All throughout college basketball, teams are flocking to exotic locales for early-season tournaments. They pit the top teams against each other in places like Hawaii or even Atlantis. For the Buckeyes, they’re staying close to home before Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, keeping it local with a game against Wright State University.
Like Sunday’s game, competitively it shouldn’t be too filling. Consider it a light appetizer with the only bird in mind the No. 10 Louisville Cardinals on Nov. 30. Here’s what to expect on Wednesday.
The Wright State Raiders, located west down I-70 in Dayton, Ohio come to Columbus for their first game against the Buckeyes since almost 10 years ago. In the final year before head coach Kevin McGuff took the helm, head coach Jim Foster and the Buckeyes welcomed Wright State and sent them home with a 52-82 defeat.
Even though the two sides are only separated by 65 miles, Wednesday’s afternoon matinee is only the fifth time the two teams have played each other. Overall, the series has been all Buckeyes, sitting at 4-0 and adding a likely fifth on Thanksgiving eve.
Wright State plays in the Horizon League, in Division 1. So far this season, they’ve played a schedule full of in-state schools, and fell to each of the teams in stronger divisions than their own.
To college basketball fans outside of Ohio, the Wright State Raiders are known for their 2021 NCAA Tournament first round upset of No. 4 seed Arkansas Razorbacks. After that game, and subsequent defeat against Missouri State, Wright State lost their head coach to the University of Memphis, alongside a list of talented players.
In three games this year, the Raiders are 1-2, losing to MAC sides in the Toledo Rockets and Bowling Green Falcons by 32 and 30 points, respectively. In part, this has been because of an aggressive roster change in the offseason for Wright State.
Leading the team is second year head coach Kari Hoffman. The former Division II Cedarville University coach and G-MAC Coach of the Year in 2019 and 2020 has 12 new players on her team this season. Hoffman lost players to transfers, graduation and even quitting/dismissals after a tumultuous first season at the helm, the Dayton Daily News reported. Of the 12 new players, six are transfers and six are incoming freshmen. Things got so tough last year that even a team manager needed to dress for a game late in the season.
There are two returning Raiders from last season, junior guards Makira Webster and Channing Chappell. Plus, two transfers from Hoffman’s former school Cedarville in guards Emily Chapman and Isabelle Bolender.
Leading the Raiders is St. Bonaventure transfer Kacee Baumhower. Transferring mid-season last year, she wasn’t eligible to play, but this year is second on Wright State in scoring and first in rebounding, averaging 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
All that being said, it takes time for a new coach, and basically an all-new team, to find their footing. It’s not likely to happen against the Buckeyes.
- Taylor Thierry gets better each game, warranting a permanent spot in the lineup.
- No starter played more than 20 minutes against McNeese State on Sunday.
- Cotie McMahon’s play outside of shooting has been great. Will her shooting follow?
- Bryce Nixon didn’t start the Raiders’ first game, but started the past two.
- Nixon leads the Raiders in outside shooting, hitting 4-for-15 in three appearances.
- Although she doesn’t start, freshman guard Makiya Miller leads the Raiders in minutes per game (25.7) and points per game (12.0).
Like Sunday’s game against McNeese, Wednesday won’t be much of a contest. Wright State should bring stronger competition than the Cowgirls, but their basically new line-up against a veteran side, the No. 4 team in the country, is a recipe for another Buckeyes win.
Although the Raiders are known for creating magic in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, it probably isn’t continuing against Ohio State.
Wednesday is a great game for transfer forward Eboni Walker’s shots to begin falling. The forward’s shown great skills in rebounding, is an athletic presence under the basket and also makes great passes. If shots start to drop, Walker’s minutes will shift away from the end of games where there’s no competition left into key moments to give forward Rebeka Mikulášiková a break.
How to Watch
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
Where: Schottenstein Center - Columbus, Ohio
LGHL Prediction: 93-54 Ohio State Buckeyes
Wednesday’s game features two freshmen who know each other well, coming off two different sidelines.
Buckeyes guard Mya Perry and Wright State’s Makiya Miller both stayed in Ohio for college basketball after winning the 2022 OHSAA Division I State Championship. The two combined for 27 points in the overtime title win against Mason on March 12, and now play against each other for the first time at the NCAA level.
Miller’s logged big minutes off the bench for Wright State and leads the team with 12.0 points per game, while Perry’s only come in for a few minutes in the fourth quarter of blow-out victories. Sunday, Perry scored her first points in college basketball after creating a steal in the fourth quarter.
If Wednesday’s game goes the Buckeyes way, Perry and Miller could see action against each other.