Ohio State is projected to finish sixth in the Big Ten men’s basketball standings in the first preseason poll published by a major media outlet.
Iowa sits atop the conference in the new power rankings published Monday by CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein. The Hawkeyes are led by preseason player of the year Luka Garza, who returns for his senior year after averaging 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
The Buckeyes sit behind Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan State and Rutgers in the poll. They have no players on the five-member preseason all-conference team, and neither of their two freshman is included among Rothstein’s 15 "impact freshmen." However, wing Gene Brown III is listed as one of 10 "under-the-radar" freshmen.
Last season, Ohio State finished 11-9 in the Big Ten, tied for fifth, and earned the No. 7 seed in the conference tournament before it was canceled.
Forward Seth Towns (Harvard) and guard Abel Porter (Utah State) are listed among the league’s 15 "impact transfers." Towns is working his way back after missing the last two seasons due to injury, and Porter will be the primary backup in the backcourt as Ohio State leans heavily on senior CJ Walker and junior Duane Washington Jr.
Finally, sophomore forward E.J. Liddell is labeled by Rothstein as one of 10 "breakout players." Here’s a story on his late-season emergence as a freshman.
To read the full rankings, you can click here.