The 2018-19 season was certainly an interesting one for head coach Kevin McGuff and the Buckeyes. Losing the NCAA’s No. 2 all-time leading scorer as well as three WNBA players, all five starters and nearly 94 percent of your offense is a tough way for any coach to head into an offseason. McGuff decided to bring in a collection of talented freshmen and five experienced graduate transfers. Sure, there were a number ups and downs but the story of the 2018-19 season was how this group grew together and transformed as the season went on.
The first two months of the season were tough as the Buckeyes had two long breaks, one due to the cancellation of two games and the other due to final exams. That made it hard for the team to gel and find consistency. But once the conference season started, it seemed the Buckeyes found another gear.
After starting the year 4-8, OSU won 10 of its final 15 regular season games and finished fifth in the Big Ten at 10-8. The team still had a chance to earn a double-bye and a top-4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament on the final day of the regular season. Despite the tough finish, which wasn’t indicative of how this team improved throughout the year, a number of positives could be taken from the season.
The three freshmen all played great at times and had the ability to start games and experience the level of play in the Big Ten. The older players undoubtedly wanted to make a deeper postseason run but they all showed that they could compete at the highest level of collegiate basketball.
The lasting impact of the 2018-19 season may not be felt for a year or two. This group, both young and old, help prepare the program to take the next step. The previous four years got the program back on the national stage. The next step is to compete for national titles. With the culture set by the 2018-19 team and the signing of a very talented 2019 class, the Ohio State program is heading for great things.