The weekend’s NCAA basketball schedule is highlighted by a ranked Ohio State vs. West Virginia showdown. Here are the key storylines for that game.
Ohio State and West Virginia will face off on Sunday in a marquee non-conference game with major implications for both sides.
The Buckeyes are ranked No. 2 in the country and would like to solidify that ranking with another win over a ranked opponent. Despite beating Kentucky in their last outing, Ohio State is still trying to shake their upset loss to Minnesota, which cost them their No. 1 ranking.
As for West Virginia, they’re looking for their first signature victory of the season. They’re 10-1 and have quality wins over Wichita State, Pitt, and Northern Iowa, but haven’t beaten (or played) a team ranked in the KenPom top 30 or picked up a victory that resonated nationally.
It is the last non-conference game for both teams as they are each set to start conference play after the new year, raising the stakes for this game. Obviously, both would like to end their non-conference schedules on a high note, but it’s also big for both the Big Ten and Big 12.
If Ohio State solidifies themselves as perhaps the nation’s best team, that raises the Big Ten’s profile and provides a resume-boosting opportunity for everyone in the conference. If West Virginia wins, they’ll vault up the polls and give the Big 12 a third legitimate contender along with Kansas and Baylor.
So, what are the biggest things to watch in this important non-conference showdown? Here are the three key storylines to follow when the Buckeyes and Mountaineers face off on Sunday.