury. But that wouldn't stop the Buckeyes who played inspiring basketball and dropped in 10-three's and played some of their best defense of the year. Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle Jr., and Justice Sueing laid the hammer down dropping in 50 of the teams 68 points in their stunning upset of the Spartans 68-58.
With their last win they became the first team in Big Ten Tournament history to have started the tournament on Wednesday and still be alive for the weekend. No other team seeded 11th or higher had ever made the semifinals. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes they now found themselves matched up against the top team in the conference and the No. 5 team in the nation in Purdue. A team that had already defeated them twice during the season. Purdue was instantly on the accelerator as they tried to play fast and physical against the Buckeyes who were playing their fourth game in four days with a short bench and down two starters. But the Purdue big man in Zach Edey was just too much for the Buckeyes. Despite a strong performance from a lot of Buckeye players including Felix Okpara who was handed the impossible role of guarding the 7'4 Canadian, the Buckeyes season was brought to an end. A great back and forth battle saw the Boilermakers take one final run to the finish line leaving the gassed Buckeyes in the dust as they beat Ohio State 80-66.
The road ahead remains unclear for the Ohio State Buckeyes who finished the tournament with an overall record of 16-19. They will not make the NCAA tournament, but they still may have a shot at the NIT who will announce their invitees on Selection Sunday. This was the first time in Chris Holtmann's tenure at Ohio State that they failed to make the big dance.
2023 Ohio State University
An historic postseason run was finally brought to an end last Sunday as they Lady Buckeyes lost in the Conference Championship game to the Iowa Hawkeyes. Taylor Mikesell's 24 points would not be enough as the Iowa Hawkeyes led by Caitlin Clark's 30-point performance would take home the Big Ten Championship winning 105-72.
Following the unfortunate loss to end a great conference tournament run, the ladies in scarlet and gray must now turn their focus towards a bigger goal. The NCAA Championship and March Madness. Ohio State currently ranks 12th in the nation, which would currently have them playing as a three-seed in the upcoming tournament which will start on the 15th of March. The upcoming Selection Sunday could see the Buckeyes as high as a two-seed or as low as a five-seed. The ladies have put together quite a resume that will leave the selection committee with a tough decision come Sunday night.