The Ohio State Buckeyes basketball team opens their 2019-20 season up tonight as the welcome inner-state rival, the Cincinnati Bearcats, into the Schottenstein Center in Columbus. The Buckeyes are entering the third year of the Chris Holtmann era after he replaced perhaps the greatest coach in school history in Thad Matta.
The Holtmann hire has been a grand slam thus far. In each of his first two seasons at the helm, the team was expected to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten. In each of those seasons, the Buckeyes exceeded regular-season expectations and made the NCAA Tournament, winning their first-round matchup each season, only to lose in the round of 32. The Sweet 16 should be a legitimate goal for this seasons’ team.
2019-20 Ohio State Buckeyes Basketball Preview
Recapping the 2018-19 Ohio State Buckeyes Basketball Team
Entering last season, the Ohio State Buckeyes were projected to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten. This was understandable considering they lost the 2017-18 Big Ten player of the year, Keita Bates-Diop, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves. They also lost key contributors in Jae’Sean Tate, Kam Williams, Andrew Dakich to graduation, and Micah Potter to the transfer market.
Second-year head coach Chris Holtmann had other ideas, however. After exceeding expectations in his first season and leading the Buckeyes to a first-round win in the NCAA Tournament, he was able to do the same with the 2018-19 squad.
The Buckeyes rode the wide shoulders of their mammoth center, Kaleb Wesson, to a middle of the road finish in the conference. The strength of the conference essentially earned them a berth in the NCAA Tournament as they finished the season with just a 20 and 15 record. The Buckeyes snuck in as an 11 seed and were matched up with the Iowa State Cyclones.
Ohio State controlled the matchup from the outset and hung on to win 62-59. They were promptly dispatched in the round of 32 by the three-seeded Houston Cougars.
The Buckeyes return nearly the entirety of their core from last season. Back is potential Big Ten player of the year Kaleb Wesson. He has slimmed down and has looked quicker and more athletic throughout the preseason with the hopes of staying out of foul trouble that has plagued him throughout his career to this point.
His older brother, Andre Wesson, also returns for his senior season and will be a big piece for the Buckeyes. The elder Wesson will be relied upon for leadership and hitting timely buckets as he did so often last season.
Kyle Young is also back for his junior season. He is exactly the kind of player teams need in order for them to be successful as he battles on the boards and gives maximum effort the …read more