Ohio State Buckeyes: 19-14, 8-12 in the Big Ten Conference
Head coach: Chris Holtmann (2nd season)
Players to watch: Kaleb Wesson (14.4 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 50.0 FG%); C.J. Jackson (12.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.5 APG); Luther Muhammad (8.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 37.2 3FG%)
Season recap: After a strong start to the season—when the Buckeyes surged to 14th nationally before a loss to then-No. 8 Michigan St.—Ohio State struggled in conference play, finishing eighth in the conference before landing a NCAA tournament bid-sealing 79-75 victory against Indiana in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.
Despite losing once again to the Spartans, this time in the conference tournament, the Buckeyes are feeling better with the help of leading scorer and rebounder Kaleb Wesson, who missed the final three regular-season contests due to a suspension for an undisclosed violation of athletic department policy.
After squeezing into the NCAA tournament, Ohio State will rely on its slow pace and stout defense that surrenders just over 66 points a game to show its doubters that it belongs in the premier postseason tournament.
How they make a run: The Buckeyes rediscover their early-season groove and get just enough scoring from Wesson and C.J. Jackson to bust some brackets.
How they falter: Ohio State is forced to play at too fast of a pace and cannot be efficient enough offensively to do any damage in the NCAA tournament.