With the dust settled on rosters for the 2023-24 season, we’re going team-by-team in the Big Ten to assess where everyone stands and how things could shake out this year.
Next up is Ohio State, which is coming off an extremely disappointing season. The Buckeyes finished with a losing record for the first time since 2003-04, as things spiraled out of control in Columbus. It was also the first time Ohio State missed the postseason since 2016-17, Thad Matta’s last season with the program.
- Brice Sensabaugh (16.3 PPG)
- Justice Sueing (12.3 PPG)
- Sean McNeil (9.7 PPG)
- Isaac Likelele (3.8 PPG)
- Tanner Holden (3.6 PPG)
- Eugene Brown III (2.2 PPG)
- Bruce Thornton, G, (10.6 PPG)
- Zed Key, F, (10.8 PPG)
- Roddy Gayle Jr., G, (4.6 PPG)
- Felix Okpara, C, (4.0 PPG)
- Jamison Battle, F, (12.4 PPG at Minnesota)
- Evan Mahaffey, G, (2.8 PPG at Penn State)
- Dale Bonner, G, (4.7 PPG at Baylor)
Freshmen (Rankings from 247Sports Composite)
- Taison Chatman, G, (No. 39)
- Devin Royal, F, (No. 49)
- Scotty Middleton, G, (No. 50)
- Austin Parks, C, (No. 184)
RETURNING MINUTES: 42.8 percent (per barttorvik.com)
VS. INDIANA: Jan. 6 in Bloomington; Feb. 6 in Columbus
WHY IT WILL WORK
There’s plenty of talent on this roster. Bruce Thornton looked like an All-Big Ten-caliber player late last season, particularly in the Big Ten Tournament. And Roddy Gayle showed potential in that stretch as well. Zed Key’s shoulder injury was one of the many things that went wrong for last year’s team, but when healthy, he can be one of the better forwards in the conference. Jamison Battle is a proven weapon in the league from his time at Minnesota, and could be even better with better pieces around him this year. And with three top-50 freshmen, if one or more of them can break out this season, Ohio State could be good.
WHY IT WON’T
The Buckeyes lost their best player from last season in Brice Sensabaugh, and they’ve turned over nearly half their roster. Last year, OSU’s offense actually ranked among the best in the country (per KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency) despite the team’s poor record. The big problems were on defense. If this new-look roster doesn’t jell properly on the floor, especially on defense, it could lead to problems. Additionally, the freshmen will be a big determining factor for how deep this roster is; if those players have trouble settling into the college game, Chris Holtmann may not have a lot of reliable options off the bench.
Almost everything that could’ve gone wrong for Ohio State last year went wrong. KenPom rated the Buckeyes as the third-most unlucky team in the country last year — and that’s only factoring in their on-court bad luck, not taking injuries into account. That misfortune should, at the very least, move in the right direction this year. The Buckeyes are usually a reliable pick to finish in the top half of the Big Ten standings, and it would be surprising if last season doesn’t look like an aberration. That’s not to say they’ll contend for a conference title — there’s a wide range of outcomes for this group. But this team should be in the mix for an NCAA Tournament return, and there’s potential to be better than that.
BIG TEN OUTLOOK: Middle of the pack
PRIOR ROSTER ANALYSES:
- Michigan State
- Penn State
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