• notebookcomputer
  • 18/03/2023

NCAA notebook: Ohio State has 'hands full' with Missouri State after its First Four win LSU sports news in your inbox

Selection Sunday wasn’t quite as satisfying for Ohio State and three other teams.

While 60 teams knew their opponent immediately, coach Kevin McGuff and the Buckeyes were one of four matched against play-in teams, a first for the NCAA women’s tournament.

“It is what it is; they played and we didn’t,” McGuff said of Missouri State, which beat Florida State 61-50 Thursday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center to set up Saturday’s first game at 1:30 p.m.

“We finally have an opponent now. We split our time because, as you guys saw last night, it was a very competitive game.”

The Buckeyes (23-6) come in as the No. 6 seed after sharing the Big Ten title with Iowa. Ohio State has won eight of its past 10 games while the Bears are 25-7.

“They are very, very good defensively, and you can tell that they kind of hang their hat on their preparation and effort on that end of the floor,” McGuff said.

“I know we'll have our hands full. Their thing is they have a lot of older players who are used to winning, and they have been very successful over the years and they're very poised.”

The Buckeyes are led by the guard duo of Jacy Sheldon (19.5 points per game) and Taylor Mikesell (18.8 ppg), who account for half of the team’s average points per game (79.2).

Missouri State, in its 17th NCAA tournament, overcame injuries to key players to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference. Abigayle Jackson averages 12.8 points per game and Brice Calip 11.6. Coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton, who coached six seasons at Michigan State, has won at least 23 games in each of her four seasons.

Agugua-Hamilton’s experience in the Big Ten gives her some familiarity with her foe.

NCAA notebook: Ohio State has 'hands full' with Missouri State after its First Four win LSU sports news in your inbox

“They’re a little different now than the last time I played at Ohio State,” she said. “Same kind of philosophy, same coach. We’re familiar with his style. A very offensive minded team. They’re going to press to slow us down and try to speed us up on offense. They play fast, early offense transition, he’s always been that way. We understand the pace of the game is going to be fast.”

Mariah White, Missouri State’s senior transfer who fueled Thursday’s victory with 11 points and five steals, is the only Ohio native on the Bears’ roster. She said she knows little about Saturday’s opponent but was a fan growing up and particularly when Ohio State plays Michigan.

“I just follow the team I’m on,” she said. “I do know one girl on the team. When it comes to the Buckeyes against Michigan, I always go for Ohio State, of course.”

If you're a Tiger fan you won't want to miss this newsletter. Sign up today.e-mail address *

Jackson State coach Tomekia Reed was “ecstatic” on finding out President Joe Biden picked Jackson State to upset LSU in his NCAA tournament bracket.

“Joe knows, Joe knows,” Reed said with a smile. “That’s more national attention for our program. I love that respect level. That’s huge. I’m very appreciative of that.”

A pile of crawfish on his recruiting visit was one of the reasons Joe Burrow decided to transfer from Ohio State to LSU.

But what would Ohio State's Mikesell and Sheldon, like Burrow both Ohio natives, say to crawfish if it were put on their plate?

“Yes, I would love to try crawfish,” said Mikesell, who is from Massillon. “I have never had it before. This is my first time being down here, so I would love to try it.”

Sheldon, who is from Dublin, wouldn’t bite.

“I would not personally,” she said. “Not going to lie. I'm not a big seafood (fan). I don't like trying new things, but I'm sure it's good.”

After his team plays Missouri State, McGuff will be tuning in to watch Belmont take on Oregon in the Wichita Regional in Knoxville, Tennessee.

McGuff’s daughter Kilyn is a freshman guard for Belmont, having played in all 29 games for the Bruins.

“It’s a great opportunity for her as a freshman,” McGuff said. “Hopefully we will be able to have some success and I can follow that game as much as possible.”

This is LSU’s 27th NCAA tournament appearance and first since 2018. The Tigers are 43-26 all-time in 69 NCAA games. … LSU coach Kim Mulkey is 53-16 in 69 games in the NCAA tournament in 19 previous appearances, all at Baylor. … Brenda VanLengen (play-by-play) and former Tennessee coach Holly Warlick (analyst) are calling the games here in Baton Rouge.