The Ohio State football team’s 40-35 loss to Clemson in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl Friday signaled the end of yet another fall season in Buckeye lore.
While multiple winter squads — such as the men’s and women’s basketball and ice hockey teams and wrestling — already have their seasons in full swing, here’s what to look for this season.
Men’s Basketball (15-1, 2-1)
The No. 3 Buckeyes lost for the first time this season Tuesday, falling in a 72-68 thriller in East Lansing, Mich., to No. 5 Michigan State (14-1, 3-0). Prior to that game, OSU hadn’t really been tested aside from a come-from-behind victory against Notre Dame at Madison Square Garden Dec. 21. The loss to the Spartans shouldn’t inflict fear into OSU fans’ hearts, though, because the Buckeyes showed the resilience to come back from 17 points down to force overtime, almost stealing the win at the buzzer.
Up next: v. Iowa Sunday, 1:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center
Women’s Basketball (11-7, 1-1)
The Buckeyes got off to a fast start under new coach Kevin McGuff, winning five of their first six games, but then lost five of seven. Last time out, they fell to archrival Michigan, 64-49, at home while shooting just 31.3 percent from the field. Only sophomore guard Ameryst Alston is averaging in double figures for OSU, posting an average 16.3 a game. There are still 14 conference games remaining, but with four teams from the Big Ten currently ranked in the top 25, it could be tough sledding for the team moving forward.
Up next: v. Indiana Saturday, 4:30 p.m. in Bloomington, Ind.
Men’s Hockey (10-6, 0-2)
It’s been a season of streaks so far for the men’s hockey team, with stretches of three and five wins in a row coupled with a losing skid of three in a row earlier in the season. In their inaugural series as a member of the Big Ten, the Buckeyes dropped two games to Michigan, Nov. 29 and Dec. 2. Much like the women’s basketball team, the men’s hockey team is under a new head coach in Steve Rohlik and looking to make an impact in the six team league. Led by a trio of juniors forwards in Ryan Dzingel, Max McCormick and Tanner Fritz along with senior captain Curtis Gedig, the Buckeyes have plenty of experience and firepower to hang with anyone.
Up next: v. Michigan State Friday, 6:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center
Wrestling (5-1, 0-1)
No. 9 OSU, led by redshirt-junior Logan Stieber, is set for another run at an NCAA Championship. Stieber took home the NCAA crown each of the last two seasons in the 133-pound weight class, and despite losing to Penn State freshman Zain Retherford Dec. 15 for his first lost since Feb. 12, 2012, looks primed for another championship run.
Up next: v. Wisconsin Friday, 8 p.m. in Madison, Wis.
Expectations are high for a team that finished 19-8 last season, falling in the MIVA quarterfinals to Grand Canyon at the end of the year. Junior outside hitter Michael Henchy is set to return after leading the team in kills last year with 301, to help bolster a roster that has eight true freshmen and three redshirt-freshmen. The team will count on Henchy if the No. 12-ranked Buckeyes plan on returning to the form which helped them win the 2011 National Championship.
Season opener: v. Hawaii Thursday, 12 a.m. in Honolulu
The Buckeyes took home the ECAC crown last season, going 13-4 overall and 7-2 in conference play. Gone is the program’s all-time leading goal scorer in attacker Logan Schuss and do-it-all midfielder Dominique Alexander from a team that fell in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Junior midfielder Jesse King and sophomore attacker Carter Brown return to provide the scoring punch OSU needs for another deep run in the postseason.
Season opener: v. Hill Academy (Exh.) Jan. 18, noon. at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center
Others: Women’s lacrosse, women’s hockey, synchronized swimming and gymnastics