With the 2023 NBA Draft now officially behind us, we are one step closer to the tip off of the 2023-24 college basketball season. As the flurry of action in the transfer portal begins to wind down and rosters become settled, we have a much better idea of what each team will look like this coming winter.
Even more important, programs are beginning to release non-conference schedules, whetting our appetites for what should be another fun slate of non-conference games. Big Ten fans in particular have been eagerly waiting, as the league looks to bolster resumes in their quest for the National Title that has eluded them for over two decades.
One of the non-conference schedules most intriguing to Big Ten fans is that of Ohio State’s, a program that had been remarkably consistent under Chris Holtmann before a baffling fall from grace in 2022-23. Despite spending time in the Top 25 early on in the campaign, the Buckeyes suffered through a humiliating stretch in conference action, losing 14 of 15 games before overcoming Illinois at home in late February. In the end, a 16-19 overall record and 5-15 mark in the Big Ten was one of the most shocking results in the league a season ago.
Yet, there is hope around Columbus that 2022-23 was merely a hiccup and not an indication of a long-term trend. Holtmann’s team remains awfully talented, even with the departure of Brice Sensabaugh, and it’s hard to imagine the Buckeyes being down for long. Even better, the non-conference slate provides a nice mix of challenges that could end up being resume-boosters and tune-up games that should provide a young team some nice confidence heading into Big Ten play.