2011-2012 College Basketball Previews- #3 Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State Buckeyes Gambling Odds to Win NCAA Championship from Bookmaker: +725
Ohio State Buckeyes Gambling Odds to Win Big Ten Conference Regular Season from 5Dimes: -115
The college basketball season is almost here. Most teams start their season right around November 10. We’re kicking off the season with a preview of each of my top five teams in the country. We’re up to the number three team in my preseason rankings: the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Last Year’s Results (34-3, Loss in Sweet Sixteen)
If you would have asked any Ohio State fan before last season if they would be happy with a 34 win campaign, they would have clearly said yes. Overall, it was a very good season for the Buckeyes. The team won the Big Ten regular season crown, then won the Big Ten Conference Tournament. Ohio State went into the NCAA Tournament as the favorite to win it all, but they stumbled 62-60 in the Sweet Sixteen thanks to a terrible shooting night. It was a classic case of a great season, but a bitter taste in the mouth to finish off that great season.
Jon Diebler shot better than 50% from the three-point line last year, and he will be badly missed. Diebler could stretch the defense better than anyone else in the conference. A sharpshooter like Diebler doesn’t come around all that often, and he will be difficult to replace. David Lighty was the “glue guy” for Ohio State the last couple years. Lighty was the team’s best on-ball defender, and he was a good slasher as well. The Buckeyes will need to find someone else step into that role this season.
Thad Matta brought in another very impressive recruiting class this year. Ohio State’s class was ranked in the top ten by almost every recruiting service. Amir Williams is a 6’10 center who runs the floor well and finishes with consistency around the rim. Expect Williams to get playing time alongside Jared Sullinger. Sam Thompson is a small forward that is being compared to Evan Turner. Thompson is 6’7, but he can handle the ball well, and he is an excellent rebounder for his size. Shannon Scott is an All-American point guard who is expected to push Aaron Craft for minutes this year.
Anytime you have a player as good as Jared Sullinger, you are going to be very good in the paint. Sullinger is a phenomenal rebounder who works harder than anyone else on the floor. If Sullinger can develop a few more low-post moves, he’ll be nearly unstoppable. Ohio State has no shortage of scorers, and that should be a big benefit this year. William Buford, Jared Sullinger, DeShaun Thomas, Aaron Craft, and several of the new guys are all capable of putting up 15 points or more each game.
The Buckeyes were the best team in the nation last year, but they lived and died with the three-point shot. They shot a higher percentage than any other team on three’s, but it still caught up with them in the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State needs to get to the basket a little more often this season.
Ohio State Buckeyes 2011-2012 Basketball Schedule
The first few games in the non-conference schedule are full of cupcakes, but that all changes in a hurry when Ohio State hosts Duke on November 29. Just a couple weeks later, Ohio State will travel to Fogg Allen Fieldhouse to take on Kansas. The game on February 18 at Michigan could be crucial in the Big Ten standings. The Buckeyes finish the regular season with a tough game at Michigan State.
Ohio State Buckeyes 2011-2012 Prediction: (#1 Seed in NCAA Tournament, Loss in Final Four)
I expect big things out of this Ohio State team. Buford and Sullinger should be the team’s two primary scorers, and the newcomers should help this team be a bit deeper this season. This team should be the class of the Big Ten. I’ll predict the Buckeyes to lose in the Final Four, but this is absolutely a team that is capable of cutting the nets down this year.