Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball season preview: Ohio State

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Team: Ohio state Buckeyes
Site: Columbus, Ohio
Conference: Big Ten
The Head Coach: Chris Holtmann (four seasons, 87-44)
2020-2021 review: 21-10 total, 12-8 B1G

Best returning players: 6 feet 7 inches, F, EJ Liddell (16.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.1 bpg); 6ft 6in, F, Justice Sueing (10.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.5 apg), 6ft 8, F, Kyle Young (8.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 43.3 3P% )

Best new arrivals: 6ft 1, G, Jamari Wheeler (6.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.5 apg) transfer from Penn State; 6ft 2in, L, Cedric Russell (17.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.2 apg) transfer from Louisiana; 6ft 5in, L, 4 star Malaki Brahnahm (Akron, Ohio), 37th player in the country by 247 Composite

The versatile Justice Sueing will once again be an important piece for the Buckeyes.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

2020-2021 review: The Buckeyes had a strange season last year. They suffered early losses on the road to two decidedly bad teams Northwestern and Minnesota, then won 10 of their next 11 (all in the Big Ten) before losing their last four regular season games. Their playoffs were the definition of March Madness as they raced to the Big Ten Tournament title game, which featured two overtime games and the other two games had a combined point differential of five points.

They ended up losing to Oral Roberts, in OT natch, in the NCAA tournament to end their season, but still finished with 21 wins this year. The Buckeyes’ offense was in full swing last year, placing fourth in KenPom’s effectiveness ratings, led by Duane Washington, Jr. and EJ Liddell.

Ohio State has won 20 or more games in each season of Chris Holtmann’s tenure and while last season didn’t end as the Buckeyes would have hoped, they have a lot of momentum going into the 2021-22 campaign.

Overview 2021-2022: OSU lost Washington, Jr., CJ Walker and Musa Jallow from last year’s squad, but reloaded with some talented transfers. Penn State PG Jamari Wheeler is an excellent point-of-attack defender and a two-time member of the Big Ten All-Defense squad. Meechie Johnson, Jr., who signed up early last year, is also expected to help in the point guard.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch

Meechie Johnson Jr. joined the Ohio State squad in the middle of last season after graduating from high school early and relocating.
Dispatch Adam Cairns / Columbus via Imgn Content Services, LLC

Cedric Russell, a former Rajun ‘Cajun, will be able to fill it with the best of them and help fill the void left by Washington. 6-foot-11, Joey Brunk, who transferred from Indiana, will provide great depth to the Bucks in case Liddell gets into trouble.

Wings Zed Key, Seth Towns and real freshman Malaki Branham (Mr. Basketball in Ohio last year) will provide a number of talented and versatile options on the bench. OSU likely won’t win the Big Ten, but they should be in contention for a top-four spot throughout the season.

Games against Wisconsin:

Game n ° 1: Saturday, December 11, Columbus, Ohio, Value City Arena, BTN, 11 a.m. CT

Game n ° 2: Thursday, January 13, Madison, Wisconsin, Kohl Center, ESPN 2, 6 p.m. CT


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