Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
Today’s Question: What is the best birthday present an Ohio State sports team could give you this year?
Editor’s Note: Jami’s birthday was on Monday, which prompted this week’s You’re Nuts’ question.
Jami’s Take: Women’s basketball national title
For so many weeks, all I wanted for my birthday was a Buckeye victory (especially if it had come over Michigan) in the National Championship football game this past Monday.
Alas, it wasn’t in the cards. Maybe a friend of Uga had a birthday this week too.
But as my consolation prize, what I would like most is an Ohio State women’s basketball title.
While the Buckeyes have won 12 Big Ten titles - the most in the conference for women’s basketball - and have made 24 appearances in the NCAA tournament, they have yet to win that elusive National Championship title.
This year, things could be different. After a historic 17-0 start to their season (the record for best start in program history), the Buckeyes are sitting atop the Big Ten and are ranked No. 3 in the country.
If they continue to perform at this level, they’re positioning themselves to earn a No. 1 seed in the tournament and to work their magic.
They’ve done this largely without key leader Madison Greene or their star guard Jacy Sheldon. Greene suffered a season-ending knee injury on December 21, a little more than a year after the knee injury that ended her 2021-22 season.
But unlike the 2021-22 season, Sheldon hasn’t been there to pick up the slack at point guard. Sheldon began the season as the starting guard before injuries put Greene back in the starting role. Now, due to lower leg injuries of her own, Sheldon has been week-to-week.
The Buckeyes went into the season touting increased roster depth. And boy, they weren’t kidding. We’ve seen Rikki Harris come into her own in the starting role, while Heyvnne Bristow has stepped up and been spectacular off the bench.
New players are stepping into the leadership roles Greene and Sheldon previously filled, and as a result, each game, the Buckeyes are ready to fight for a win even when staring adversity in the face.
If this is what the Buckeyes can do when faced with injuries? What can’t they do? They have less room for error without Greene and Sheldon – but so far, it hasn’t been a problem. And they have their perfect record to prove it.
If people weren’t paying attention before, they are now. And for my birthday, I want the entire women’s basketball fan base to know the names of the Buckeyes entering into the NCAA tournament. I want their opponents to feel vaguely threatened by them. I want them to continue fighting their way to the title this program has been seeking.
We know Ohio State’s football team is dominant. It’s always nice to remind people, sure. But Ohio State football is synonymous with excellence.
This year, I want Ohio State women’s basketball to be synonymous with that same excellence. I want this to be the foundation of a dynasty. And most importantly, I want to see some great basketball and I want our players healthy. Any combination of the above could be wrapped with a bow and go down as the best birthday gift ever.
Matt’s Take: Chris Holtmann proving his outspoken doubters wrong
I think the easy answer to this is a College Football Playoff National Championship, and that would likely be the No. 1 wish for the vast majority of Buckeye fans everywhere, so while I will obviously be hoping that we have one of those trophies to celebrate in one year’s time, I’m going to follow Jami’s lead and head to the hardwood.
Like all Ohio State hoops watchers, I have been frustrated and disappointed with the regular underachievement that we have seen from the men’s basketball team when it comes to the postseason. However, I really like Chris Holtmann as a human being. From a distance and in my limited interactions with him during press conferences, he seems like a genuinely decent person who cares about his players and is very good at developing them.
So, my wish is part for me, part for him, and part for the OSU fanbase at large; I want his squad to do something — anything — that will get the very vocal portion of the Ohio State online community to cut him some slack. You can argue whether or not he deserves any slack at this point — which is not what this is about — but I am hoping that come April, there is nothing for his “haters” to add to their laundry list of complaints.
Does that need to be a national title? Final Four? Elite Eight? Second-weekend appearance? Big Ten Tournament title? I don’t know, and even though the B1G Tourney is already less than two months away, a lot can and will change for the team in the next few weeks, meaning that expectations will change too.
However, I am hoping (as a fan) that I get to watch a substantive, quality, deep run into the postseason for the men’s basketball team. I am hoping (as an OSU blogger) that we don’t have to write about another tournament collapse and deal with the angry Twitter mob coming into our mentions with pitchforks and torches. I am hoping (as a person) that Holtmann won’t have to deal with the headaches of navigating another offseason full of people calling for his job.
Who has the right answer to today’s question?
This poll is closed
Jami: Women’s basketball national title
Matt: Holtmann proving doubters wrong