G’day mates, I hope everyone is having a good week. Basketball season is here and with it comes a new set of challenges for watching Ohio State from overseas. The time difference between Ohio and Sydney posed some challenges during football season, namely strange start times for games such as early season noon games starting at 2am here, which did not do good things for my sleep schedule. However, despite the less than desirable start times, football games were on Sunday morning here and thus altering my sleep schedule to watch them wasn’t an insurmountable hurdle.
Basketball season presents different challenges due to games being played on different days of the week. Big Ten men’s basketball games tend to be played on Tuesdays and Saturday, the Saturday games won’t be any different from football but Tuesday games are an issue as those are on Wednesday morning while I’m at work, I’m pretty sure the IT department at the university here will be less than pleased at my accessing streaming sites while at work. Women’s games are an even bigger challenge, not only is it harder to find streams but most Big Ten women’s games are on Thursdays and Sundays, meaning I will be at work during those game. Never fear though, I will still continue to cheer on my Buckeyes from abroad, possibly much to the annoyance of my office mates during basketball games.
Ohio State to Host NCAA Tournament Games
The NCAA announced this week that Ohio State will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament (incorrectly referred to as the second and third rounds by the NCAA these days) at Nationwide Arena in 2015. As host institution OSU will not be eligible to play at Nationwide but this is still great news for Columbus area basketball fans and the community in general. Basketball fans will get the chance to enjoy the excitement of NCAA tournament games in person while the entire city of Columbus benefits from fans of the various teams assigned to that site visiting Columbus and spending large amounts of money. This will be the fourth time that Nationwide Arena has hosted the NCAA men’s tournament having previously had the games in 2004, 2007, and 2012. The fact that they are selected so often is a sign of the great job that the city, university, and arena do in putting on the event and how highly the NCAA thinks of them.
This is actually the second time this calendar year that the NCAA has selected OSU to host a basketball tournament as back in February OSU was selected to host the first and second round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament at St. John Arena. This will be the 3rd time in the past 5 years that Ohio State has hosted the first two rounds of the tournament, having hosted them at Nationwide Arena in 2009 and at St. John in 2011; the 2004 tournament was also hosted at St. John. As I stated before, this shows just how much the NCAA respects the job that OSU does running these tournaments and is a great chance for the university to show off. Some people may question why the women’s tournament is being held in St. John instead of Nationwide but I applaud the decision. As much as I wish it wasn’t so, the women’s tournament isn’t as big of a draw as the men’s and it is unlikely that Nationwide would come close to selling out, it certainly didn’t in 2009. Additionally Nationwide suffers a similar issue to the Schott in that I feel it is poorly designed for basketball which hurts the atmosphere. In contrast St. John, while old, is a great basketball arena that is conducive to having a fun, energetic atmosphere that can provide a real homecourt advantage. I was at the NCAA tournament games there in 2004 and the arena was rocking, hopefully Buckeye fans will show up like that this year. Remember, unlike the men’s tournament, in the women’s tournament a host school will play at their home site if they make the tournament.
Women’s Volleyball Back on Track
As Michael reported on Thursday, the 15th ranked Ohio State women’s volleyball team bounced back for a tough loss to Minnesota last weekend by defeating Northwestern 3-1 on Wednesday night. The Buckeyes looked to continue the winning streak as they hosted Illinois on Saturday. OSU opened an early 12-5 lead in the first set only to see Illinois come back and tie the score before the Buckeyes put the set away 25-23. The Illini dominated set 2, winning it 25-16 and sparking some worry among Buckeye fans. Illinois had a narrow lead for most of set three but a 4 to 1 run by the Buckeyes tied the set and gave them the momentum that they used to earn a 25-23 set win. Set four was similar to set two with the Illini dominating 25-16. The decisive fifth set was a tight affair but Ohio State pulled it out 17-15 to take a 3-2 match win. Senior Mari Hole continued her excellent season, recording 21 kills and 12 digs for her 14th double-double of the year. Junior Kaitlyn Leary had 17 kills and sophomore Anna Faul added a career-high 8 kills, to go along with 7 block assists.
Mari Hole’s performance over the weekend got her some national attention as she was named the Sports Imports/AVCA Divsion I National Player of the Week.; Hole is the 8th Buckeye to win the award and the first since 2005. As one would expect, Hole was also named Big Ten Player of the Week, the second such honor of her career; Hole also won the award on September 12th of last year which was also the last time an OSU player won. The win improved Ohio State’s record to 20-8, 11-5 in the Big Ten and kept them at 15th in the polls. The Buckeyes are currently tied with Minnesota for third in the conference, just one game back of second place Nebraska. After spending two straight weekends at home, the Buckeyes hit the road to face #21 Purdue on Friday night and Indiana on Saturday. Ohio State beat the Hoosiers 3-1 earlier in the year but fell to Boilermakers 3-1.
Women’s Soccer Falls in NCAA Tournament
The 16th ranked Ohio State women’s soccer team hosted Oakland in the first round of the NCAA tournament this past weekend. The Grizzlies scored first and the Buckeyes tied the game up with a goal from star senior Tiffany Cameron early in the second half. Neither team could score the rest of the way and the game went to penalty kicks which unfortunately Oakland won 3-1 to advance. OSU finishes the season with a 16-4-2 record and the Big Ten Tournament championship trophy.
This year’s senior class of Tiffany Cameron, Lauren Granberg, Jessie Greenberg, Kendyl Reed, and Aly Walker finished as the winningest class in OSU history with 59 wins. They made the NCAA tournament all four seasons, reaching the first College Cup and earning the first Big Ten championship in school history in 2010. Cameron graduates having scored 40 goals and 96 total points, both school records.
Men’s Diver Honored
Junior Ohio State diver Shane Miszkiel was named Big Ten Diver of the Week this week. While this is always a great accomplishment what makes this more notable it is the third straight week that Miszkiel has won the award. He has now been named diver of the week 5 times during his career and is the first men’s diver to earn that honor in three straight weeks since former Purdue diver David Boudia did during the 2010-2011 season; considering the fact that Boudia was an Olympian this summer I would say that put Miszkiel in pretty good company. This past weekend Miszkiel won the 3-meter springboard and came in third in the 1-meter springboard to help the 22nd ranked OSU men’s swimming and diving team defeat 13th ranked Tennessee in Knoxville, an accomplishment made more impressive as the Buckeyes only sent half to the team on the trip as the other half stayed home to defeat Miami the same day.
Men’s Cross Country Runner Going for a Title
Senior men’s cross country runner Donny Roys was selected to compete in the NCAA championships this weekend in Louisville, KY. Roys places 11th in the Great Lakes Regional last weekend, earning him an automatic spot in the championships. This is Roys’ first individual selection to the NCAA Championships but he does have experience there as the OSU men’s cross country team made the championships his freshman and junior years.