#127 Ohio Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Ohio Bobcats
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #127
Conference Rank: #3 Mid-American
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Year one of Ohio’s rebuilding project went quite well. Coach Jeff Boals took over the program after a couple of a couple losing seasons. And the Bobcats are not used to many losing seasons. The losing ended last season after Ohio ended up with a 17-15 overall record. That relative success has quickly raised the expectations in Athens, especially with three starters returning. However, this is still a very young team that does not have a returning senior on the roster. This should be another step in the rebuilding process, but if things go well, the Bobcats could accelerate that process by a year or two.
2019-20 Record: 17-15, 8-10
Coach: Jeff Boals
Coach Record: 17-15 at Ohio, 72-56 overall
Key Departed Players:
Jordan Dartis, Guard, 12.8 ppg
Sylvester Ogbonda, Forward, 6.7 ppg
Nate Springs, Forward, 3.0 ppg
Connor Murrell, Guard, 2.2 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Jason Preston, Junior, Guard, 16.8 ppg
Ben Vander Plas, Junior, Forward, 15.7 ppg
Lunden McDay, Sophomore, Guard, 8.2 ppg
Ben Roderick, Sophomore, Forward, 6.0 ppg
Mason McMurray, Sophomore, Forward, 2.8 ppg
Nolan Foster, Sophomore, Center, 2.4 ppg
Key New Players:
Colin Granger, Freshman, Forward
Rifen Miguel, Junior, Forward, JC Transfer
Sam Towns, Freshman, Forward
Jalen White, Freshman, Guard
Dwight Wilson III, Senior, Forward, Transfer from James Madison
Jason Preston and Ben Vander Plas emerged as one of the more overlooked duos in college basketball last season. As a sophomore, Preston led the Bobcats with 16.8 points, 7.4 assists and 1.4 steals. The 6-4 guard also hit nearly 41 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc and added 6.4 rebounds per game as well. Preston’s impressive breakout sophomore season should only lead to better things in 2020-2021. Vander Plas, a 6-8 forward, also had an amazing sophomore season, averaging 15.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He is a big man who can pass effectively and step outside and knock down quite a few three-pointers. Those two are the experienced leaders on this team despite only being juniors. The rest of the returners are sophomores, led by Lunden McDay and Ben Roderick. McDay was a regular starter as a freshman and Roderick proved to be a productive shooter and scorer as the team’s primary player off the bench. With Dwight Wilson coming from James Madison and Rifen Miguel from the junior college ranks, not to mention a few decent freshmen, Coach Boals should be able to go deeper down his bench this season and that will benefit the Bobcats as the 2020-2021 season progresses. There were times last year when Ohio relied too heavily on their starting five. With more talent on the bench, this Ohio team should be able to have their first winning season in conference play since 2016-2017 and possibly reach their first NCAA Tournament since their memorable Sweet Sixteen run in 2012.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.4 (164th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.5 (155, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.7 (122, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.8 (115, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.5 (52, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.8 (98, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.9 (250, 9)
Rebound Margin: 1.7 (136, 5)
Assists Per Game: 14.7 (48, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.7 (131, 5)