It might be difficult for Ohio State to fly under the radar next season.
As the 2018-19 season came to its conclusion Monday night with Virginia’s overtime win against Texas Tech in the national championship game, thoughts have already flipped forward to the 2019-20 season. With that, the Buckeyes are finding themselves included on multiple “way-too-early” top 25 lists for the season.
Sports Illustrated has Ohio State at No. 9 nationally, saying, “The Buckeyes graduate their starting backcourt of CJ Jackson and Keyshawn Woods, but have a host of young players ready to step up, and most importantly, should bring back standout center Kaleb Wesson, who will be one of the top players in the conference. A trio of incoming freshmen—point guard DJ Carton and forwards Alonzo Gaffney and EJ Liddell—should all help in some capacity. Noting the continuity and the job Chris Holtmann has been doing, the Buckeyes are looking good going into the summer.”
Right behind SI is ESPN, which has the Buckeyes at No. 10, saying, “The Buckeyes have overachieved in back-to-back years, going to the second round in each of Chris Holtmann's two seasons in Columbus. Next year, though, they will enter the season with some expectations. Ohio State loses CJ Jackson (31 starts) and Keyshawn Woods (15 starts) but replaces them with five-star point guard DJ Carton and four-star forwards Alonzo Gaffney and EJ Liddell. Kaleb Wesson is an anchor inside, and starters Andre Wesson and Luther Muhammad are also back.”
The Sporting News has the Buckeyes at No. 15 in its too-early list, noting one key decision that Kaleb Wesson is expected to go through the NBA draft process but not hire an agent and return to school.
The Athletic has the Buckeyes at No. 24. Seth Davis wrote, “The Buckeyes did well to make the NCAA Tournament this season with a retooled roster. Now, with Chris Holtmann bringing in three top-50 recruits, they are ready to be a top-tier Big Ten team. Kaleb Wesson improved dramatically from his freshman to his sophomore season, and with another offseason to work on his body and improve his skills, he should be a Big Ten player of the year candidate. Washington did not get a lot of minutes, but he is a smooth scorer with tons of upside who should break out as a sophomore.”
According to BetOnline.com, Ohio State has 66/1 odds to win the national championship, tied for 25th-best in the nation alongside Florida State, LSU, Maryland, Memphis, Seton Hall and Wisconsin.
In a NCAA Tournament bracket projection for the 2020 tournament, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Buckeyes as No. 7 seed playing No. 10 seed Seton Hall in Tampa, Florida.