#8 Ohio State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Ohio State Buckeyes

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #8
Conference Rank: #2 Big Ten

Ohio State Team Page#8 Ohio State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Ohio State Basketball Tickets

Ohio State started last season winning their first 15 games. After that point, the Buckeyes were a mere 10-10 and just an average team in the Big Ten. Of course, it culminated with a heartbreaking loss against Dayton in the NCAA Tournament. The loss of the team’s top three scorers is a reason for concern, but Coach Thad Matta has a ton of talent to work with and this is a new year with new high expectations. Amir Williams is the only player back who was a regular starter a year ago. The 6-11 senior center does not have much of an offensive game, but he is a very good shot blocker and the team’s top rebounder.

2013-14 Record: 25-10, 10-8
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Thad Matta
Coach Record: 275-83 at Ohio State, 377-114 overall

Who’s Out:
Aaron Craft was the leader of the Ohio State squad last season and it seemed like he would get the Buckeyes past the Flyers in the NCAA Tournament. A great defender and passer, Craft was asked to do as much scoring as possible last season and expecting more from Craft was asking too much. Still he averaged 9.8 points, 4.7 assists and 2.5 steals and had a great career at Ohio State. Lenzelle Smith was the most prolific shooter on the team, making 50 three-pointers during his senior year. The shooting guard was also very effective attacking the basket and helping out on the glass. LaQuinton Ross was the team’s best scorer, averaging 15.2 points per game. He was a great stretch power forward who knocked down 35.3 percent of his attempts. He also added 5.9 rebounds. Amedeo Della Valle provided an occasional offensive spark with his shooting ability, but is now headed to Europe to pursue a professional career.

Who’s In:
The freshmen will make a big impact, but the best newcomer is Temple transfer Anthony Lee. The 6-9, 230 pound senior averaged 13.6 points and 8.6 rebounds with the Owls last season and will be a major force for the Buckeyes too. Lee also has the versatility to play the center position, which would allow Coach Matta to play smaller and get more scorers on the floor. David Bell could add more depth to the frontcourt, but this team does not need depth up front this year. Shooting guard D’Angelo Russell is the cream of the freshman crop. Russell should be the three-point shooter this team needs, although he can score from anywhere else too. Kam Williams is another talented shooting guard. He redshirted last season and that year in the system should have him ready to contribute. Small forwards Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate, who plays like a vastly undersized 6-4 power forward, will add even more depth.

Who to Watch:
When Ohio State was winning early in the season, Shannon Scott was starting at point guard. He ended the year as the sixth man and averaged 7.5 points and 3.4 assists. Starting or not Scott has been playing second fiddle to Craft. Now this is his team to lead and he can do it defensively and in the passing game. When Scott was not starting, Sam Thompson was. The 6-7 forward has had some superb dunks, but now needs to use that athleticism to play tougher defense. Thompson will be pushed for minutes from sophomore Marc Loving. Loving was terribly inconsistent as a freshman, but he can be a top scorer sooner or later.  

Final Projection:
Obviously Ohio State will have to infuse some young talent into this team, but it is an interesting mix of experience and freshmen that has worked for the Buckeyes in the past. On paper, this is almost a rebuilding year, but thanks to players like Lee and Russell coming into the program, this team could be better than last year. Depth, with senior center Trey McDonald adding more options to the frontcourt, should not be a problem barring anything unexpected. In the end, only Wisconsin has more talent in the Big Ten. And we have seen Coach Matta take full advantage of talented rosters in the past and lead his Buckeyes to a deep NCAA Tournament run.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Shannon Scott, Senior, Guard, 7.5 points per game
D’Angelo Russell, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Sam Thompson, Senior, Forward, 7.9 points per game
Anthony Lee, Senior, Forward, 13.6 points per game at Temple
Amir Williams, Senior, Center, 7.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.5 (213th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.8 (12, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.0 (134, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.6 (43, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.7 (221, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.4 (246, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.9 (201, 11)
Rebound Margin: 0.3 (183, 9)
Assists Per Game: 12.0 (225, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.3 (74, 8)

Madness 2015 NBA Draft Rankings:
#61 Amir Williams

Madness 2014 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#16 D'Angelo Russell
#29 Keita Bates-Diop
#58 Jae'Sean Tate


See All Top 144 Basketball Previews