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A week since loss at Wisconsin, No. 15 Ohio State can get back in win column vs. Purdue

Buckeyes need momentum ahead of pivotal game at No. 11 Michigan on Sunday.

Jacob Myers
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said his team was focused in practices last week before Sunday's game against Northwestern was postponed because of COVID-19 protocols.

The consequences of last week’s loss to Wisconsin likely will be felt through the rest of the regular season by the No. 15 Ohio State women’s basketball team.

All Kevin McGuff’s team can do now is march forward and win its five remaining games — and any of the four that could be rescheduled — beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday against Purdue (6-11, 3-10 Big Ten) at Value City Arena.

On the road against a team with just one conference win entering the game, the Buckeyes (12-3, 8-3) flopped against Wisconsin and watched their hopes of a regular-season conference championship take a major blow.

They had a weekend game against then-No. 21 Northwestern to rid any foul aftertaste of a sour defeat, but that game ended up being postponed for a presumptive positive case of COVID-19.

"I thought our preparation ahead of the game was really good," McGuff said after the game was called off. "I was hoping we could be out there and apply that to the game, but it just wasn't going to be the case."

McGuff said Wednesday that he does not expect to have all players available against Purdue.

Any momentum that might have come from knocking off a ranked opponent will have to be gained by following through this time on beating a team near the bottom of the Big Ten standings.

Ohio State has practiced as scheduled this week with daily COVID-19 testing and all signs point to the game being played as scheduled. It’s unknown if any players will be unavailable for Ohio State against Purdue.

McGuff said the team had performed well on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor in recent practices following the loss to Wisconsin.

"Our kids were attentive," he said. "They were locked in and focused."

The Boilermakers are the type of team Ohio State should handle soundly. Their three Big Ten wins have all come against teams in the bottom half of the conference, and they’re currently on a five-game losing streak, which includes Illinois’ only conference win this season.

While Ohio State has struggled to score at times, Purdue is one of the poorest shooting teams in the Big Ten at 40.6% and ranks 13th in the conference averaging just 65 points per game.

The Buckeyes have looked every part of a top team in the Big Ten at home this season. They are 9-0 in all games in Value City Arena and 5-0 in conference games, including back-to-back victories over Michigan and Maryland last month when each team was ranked among the top 12 teams and were unbeaten in Big Ten play.

Ohio State hopes to use Thursday's game as an opportunity to prove itself against a lesser opponent, before a crucial rematch game at No. 11 Michigan at 2 p.m. Sunday. 

jmyers@dispatch.com

@_jcmyers

No. 15 Ohio State vs. Purdue

When: 4 p.m. Thursday

Radio: WBNS-AM (1460)