The Ohio State women’s basketball team ended its 2022-23 regular season on Friday night with a heart-breaking last-second defeat at the hands of No. 7 Maryland on Senior Night at the Value City Arena. While the bracket for this week’s Big Ten Tournament won’t be finalized until today’s slate of fives games is complete, by virtue of their win over Michigan on Monday night, Ohio State knows that they are locked into the No. 4 seed and will receive a double-bye.
It has been a season of ups and downs for the Buckeyes, having ridden an 18-game winning streak to start the season all the way to the No. 2 slot in the AP poll. But, now that they are entering the postseason, let’s take a look at where Vegas has them slotted in for the race to the national title.
According to DraftKings SportsBook, Kevin McGuff’s team has the 13th-best odds to win the national title at +6500. That number is fourth-best for a team from the Big Ten, behind Indiana (+900), Maryland (+3000), and Iowa (+4000). Michigan is tied for 17th at +8000. Perhaps not coincidentally, that is the order of seeding for the teams in the B1G Tourney.
Obviously, these odds can and will change as the teams go through their conference tournament weeks. Regardless of opponent, the Buckeyes will tip off their postseason run on Friday, March 3 at roughly 3 p.m. ET, depending on how long the first game of the day runs.
They will play the winner of Thursday’s matchup between No. 5 Michigan and the winner of Wednesday’s No. 13 vs. No. 12 game. Penn State is guaranteed to be either No. 12 or 13. If Minnesota beats Purdue, the Gophers at the 12-seed and will face No. 13 PSU.
However, if Northwestern beats Nebraska on Sunday and Minnesota loses, the Nittany Lions are No. 12 and the Wildcats are No. 13. But, if both NU and Minnesota lose, the Golden Gophers will be No. 13.
So, on Friday, Ohio State will square off against No. 5 Michigan (who they have beaten twice this season 66-57 on Dec. 31 and 74-61 on Monday), Penn State (who they beat 67-55 on Feb. 16), Minnesota (who they beat 83-71 on Jan. 5 and 93-63 on Feb. 8), or Northwestern (who they beat 81-48 on. Dec. 28 and 84-54 on Jan. 19).
Collectively, the Buckeyes are 7-0 against their potential quarterfinal opponents, winning by an average score of 74 to 58. Obviously, the Wolverines would appear to be the most likely opponent, and beating a good team three times in a single season is a difficult task, but there is still the possibility for All-American guard Jacy Sheldon to return to the OSU lineup at some point this March. Having only played one game since November, Sheldon is still dealing with the effects of a lower leg injury, but if the Buckeyes could get her back at anything close to 100%, that would be a substantial difference-maker for the team’s chances heading into the Big Dance.
We will take another look at the women’s team’s NCAA Tournament chances once the Big Ten Tourney wraps up, but hopefully, that won’t happen until next Sunday when they have three more wins and a trophy to add to their resume.