Ohio State is forecasted to be better than .500 against known opponents in Chris Holtmann’s first season according to the advanced statistical analysis of KenPom.com, but just barely.
In the first update to the site looking ahead to the 2017-18 season, the Buckeyes open the year ranked No. 78 nationally and are projected to finish the regular season with a 15-14 record while going 7-11 in the Big Ten. Two regular-season games are not included because Ohio State won’t know its final pair of opponents in the PK80 Invitational until the tournament progresses.
The Buckeyes come in at No. 11 in the Big Ten. At No. 78 nationally, Ohio State is just behind St. Bonaventure and ahead of Georgetown.
KenPom predicts a four-game winning streak to open the season, followed by a four-game losing streak that consists of the opening of the PK80 Invitational against Gonzaga followed by an ACC-Big Ten Challenge game against Clemson and conference games at Wisconsin and home against Michigan.
Ohio State’s first projected Big Ten win is against Rutgers, its sixth conference game of the year. Of their 18 Big Ten games, the Buckeyes are given less than a 30 percent chance to win in half of them and a better than 50 percent chance in five of them.
Here’s how the rest of the Big Ten shakes out, with national rankings in parenthesis:
1. Michigan State (10)
2. Purdue (17)
3. Northwestern (18)
4. Wisconsin (31)
5. Michigan (32)
6. Minnesota (36)
7. Penn State (40)
8. Maryland (41)
9. Iowa (54)
10. Indiana (65)
11. Ohio State (78)
12. Nebraska (98)
13. Illinois (104)
14. Rutgers (125)
The Buckeyes ended last year ranked No. 73 in the KenPom rankings and were not selected for the NIT.