Sunday afternoon, Ohio State women’s basketball guard Jacy Sheldon led the Buckeyes with 25 points in a 74-69 win over the then No. 10 ranked Indiana Hoosiers. For the scarlet and gray, it was the first regular season win against IU since January 2021. It also showed an Ohio State team who continues to adjust to opponents in-game and come away with tournament resume boosting victories. Monday, the basketball voters of the Associated Press moved the Buckeyes from No. 8 to No. 5.
Ohio State is on a Big Ten-leading nine-game winning streak, including wins over then No. 2 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. The current form isn’t only moving the Buckeyes up nationally but keeping Ohio State at the top of the conference standings, tied with the Hawkeyes.
The two Big Ten teams atop the standings are on a collision course for a March 3, 2024 matchup on the final day of the season to crown the Big Ten regular season champion. Unless either Ohio State or Iowa slips up before then, the form of both teams is creating a scenario where the conference schedule makers will be rewarded heavily.
Speaking of slip ups, a reason for the Buckeyes move up the standings this week is what happened last week. The new No. 2, the Kansas State Wildcats, lost two games last week after earning the spot. It’s creating an aura around the No. 2 spot itself, with the UCLA Bruins and Hawkeyes each falling from that spot. The Bruins did it twice, moving back into the spot after Iowa lost to the Buckeyes, only to lose again with forward Lauren Betts missing games due to an undisclosed injury.
Kansas State lost by three points to the Oklahoma Sooners and then again five days later against the Texas Longhorns. The Wildcats weren’t alone in games not going their way. Of the seven teams in front of Ohio State entering last week’s play, three teams had defeats.
The then No. 4 Stanford Cardinals lost to the USC Trojans 58-67 with freshman USC guard JuJu Watkins scoring 51 of the Trojans’ 67 points. For the then No. 7 UCLA Bruins, they lost to Stanford on Sunday by 20 points.
Throughout the Big Ten, there are still only three teams in the top 25. The Iowa Hawkeyes also benefited from other teams losing, and avoiding a Maryland Terrapins comeback, to move back to No. 2. For the Hoosiers, a day after its Schottenstein Center defeat, the crimson move down to No. 14.
NET Rankings tell a different story. The wins over the Wisconsin Badgers and Hoosiers keep the Buckeyes at No. 14. Indiana moved down from No. 12 to No. 13. Iowa stayed put at No. 5 with five teams in the top 25.