Location: Columbus, OH
Conference: Big Ten
Last Year’s Record: 22-11
Key Returners: Evan Turner (17.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg), William Buford (11.3 ppg), Jon Diebler (11.2 ppg) David Lighty (9.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg)
Top Newcomer: Zsisis Sarikopoulos
Strengths: With seven of the top eight players in its rotation returning, Ohio St will be one of the deepest teams in the Big Ten this season. Junior swingman Evan Turner leads an offensive attack that should once again be one of the best in the Big Ten. Turner will be flanked by double-digit scorers in William Buford and Jon Diebler, both of whom are outstanding three-point shooters. Ohio State will also see the return of David Lighty from injury to provide another scoring option.
Weakness: In the rugged Big Ten, teams have to be able to rebound. Last season, the Buckeyes were one of the worst in the Big Ten in rebounding margin. While the injury to David Lighty contributed to that number, they’ll still be without B.J. Mullen this season who was their main low-post presence. He’s in the NBA and the Buckeyes will need Greek National Zsisis Sarikopoulos to step in and help on the boards right away. In their NCAA tournament loss to Siena, they were out-rebounded 53-37. If they’re not able to rebound better, they may find themselves as a middle of the pack Big Ten team once again.
Outlook: Ohio St has the talent to finish in the top third of the Big Ten. There is no doubt about it, they will have to become tougher on the glass to finishi that high. If they’re unable to sure their rebounding up, they’ll be looking at a 8-10 seed in the NCAA tournament.