Another week. Another Monday. It’s time to take caffeine and dominate.
It’s also time for you to submit a question for the weekly beatwriter chat/Q&A I’ll be hosting this afternoon at 2pm. Let’s talk about sports in the state of Ohio, why “Good Will Hunting” is the greatest movie ever made, and anything else you’d like to ask.
And, most importantly, let’s have a good Monday, shall we?
A TOP 10 SHOW DOWN. Ohio State women’s basketball is about to enter the most challenging part of the regular season — one that begins with a top-10 game against Iowa on Monday at 7 p.m. in Columbus.
— Ohio State WBB (@OhioStateWBB) January 21, 2023
The No. 2 Buckeyes (19-0, 8-0 Big Ten) will put their perfect record on the line as they host All-American Caitlin Clark and the No. 10 Hawkeyes (15-4, 7-1 Big Ten) on Value City Arena. Clark ranks third nationally with 26.7 points per game and adds 7.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game for Iowa. Monika Czinano (17.9 ppg) and McKenna Warnock (11.9 ppg) are close behind Clark, with double-digit averages for the Hawkeyes.
But talented players and teams with many scorers haven’t stopped the Buckeyes from winning this season, even against Tennessee, Louisville, Oregon and Michigan — all of whom were in the top 15 at the time they played at Ohio State.
Kevin McGuff’s squad has been so successful against the best of the best (and against the not-so-great teams) because they also have talented players and numerous scorers, including Taylor Mikesell, Rebeka Mikulasikova, Cotie McMahon and Taylor Thierry, all of whom average double digits for the Buckeyes.
— Ohio State WBB (@OhioStateWBB) January 22, 2023
Mikesell and Mikulasikova have been the bread-and-butter combination for Ohio State all season, especially as Jacy Sheldon recovers from a foot injury that has limited her to just five games this year. Mikesell leads the team with 18.5 points per game, along with 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists, while Mikulasikova contributed 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
So, with two teams in the top 10 with talent galore on their rosters, it feels like a close that Ohio State vs. Iowa will be one of the best games of the season in women’s college basketball. That means you have to watch it on ESPN2! Better yet, if you live in or near Columbus, you should buy a ticket and go! If you can find a ticket, that is.
The available tickets on Ticketmaster for game #2 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Iowa tomorrow.
— Thomas Costello (@1ThomasCostello) January 22, 2023
If you will be attending tonight’s game, Ohio State has a reason to arrive early. From a women’s basketball press release:
Monday’s game is Buckeye Club Appreciation Night and 614 Night. The first 2,000 fans will receive a free dub chain T-shirt. For 614 night, a concession deal is offered in select concession stands – buy a popcorn, water and hot dog for only $11 (6 + 1 + 4). A jump rope group performs at halftime and the Buckeyes welcome former OSU and current WNBA great, Kelsey Mitchell (’18).
And, folks, the shirts are sick. Can someone get me an extra?
— Ohio State WBB (@OhioStateWBB) January 22, 2023
Time to win number 20, McGuff and Co. Buckeye Nation has your back.
(HOPE) BACK ON THE TRACK. While the women’s basketball team has to wait until tonight for the chance to beat the Hawkeyes, the men’s team already accomplished that feat this weekend with a 93-77 home win on Saturday.
The win broke a five-game skid for Ohio State. It also got me out of the depression of watching the Buckeyes as they AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST played optimally against a good opponent. In this case, it was the Fran McCaffery-coached Hawkeyes, who came to Columbus as winners in their previous four games.
Brice Sensabaugh should be named Big Ten Freshman of the Week Monday (for the fourth time this season) after a dominant performance in which he shot 10-of-12 from the floor and four-of-five from behind the arc for a career -high 27 points. He also added five rebounds, one assist and one steal to his statistical totals.
But it wasn’t even the best performance by an Ohio State player in the game.
No, that honor belongs to Isaac “Ice” Likekele, the Oklahoma State transfer who played his best game as Buckeye in his 16th appearance for the Ohio State program. As our basketball beat writer Griffin Strom expertly wrote, “Ice Caught Fire” on Saturday, as Likekele contributed a season-high 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to the win.
