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tBBC OSUWBB: Buckeyes Announce Non-Conference Schedule


OSUWBB: Buckeyes Announce Non-Conference Schedule
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


Last week the Ohio State women’s basketball team announced the non-conference portion of their 2016-2017 schedule. After facing arguably the toughest schedule in the country last season which included all four Final Four teams from the previous year, the Buckeyes have another daunting schedule this season as coach Kevin McGuff makes it very clear that OSU is aiming to an elite program and is scheduling with that in mind.

For the second year in a row Ohio State will open the season against South Carolina. Last year the Gamecocks won a tight back-and-forth game in Columbia and the Buckeyes will be looking for revenge in Columbus on November 14th. Expect this game to be on ESPN as both OSU and South Carolina are projected as Top 10 teams and a season opening matchup like this is rare.

After a difficult opener, things get a bit easier as OSU hosts Cleveland State and LIU Brooklyn on November 16th and 19th, respectively. The Buckeyes then head to Florida for Thanksgiving weekend where they will compete in the Gulf Coast Showcase hosted by Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Myers, Florida. OSU will open against host FGCU and the winner of that game will take on the winner of a match between Syracuse and George Washington. The other half of the bracket features Baylor, Kent State, DePaul, and Western Kentucky. This is an extremely challenging tournament as five of the eight teams made the NCAA tournament last year with DePaul and Ohio State reaching the Sweet 16, Baylor reaching the Elite Eight, and Syracuse reaching the national title game.

Ohio State will return home for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge where they will host Miami (FL) on December 1st. The home stand continues with games against Cincinnati (December 4th), Southern (December 7th), Canisius (December 11th), and Alabama State (December 16th).

The highlight of the non-conference schedule is a trip to Harford to take on Connecticut in the return game of a home-and-home series. UConn easily handled the OSU in Columbus last season on the way to winning their fourth straight national title and this year’s match will be amazingly challenging but also will present a chance for the Buckeyes to show where they are as a program.

The non-conference schedule concludes with a home game against Winthrop on December 21st before the Buckeyes head home for Christmas break and to prepare for the Big Ten schedule.

While not at the same level as last year’s schedule, this is still an amazingly difficult non-conference schedule that will prepare Ohio State for the challenges they will face in March. The Buckeyes will face at least four teams that made the NCAA tournament last year (South Carolina, Miami (FL), Alabama State, and UConn) and could play three more depending on how the Gulf Coast Showcase plays out. Miami (Fl) and Alabama State lost in the first round last year while South Carolina made it to the Sweet 16 and Connecticut of course won the national championship. A 10-3 record after the non-conference portion of the schedule is likely and would keep OSU ranked in the top 10 heading into Big Ten play.

This year the Big Ten returns to a 16 game schedule after featuring an 18 game schedule the past two years; this is a mistake in my opinion but for some reason the conference didn’t ask me. While the dates for the conference games have not yet been announced, the Big Ten has announced the location of the games. Ohio State take on Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin in home-and-home games. Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, and Penn State will make the trip to Columbus while the Buckeyes will face Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue, and Rutgers on the road. This a pretty fair conference schedule that leans slightly against OSU in terms of the home and away breakdown. The road only slate features Michigan State (3rd in the Big Ten, NCAA Tournament second round), Indiana (4th in the Big Ten, NCAA second round), and Purdue (6th in the Big Ten, NCAA first round). In comparison, the home-only slate features just two teams, Maryland and Michigan, who finished in the top half of the conference last year; the Wolverines were 7th. However, Maryland is the biggest threat after winning the conference for the second straight year, earning a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament, and advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament last year before being upset by eventual Final Four team Washington; getting the Terrapins in Columbus without a return trip is a nice break for the Buckeyes. The conference portion of the schedule will give Ohio State four more games against teams that made the NCAA tournament last year: Maryland, Michigan State, Indiana, and Purdue.

The post OSUWBB: Buckeyes Announce Non-Conference Schedule appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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