#17 Ohio State Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Ohio State Buckeyes
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #17
Conference Rank: #5 Big Ten
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Like many teams in the Big Ten, Ohio State had some troubles once conference play began. The Buckeyes started last season 11-1, which included victories over teams like North Carolina and Kentucky. But after Christmas, OSU lost six of their next seven games. After that, Coach Chris Holtmann’s team settled into Big Ten action and won nine of their last 12 games. In the Big Ten, that was a very good run.
2019-20 Record: 21-10, 11-9
Coach: Chris Holtmann
Coach Record: 66-34 at Ohio State, 180-119 overall
Key Departed Players:
Kaleb Wesson, Center, 14.0 ppg
D.J. Carton, Guard, 10.4 ppg
Andre Wesson, Forward, 9.2 ppg
Luther Muhammad, Guard, 7.0 ppg
Alonzo Gaffney, Forward, 1.8 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Duane Washington Jr, Junior, Guard, 11.5 ppg
CJ Walker, Senior, Guard, 8.7 ppg
Kyle Young, Senior, Forward, 7.5 ppg
E.J. Liddell, Sophomore, Forward, 6.7 ppg
Justin Ahrens, Junior, Forward, 2.9 ppg
Ibrahima Diallo, Sophomore, Center, 1.3 ppg
Musa Jallow, Junior, Guard, dnp last season
Key New Players:
Eugene Brown III, Freshman, Guard
Zed Key, Freshman, Forward
Abel Porter, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Utah State
Jimmy Sotos, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Bucknell, not eligible
Justice Sueing, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Cal
Seth Towns, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from Harvard
Five of the nine players who averaged double digit minutes are back. Duane Washington and CJ Walker are back to man the backcourt. Washington finished his sophomore season averaging 11.5 points and connecting on nearly 40 percent of his three-point attempts. Walker has not been asked to do too much scoring, but the point guard will set up his teammates effectively. Kyle Young saw his shooting percentage drop from 67.2 in 2018-2019 to 58.5 percent last year, but he did up his scoring in the process. As long as Young can keep that shooting percentage up while taking more shots, he will be a consistent double digit scorer. E.J. Liddell showed plenty of promise as a freshman, averaging 6.7 points and 3.8 rebounds. Like Young, he will be asked to do more in 2020-2021. The return of Musa Jallow and a trio of Division I transfers should give Coach Holtmann plenty of options. Abel Porter spent four seasons at Utah State where he was the team’s starting point guard for the better part of the last two seasons. Justice Sueing spent two very productive seasons at Cal, culminating in a sophomore season in which he averaged 14.3 points and 6.0 rebounds. Seth Towns has not played for two seasons due to injury, but way back in 2017-2018 he was the Ivy League Player of the Year when he averaged 16.0 points and 5.7 rebounds with Harvard. All three of those transfers are proven players who should have little trouble adapting to life in the Big Ten and that will put Ohio State right in the mix for a conference title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.1 (142nd in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.9 (24, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.6 (131, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.7 (24, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.4 (55, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.3 (22, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.2 (42, 2)
Rebound Margin: 5.4 (36, 5)
Assists Per Game: 13.3 (161, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.7 (134, 14)
Madness 2020 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#118 Eugene Brown