#33 Ohio State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Ohio State Buckeyes

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #33
Conference Rank: #6 Big Ten

Ohio State Team Page#33 Ohio State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Ohio State Basketball Tickets

There was a lot of talent on Ohio State’s roster last season, but they limped to an 11-7 finish in Big Ten play. That was just a sixth place finish. Still, it was good enough to get to the NCAA Tournament, where the Buckeyes knocked off VCU in the second round before falling to Arizona. But now there is a lot of reloading to do. The talent is still in Columbus, but the youngsters need to be ready to contribute immediately and be ready to battle it out in the tough Big Ten.

2014-15 Record: 24-11, 11-7
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Thad Matta
Coach Record: 299-94 at Ohio State, 401-125 overall

Who’s Out:
D’Angelo Russell left for the NBA after his freshman campaign and was selected second overall in the draft. He was an absolute menace to opposing defenses last year, averaging 19.3 points per game and shooting 41.1 percent from beyond the arc. Russell also dished out 5.0 assists per game and added 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals. He could do it all and did it all for the Buckeyes. Also lost are fellow starters Shannon Scott, Sam Thompson and Amir Williams. Scott dished out 5.9 assists and proved to be a dynamic backcourt mate for Russell. Thompson, an athletic 6-7 forward, was second on the team in scoring during his senior season, averaging 10.2 points per game. Williams was the big body in the paint. He was not going to do much scoring, but he was tough on the glass and blocked some shots. Anthony Lee and Trey McDonald round out the big group of departures.

Who’s In:
Coach Thad Matta brings in seven newcomers and they will be asked to play a huge role for this team in 2015-2016. Trevor Thompson’s experience will give him a leg up on the open starting spot at center. Thompson spent the 2013-2014 campaign at Virginia Tech where he averaged 5.0 points and 4.7 rebounds. At 6-11 and 250 pounds, Thompson is no longer a skinny big man. He can push people around in the paint. The frontcourt also adds redshirt freshman David Bell and incoming freshman Daniel Giddens. Bell added a lot of weight and strength during his redshirt year, so he should be ready to contribute off of the bench. Giddens is a more athletic big man and he figures to see plenty of playing time at the four or five spot. The new weapons on the perimeter are all incoming freshmen, but they are all talented. It starts with JaQuan Lyle, who many expect to directly take over for Russell. Lyle has the size, at 6-5, and the passing vision to play like Russell. It remains to be seen if he can come close to replicating Russell’s production, but the offense is in his hands. A.J. Harris is the more natural point guard, much like Scott was last season. Austin Grandstaff is a pure shooter who can provide an offensive spark off of the bench and Mickey Mitchell is a versatile 6-7 wing who can do a lot of things.

Who to Watch:
Four players return who saw significant playing time last year and they will be asked to turn into leaders, even if it is the newcomers who provide most of the production. Marc Loving, a 6-7 junior, was not all that productive for the Buckeyes down the stretch last season, but still managed to average 9.4 points per game. He is a very good shooter and can stretch the defense. Jae’Sean Tate is an absolute bruiser despite being just 6-4. He averaged 8.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest and Coach Matta could use him at either forward spot depending on the situation. Having a tough player like Tate spending time on the wing would help a team that struggled on the glass last season. Keita Bates-Diop, a 6-7 wing, should see some time at small forward too after averaging just under ten minutes per game as a freshman. Kam Williams showed promise as a freshman too. He is a very capable shooter and will battle it out with the newcomers for playing time.

Final Projection:
This will be an interesting season for Ohio State. It is hard to argue that they have more talent than they did a year ago, but even so, there is still a lot of young talent on this roster. Coach Matta will find the right players and the right roles for those players, yet competing with the top teams in the Big Ten is asking a bit too much. Ohio State can beat some teams on athleticism alone, but that will not work against teams like Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State and Wisconsin. At some point, this team has to play like a team or they will have to sneak into the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Jaquan Lyle, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Kam Williams, Sophomore, Guard, 5.4 points per game
Jae’Sean Tate, Sophomore, Forward, 8.8 points per game
Marc Loving, Junior, Forward, 9.4 points per game
Trevor Thompson, Sophomore, Center, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.3 (24th in nation, 2th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.9 (76, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.3 (13, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.3 (62, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.7 (122, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.0 (67, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.0 (225, 11)
Rebound Margin: 2.1 (103, 6)
Assists Per Game: 15.3 (26, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.3 (62, 7)

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#46 Daniel Giddens
#50 Austin Grandstaff
#63 Jaquqn Lyle
#95 A.J. Harris
#104 Mickey Mitchell


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