The Ohio State women’s basketball team just finished off a 26-6 regular season and were selected as the No. 5 seed in the Lexington Region during Monday night’s Selection Show for the NCAA Tournament. Luckily for them, they are on the opposite side of the Connecticut Huskies, who have won 107 consecutive games and are expected to win it all—again. The only way they will play against the Huskies is if they make it to the national championship, which would be a major accomplishment in itself. Geno Auriemma’s Connecticut squad may be an unstoppable force in women’s college hoops, but the Buckeyes are trying their best to be among the top teams in the country besides UConn. They have a shot to prove that this March.1
Part of the reason why Ohio State has done so well this season is due in part to guard Kelsey Mitchell. So far this season, the junior is averaging 23 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.3 steals a game while shooting 44 percent from the field and 37 percent from long distance so far this season. No, this isn’t just a fluke season for her. During her three-year career so far at Ohio State, the Big Ten Player of the Year has averaged 24.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game while shooting 44 percent from the field and 38 percent from beyond the arc.
One of the best players in the country, Mitchell and the Buckeyes have a shot to make a run in the tournament. While a few upsets would have to happen along the way, Ohio State has the talent to at least make it to the Final Four, especially if Mitchell is playing her usual game.
The argument can be made that the scarlet and gray are better than their seed may appear. Prior to the Selection Show, the Bucks were ranked No. 11 in the country, which would have meant that they should have gotten a No. 3 seed if they are determined by the rankings. But, while they may have been seeded lower than expected, at least they avoid four-time defending champion UConn. The fact that they were ranked 27th in the women’s basketball RPI due to their strength of schedule most likely played a key factor on why the Buckeyes weren’t seeded as one of the top 16 teams in the tournament.
People may not know, but the Lady Buckeyes are the best basketball team in Columbus, hands down. If you want to keep track of Columbus’ best basketball team, they begin their quest for the Final Four in Dallas, Texas on Friday against No. 12 seed Western Kentucky at 2:30 p.m. ET in Lexington, Kentucky.
Unlike the men’s tournament, which has their first two rounds in random cities across the country, the top-4 seeds in each region host the first two rounds of the women’s tournament. With Kentucky as the No. 4 seed next to Ohio State, if the Buckeyes continue to win and advance in the tournament, they will play in Lexington until the Final Four.
Led by head coach Kevin McGuff and arguably the most prolific scorer in the country in Mitchell, the Buckeyes are prepared for postseason play and will look to make one of the deepest runs in school history starting Friday afternoon. Last season, the third-seeded Buckeyes lost to the seventh-seeded Tennessee Volunteers in the Sweet 16. This time around, the Big Ten regular season co-champions hope to make an even farther run into March (and April).
- In case you have been stuck in a cave over the past few months, the Ohio State men’s basketball team just had their worst season since head coach Thad Matta came to the school in 2004. Not only did they miss the NCAA Tournament for the second-consecutive season, but for the first time in Matta’s coaching career, his team failed to win 20 games in a season. They struggled so much that they didn’t even receive an invite to the NIT, which is the tournament the top teams who do not make the Big Dance participate in. While there are plenty of reasons for their struggles, it’s inexcusable. [↩]