Following the worst season of Chris Holtmann's tenure in Columbus, all eyes were on the Buckeyes to see how they would respond to begin the 2023-24 campaign. So far, the results have been positive, as Ohio State has jumped off to a 10-2 start, with a ranked win over Alabama to their credit.
With the calendar set to flip to 2024 and Big Ten play now merely days away, one more game non-conference game stands in their way: a weekend tilt with West Virginia in the Legends of Basketball Showcase. The final of three matchups, all including Ohio teams, set to take place this Saturday, this is the clear headliner, with both teams looking to boost their resume with a victory over a power conference opponent.
It's been an understandably rough start to the season for West Virginia after a tumultuous offseason that saw longtime head coach Bob Huggins resign and Josh Eilert take over in an interim capacity. The Mountaineers are off to just a 5-7 start, a non-conference slate that has seen them drop games to the likes of Monmouth, UMass, and Radford.
It seems unlikely that a transition into conference play will be the spark West Virginia needs to turn things around, but you can never be too sure in the wacky world of college basketball. Perhaps a neutral site win will provide the momentum the Mountaineers need to flip the script and finish off the winter strong. That gives WVU something to play for, and plenty of reason for Ohio State to ensure they still come out on their "A" game.