The Ohio State men's basketball team is picked to finish third in the Big Ten but not advance out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament in this year’s Lindy’s preseason magazine.
The Buckeyes, who begin the year ranked No. 17 nationally in the magazine, are pegged for some big personal honors. Freshman E.J. Liddell is forecast as the Big Ten’s newcomer of the year and a second-team all-conference selection, the latter honor also predicted for junior center Kaleb Wesson.
The good news for Ohio State, according to Lindy’s, is that the “league’s best recruiting class adds instant help to NCAA Tourney team, led by the Wesson brothers.” The bad news: the “league’s least-experienced contender has just one scholarship senior with four frosh and three sophs.”
That senior, Andre Wesson, is Ohio State’s cover star, joining Cincinnati’s Jarron Cumberland and Xavier’s Naji Marshall.
Although the magazine predicts that the Buckeyes will be “ready to play deep into March,” they are projected only to reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament for a third straight year.
Michigan State is pegged to win the conference followed by Maryland. Six Big Ten teams are forecasted to reach the Tournament: Michigan State, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin with the Spartans and Terrapins the only ones to reach the Sweet Sixteen.
Michigan State is predicted to win the national title.
Individually, Ohio State junior CJ Walker is one of six transfers to be deemed “rumble ready” to make an impact this season. Along with sophomores Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington Jr. and freshman D.J. Carton, the Buckeyes are ranked as having the No. 7 backcourt in the nation.
Liddell is rated the No. 28 player in the nation, nearly 50 spots higher than his other teammate to make the nation’s top 150: Kaleb Wesson at No. 77.
“After a torrid start, Ohio State left the Associated Press Top 25 last year for good on Jan. 14,” the magazine concludes. “The Buckeyes figure to start there and, depending on how quickly the freshmen catch on, ought to rank higher than they started when the NCAA Tournament arrives.”