It was an excellent all round performance from Chris Holtmann’s side and gave us a glimpse of what this team is capable of at its best. Sensabaugh dominated. Likekele, Zed Key, Justice Sueing and Sean McNeil were fantastic. I mean, even sequences like this were common:
— Ohio State Hoops (@OhioStateHoops) January 21, 2023
Where has that Ohio State team been all season?
Hopefully this win is the one we all look back to as the turning point for the Buckeyes when this season is all said and done. The win that helped Ohio State – a very talented team on paper – stop playing with its food and start winning basketball games.
At least one can hope.
WHEN BUCKEYES BECOME BENGAL. As I mentioned last week, I am a Browns fan who has to deal with the reality that my favorite team is forever cursed and will bring me nothing but grief. Because that’s true, I have a void in my heart that needs to be filled with fandom for an NFL team. The Cincinnati Bengals have officially filled that void.
Folks, the Bengals are too likable, and I really enjoyed watching them beat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. What makes them even more likeable – to me at least – is that there are so many former Ohio State players on their roster.
Two of those Buckeyes are Sam Hubbard and – yes, he is a Buckeye – Joe Burrow. Those players also happen to be two faces of the Bengals, who will face the Kansas City Chiefs in their second straight AFC Championship appearance this weekend.
— Ohio State Soccer (@OhioStateFB) January 17, 2023
In fact, something I learned about Hubbard and Burrow recently is that they shared a friendship dating back to their time at Ohio State in the mid-2010s. of The Athletic wrote this weekend, that friendship was based on football and especially on BD’s Mongolian Grill.
Within a group chat of about 10 Ohio State football buddies, a specific sequence of events continued to play out.
“I would always say, ‘Who wants to get some food?'” Hubbard said. “No one would ever want to go — except Joe. He and I used to go to all-you-can-eat BD’s Mongolian Grill or Hibachi just to arrive the next day. We were always pretty much always connected when both of you were backups trying to arrive together.
Heaps of Asian stir-fries would help reshape their bodies and, they wouldn’t realize at the time, permanently change the image of Bangladeshi football. These meals allowed two Ohio kids playing in a sea of the nation’s most talented prospects to connect with each other about similar upbringing, views on caring for others, attitudes to football, and approaches to leadership and winning.
The extroverted type also didn’t constantly attract locker room attention or be very interested in the distractions that come with playing big college football. They only discovered a real connection. And $10 all-you-can-eat stir fry.
“We just have the same mindset,” Burrow said of their days in Columbus dorms. “We always had similar goals and always worked very hard. Had fun times too. When you go through all that together in your formative years, you develop a bond that lasts forever.”
That story rocks. And the Bengals rock.
While I will never turn against my beloved Cleveland Browns because I am determined to never give up or give up on anything (which can be painful at times, like right now), I will be happy to cheer on the Bengals as they run for another superbowl.
So, for now… Who Dey.
OSU IS WRU. Remember that old photo from an Alabama media day with Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith, Henry Ruggs, and Jaylen Waddle on the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium? Here’s what it looked like in case you haven’t already:
Alabama really had FOUR first round wide receivers at the same time.
Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs. pic.twitter.com/jIcb7CgCg4
— (@sportnews) April 30, 2021
Well, a similar photo of Ohio State recipients has been making the rounds on social media recently — one featuring Marvin Harrison Jr., Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Chris Olave. Oh, and they all talk to CJ Stroud, for what it’s worth.
— PFF College (@PFF_College) January 22, 2023
Now that both photos are available for people to see, there’s been a lot of debate about which group of recipients will be seen as better when it’s all said and done. And call me biased or a homer or whatever, but Ohio State is the clear choice here.
Smith is the only Heisman winner out of all eight recipients – I understand that. But the college careers of Jeudy, Ruggs and Waddle were all fine. Meanwhile, only Smith and Waddle have made real impact in their pro careers so far, with Jeudy on the hapless Denver Broncos and Ruggs no longer in the league.
As for the Ohio State players, do I need to explain?
I’ll take the Buckeyes. It’s not called WRU for nothing.
SONG OF THE DAY. “WKRP in Cincinnati” by Steve Carlisle.
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