The Men's Team Continues to Struggle but the Women's Team is Title Hunting

By Kevin Harrish on February 28, 2017 at 10:10 am
Kelsey Mitchell looks to lead the Buckeyes this postseason.

Ohio State will finish with a losing record in the Big Ten for the first time in Thad Matta's tenure. Meanwhile, Kevin McGuff just won his first Big Ten championship and earned the top seed in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament.

The men can't seem to find a reliable source of offense, but Kelsey Mitchell just earned her second-consecutive Big Ten Player of the Year award and is the program's third all-time leading scorer before she's even reached her senior season. The men have won back-to-back Big Ten games just twice this season, but the women's team closed its season by winning 11 straight. While the men's team is fighting just to maintain mediocrity, the women's team is fighting for championships.

The Ohio State women's hoops team is the best basketball team in Columbus and it's not close.

After McGuff's most successful season as the team's head coach last season, when the team reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the first time since 2011, the Buckeyes got even more talented this season. Ohio State added three transfers from powerhouse programs and three five-star freshmen to its already loaded roster.

It took a while for all the new, talented pieces to gel together as a team. The Buckeyes went just 1-4 against ranked teams during non-conference play early in the season. When it happened, however, the team looked nearly unbeatable.

Since the start of Big Ten play, Ohio State has gone 15-1 in the conference to earn the regular-season conference title, is 2-0 against teams currently ranked in the top-25 and is one of the hottest teams in the country, winning 11-straight games to end the season.

And then there's Kelsey Mitchell. It's difficult to even list what she's accomplished through just three seasons at Ohio State, but we'll give it a shot.

Mitchell owns over 40 school, conference and national records including including the NCAA record for three-pointers in a season, the Big Ten record for points in a season, and Ohio State's top-four single-game scoring performances. She's never gone a game without hitting a three-pointer, which was already an NCAA record her freshman season.

She's been named the Big Ten Player of the Year twice, including this season, and was a finalist for every national player of the year award following the 2015-16 season.

She's not alone, either. Mitchell was just one of six Buckeyes to earn recognition at the Big Ten awards. Shayla Cooper, who is likely headed to the WNBA after this season, was named second team All-Big Ten along with Stephanie Mavunga, who was a top-10 rebounder in the country before her injury. Tori McCoy was named to the conference's All-Freshman team, Linnae Harper was named the Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year and Sierra Calhoun earned honorable mention.

Heading into postseason play, Ohio State has one of the deepest, most talented teams country playing its best at the right time, led by the nation's most prolific scorer while the men's team is doing all it can to finish in the top half of the conference.

Still, it's likely the men will host NIT games at the Schottenstein Center later this year while the women's team hosts the first round of the NCAA Tournament in St. John Arena in front of a smaller crowd. That's just how it goes.

But with or without the visible support from Buckeye faithful, McGuff's squad is ready to do big things this postseason.

Ohio State begins Big Ten Tournament play on Friday in Bankers Life Arena in Indianapolis where it will take on the winner of Thursday's Northwestern vs. Iowa game.

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