Ohio State fans were dealt with heartbreak as the clock hit midnight on New Year’s Eve, as Noah Ruggles missed a long field goal that would have given the Buckeyes the win over Georgia and sent them to the College Football Playoff Championship Game to square off with TCU. Now that the football season is over, our attention turns to the hardwood.
For those who haven’t been keeping track of how the basketball teams are doing so far this year, you’ve missed a lot! The biggest story so far this year has been the women’s basketball team starting the season 15-0. Not only did the lady Buckeye hoopers start the season with a win over Tennessee, Ohio State is currently ranked third in the country, with the only teams ranked ahead of the Buckeyes being South Carolina and Stanford.
Following a 73-57 win at Northwestern on Sunday night, the Ohio State men’s basketball team was rewarded with a return to the AP Top 25, checking in at 24th in the weekly rankings. Chris Holtmann’s team is 10-3 so far this season, with their losses coming to San Diego State in the Maui Invitational, at Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and against North Carolina in overtime at Madison Square Garden in the CBS Sports Classic. The Buckeyes will be tested on Thursday when they host top-ranked Purdue at Value City Arena.
What we want to know today is which Ohio State basketball player are most excited to watch the rest of the season? Your choice can be from either the men’s or the women’s team because they are both having great seasons, and both squads deserve recognition. Between the two squads, there is a strong collection of great players that make a big impact on and off the floor.
Today’s question: Which Ohio State basketball player are you most excited to watch the rest of the season?
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s answer: Brice Sensabaugh
As the season moves along, it feels like Brice Sensabaugh is Malaki Branham 2.0. The forward has made an immediate impact in his first season in Columbus, scoring in double figures in every game except for one, when he was scored four points in the loss to Duke in late November. Sensabaugh has played the best basketball of his young college career recently, scoring at least 18 points while hitting over 50 percent of his field goals in each of the last four games.
With each game he plays, it feels it is becoming more and more obvious that Sensabaugh is likely to head to the NBA after this season. If last year’s Florida’s Gatorade Player of the Year is looking like he’ll be a lottery pick, it is impossible for him to justify return to Ohio State for a second season, even with NIL becoming more prominent in college sports. We saw a similar trajectory from Branham last year, where it looked like he was going to be in Columbus for a least two seasons, but he got on a hot streak that made NBA talent evaluators notice.
Hopefully Ohio State doesn’t waste the time they have with Sensabaugh on the roster. It has been quite some time since the Buckeyes have made the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. If Ohio State fails to reach the Sweet Sixteen when they had E.J. Liddell and Branham on the roster last year, followed by Sensabaugh this year, the job security for head coach Chris Holtmann deserves to take a hit.
Meredith’s answer: Taylor Mikesell
The Ohio State women’s basketball team tied its best start in program history with its win over Michigan Saturday (there’s a lot to be excited about in that sentence). The Buckeyes are 15-0 and rose to No. 3 in the AP Poll. They’ve already boasted impressive wins over ranked teams in non-conference play and now are buckling down to run through the Big Ten.
All that’s to say that women’s basketball, while there’s a tough road ahead, has a real shot at a Big Ten title and a NCAA Tournament run. And leading the way for the Buckeyes is Taylor Mikesell. The senior guard is coming on strong in her final season in Columbus, averaging 18 points per game while shooting 45% from the field. Most recently, Mikesell led the Buckeyes in their win over Michigan with 16 points in a defense-heavy game against Michigan.
The Buckeyes truly do share the wealth when it comes to scoring (how else do you get to be the No. 5 scoring offense in Division I?). Six players are averaging in double figures (though Madison Greene, who was putting up 11 points per game, just went out for the season with a knee injury).
I am excited for what Mikesell can do for the Buckeyes, but I’m even more excited to see how far this team that has so much talent and that’s working so well together can go as we race toward March.