2023 Ohio State University
The men's basketball team in Columbus started 2023 with a hectic first week. The first day in 2023 was also their first game of the New Year. The Buckeyes traveled up past Chicago to Northwestern to begin conference play. The Wildcats had an impressive start to the season and came in with a 10-2 overall record, but they were no match for then-9-3 Buckeyes.
The Bucks dominated the first half of the game, putting up 35 points and allowing just 17 on the other side. After controlling the entire first half, they did let off their strong defensive effort and allowed the Wildcats to put up 40 points in the second half. However, this would not be enough to upset the Buckeyes New Year.
The first Player of the Game of the 2023 season went to Big Ten Rookie of the week Brice Sensabaugh, who has earned this honor in each of the last three weeks. He led the team in scoring and also pulled down eight rebounds. Thanks to his continued efforts, the Buckeyes took home their first win of 2023 73-57 over Northwestern.
However, it was not all fireworks and celebrations for the Buckeyes this week. They had a meeting in Columbus with the No. 1 team in the nation in Purdue. In front of 17,000 people in Value City Arena, the Buckeyes put in one of their best performances of the season. They were able to lead by three points after the first half of the game after Buckeye big man Zed Key left after just four minutes of play with a shoulder injury. Sensabuagh once again was the leader of the scarlet squad in 2023, as he led the team in minutes played, steals, rebounds and scoring, but his 21-point performance was not enough, as the Buckeyes surrendered the lead with just 0:12 seconds to go following a three pointer by Fletcher Lloyd. Ohio State failed to run a play that ended in a shot on their final possession of the game and their upset of the top team in the nation came up short.
Despite the loss to Purdue, the Buckeyes have shown the nation once more they are able to play alongside the best in the nation even while shorthanded. The Buckeyes forced Purdue into making mistakes that allowed them to stick around and let their shooters find their rhythm. Felix Okpara was able to limit the impact of the largest player in the nation in Zach Edey and gave the Buckeyes a chance to win the game. Ohio State has proved they are good enough to get there. Now, their next test is proving they can win the biggest moments of the biggest games.
The 10-4 Buckeyes will be back in action January 8th at 1 p.m. on ESPN, as they go on the road out east to take on the 10-5 Maryland Terrapins. Following their road trip, they will be back at Value City Arena to play host to the 6-8 Minnesota Golden Gophers on January 12th on ESPN at 6:30 p.m.
2023 Ohio State University
The ladies in Columbus continued to be perfect this season, and they continue to do it in style. They got the New Year's Eve celebration started early, as they took on their rivals to the north, who came in ranked as the No. 14 team in the nation. Ohio State was just too good for the Maize and Blue, defeating them 66-57 behind Rikki Harris and Taylor Mikesell, who combined for 30 points to take down TTUN.
The Top 25 matchup proved not to be the biggest challenge of the week for the ladies in Columbus, as that would come their next time on the floor against Minnesota. They may have been suffering from a Top 25 New Years Eve hangover, as the Golden Gophers took advantage of a slow start from the Buckeyes. Minnesota led after the first half 43-39 and would grow their lead by another two points after a fierce back and forth third quarter. However, that was as long as they could hold on, as eventually the Buckeyes regained their magic in their first game of 2023, going on a massive 28-10 scoring run in the fourth quarter to move to 16-0 on the season. Taylor Mikesell once again was one of the best players on the floor, leading the team in scoring with 22 points.
Ohio State's veterans may be leading the charge this season, but they are getting plenty of help behind the best freshman in the Big Ten in Cotie McMahon, who has won conference player of the week four consecutive times. She contributed 24 combined points and 10 combined rebounds to the cause this week in two games played.
The ladies will be back in action on January 8th, as they play host to the unranked 14-2 Illinois Fighting Illini at 1 p.m. Following their one game homestand, they will travel to the corn state of Nebraska to take on the 10-6 Cornhuskers January 14th on the Big Ten Network at 2:30 p.m.