Ohio State Buckeyes
2021-22 record: 20-12, 12-8 in the Big Ten
Head coach: Chris Holtmann
Tenure at Ohio State: Sixth season
Career coaching record: 221-141
Home court: Value City Arena
Starters: G Sean McNeil, G Isaac Likekele, G Tanner Holden, F Justice Sueing, F Zed Key
Bench: G Bruce Thornton, G Eugene Brown III, F Brice Sensabaugh, F Kalen Etzler, C Felix Okpara
Overview: The Buckeyes are coming off a successful season that included a No. 7 seed in the NCAA tournament, eventually falling to second-seeded Villanova. Led by First Team All-Big Ten forward E.J. Liddell, 2022 marked the fourth-straight NCAA tournament appearance for Ohio State (excluding the 2019-20 season cut short by COVID). However, this year’s Buckeye squad will look nothing like the team that upset the Blue Devils last November.
Ohio State will enter this season without its three leading scorers from last year—Liddell, Malaki Branham and Kyle Young. The team has brought in seven freshmen and four transfers, with junior forward Zed Key and senior forward Justice Sueing being the only players who saw significant action last season to return.
Highlighting the transfer class is guard Tanner Holden, a two-time First Team All-Horizon League forward from Wright State that averaged 16.1 points and 7.0 rebounds with the Raiders. The Buckeyes will look to Holden and other new players to step into roles left vacant by exiting stars. In the Big Ten, the Buckeyes sit near the middle of a conference headlined by Illinois and Indiana teams that return key stars. Ohio State can compete or falter this season, depending on the performance of their slew of newcomers.
Team ceiling: The Buckeyes have a tough nonconference schedule with games against Duke, North Carolina and San Diego State. The Buckeyes pull off the upset against one of these teams and keep their heads above water in conference play, giving them a bid into the tournament. Holden, Sueing and West Virginia transfer Sean McNeil fill roles and give Ohio State a new look.
Team floor: Ohio State fails to create a cohesive unit amidst the massive roster turnover and never fully realizes a team identity. Their conference schedule is unrelenting, and they finish towards the bottom of the Big Ten. Holtmann has his worst year as head coach, and the Buckeyes fall short of a tournament appearance.
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