The start of college basketball season can’t be far. Tuesday, I found a copy of Athlon Sports’ annual preview magazine at the local bookstore with Indiana’s Robert Johnson staring at me from the cover with the headline, “IT’S MILLER’S TIME AT INDIANA.”

More magazines will surface before long, and each is a great way to get started preparing for the upcoming season – even if the predictions go right out the window almost immediately after the first games get underway.

And as should come as no surprise that while Athlon predicts the Big Ten will get eight teams into the NCAA Tournament, Ohio State is not listed among them. Those eight are Michigan State, Minnesota, Purdue, Northwestern, Michigan, Wisconsin, Maryland and Iowa.


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No Buckeyes are included on a list of the top 101 players in college basketball, lists of the top 10 shooters, perimeter defenders, rim protectors, offensive rebounders or dunkers or the top 15 most impactful freshmen. There is one mention of Ohio State aside from the actual Big Ten preview section, though: coach Chris Holtmann is No. 3 on a list of the top five hires, behind, in order, Brad Underwood at Illinois and Archie Miller at Indiana.

After rehashing Holtmann’s history, the paragraph concludes, “Holtmann seems to be the ideal fit at Ohio State.”

Athlon doesn’t see that resulting in immediate success, however. The Buckeyes are picked to finish 12th in the 14-team conference.

“Ohio State wants Chris Holtmann to do what Thad Matta was doing a decade ago – collect recruits like Greg Oden, Evan Turner and Jared Sullinger,” it says. “Two shaky seasons and the loss of the entire 2015 recruiting class led to the end of the Thad Matta era. Chris Holtmann left more talent at Butler than he inherits at OSU.”

Although Ohio State has the top recruiting class in the 247Sports rankings cited by the magazine, no players appear on the first-, second- or third-team All-Big Ten lists. Not surprisingly, there is not a postseason prediction for the Buckeyes – not even an NIT berth.

As for the roster, Athlon cites Jae’Sean Tate as a “gregarious combo forward” and lauds Keita Bates-Diop while noting that he “has yet to reach his potential” after missing last season while taking a medical redshirt. It also makes reference to Trever Thompson’s “strange departure – he never really blipped on the NBA draft radar screen” while praising Micah Potter for his ability to stretch defenses and Kaleb Wesson for his soft hands and “surprising passing skill.”

In the backcourt, the lack of depth is noted but the addition of graduate transfer Andrew Dakich from Michigan “could become a welcome program leader.”

Athlon concludes that while Holtmann will have to infuse energy, smarts and toughness back into the program as part of a slow build, “OSU will need all-conference-worthy outputs from veterans Tate and Bates-Diop while several youngsters mature rapidly.”