Up is down and down is up in a rebuilding season for the Ohio State women’s basketball team, and nowhere is that truth more evident than in Thursday’s matchup against Indiana at Value City Arena.
After nearly two full weeks of Big Ten play, the Buckeyes (4-8, 0-3) are the only team without a conference victory.
Meanwhile, the two teams on top of the Big Ten heap are Rutgers, which improved to 4-0 in league play with a victory at Illinois on Wednesday, and Indiana (14-1, 3-0). Those two teams have combined for one Big Ten co-championship in their history, when the Hoosiers and Ohio State shared the title in 1993.
The Buckeyes have a conference-best 16 Big Ten titles, including two regular-season championships and one tournament title the past two seasons under coach Kevin McGuff.
But this season has been a struggle, as evidenced by Ohio State being ranked at or near the bottom of the Big Ten in almost every major statistical category, including scoring offense, field-goal percentage and turnover margin.
Indiana, on the other hand, is enjoying a historic season under fifth-year coach Teri Moren. The Hoosiers this week entered the Associated Press top 25 for the fifth time ever and first since 2016.
IU’s 14-1 start matches its best in the NCAA era (beginning in 1981) and second-best in school history behind a 15-0 record in its inaugural season of 1971-72. The Hoosiers’ 3-0 start in Big Ten games is their best since 2009. They never have been 4-0 in league play.
“This is a team that collectively gets it, I think,” Moren told reporters this week. “There’s a maturity about them, the way they go about their work.”
Indiana kept its unblemished league record by edging 15th-ranked Michigan State 68-64 at home on Sunday. A day earlier, Ohio State had lost a hard-fought 75-69 decision at No. 4 Maryland.
If Ohio State has one advantage in a matchup against Indiana, it’s history. The Buckeyes have won 12 consecutive games and 23 of the past 25 against the Hoosiers. IU hasn’t won in Columbus since 2002.