Ohio State Basketball

The return of E.J Liddell is all Ohio State basketball needs to compete for a national championship once again.

Last year, Ohio State basketball stunned the nation when the mighty two seed fell to 15 seed Oral Roberts in the first round of the tournament. Arguably the best Ohio State team since the Jared Sullinger days could not capitalize, causing heartbreak for the players and fans.

This year, Ohio State is out for revenge and E.J Liddell will lead the charge. He, along with other key players like Justice Sueing and Kyle Young will do all it takes to not only reach that two seed line once again, but make it far in the NCAA Tournament.

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Projected Rotation

PG: Jamari Wheeler (6-1,170, Gr-Sr.)

2021 stats: 6.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.8 steals

Projected stats: 8.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.1 steals

SG: Justin Ahrens (6-6, 195, Sr.)

2021 stats: 5.7 points, 1.9 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.5 steals

Projected stats: 7.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.7 steals

SF: Justice Sueing (6-7, 215, Sr.)

2021 stats: 10.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.9 steals

Projected stats: 12.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 steals

PF: E.J Liddell (6-7, 240, Jr.)

2021 stats: 16.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 blocks

Projected stats: 18.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.3 blocks

C: Kyle Young (6-8, 225, Gr-Sr.)

2021 stats: 8.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.6 blocks

Projected stats: 9.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.7 blocks

6: Cedric Russell (6-2, 190, Gr-Sr.)

2021 stats: 17.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.5. steals (Louisiana)

Projected stats: 10.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.4 steals

7: Malaki Branham (6-4, 175, Fr.)

247Sports #37 Rated Recruit

Projected stats: 6.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.4 steals

8: Zed Key (6-8, 245, So.)

2021 stats: 5.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.7 blocks

Projected stats: 6.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.9 blocks

9: Joey Brunk (6-11, 255, Gr-Sr.)

2021 stats: 6.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.3 blocks

Projected stats: 6.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.5 blocks

10: Jimmy Sotos (6-3,200, Sr.)

2021 stats: 1.7 points, 0.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.3 steals

Projected stats: 3.4 points, 1.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.4 steals

11: Seth Towns (6-8, 230, Gr-Sr.)

*Out 3-4 months

Team MVP: E.J Liddell

Liddell isn’t just one of the best players in the Big Ten, but one of the best players in the country. He is unstoppable on the low post and will drain the opponent’s defender with post-move after post-move. He has also recently developed a decent three-point shot, making it difficult to stay on him and keep him checked.

He is also a decent defender, and if he can improve in that the sky’s the limit for him not only as a college basketball player but NBA player as well.

Make-or-Break Player: Justice Sueing

Sueing took a backseat in the scoring department last season to enable Duane Washington’s success. His scoring dropped from 13.8 and 14.3 points per game his first two seasons to 10.7 last season. Now, with Washington Jr. gone, Liddell will need a bonafide #2 scorer, and Sueing is more than capable of doing that. If Ohio State basketball wants to see similar results as last season, then Sueing’s production will have to reach the same levels we saw the first two seasons.

Bench Rating: 6/10

If Seth Towns can come back from injury without any issues, this can go to an 8/10, but we likely won’t see him until conference play the earliest. Cedric Russell will be an interesting player to watch. He put up big numbers at Louisiana all four years including 17 points per game last year. In a different environment, his scoring ability should be able to translate but not at the same level we saw at Louisiana.

Branham is a steal of a prospect and could be the starter by the time next season rolls around. He’s going to struggle at times, but overall should be a key piece for the team.

Zed Key had a decent freshman year season and should improve with more playing time. He has great height and could play both wing spots.

Analytic to Know: AdjO

In the recently released 2022 KenPom ratings, Ohio State basketball is listed as the 8th best team and the 8th best AdjO (points scored per 100 possessions). This means we will see them score a lot, and teams will have to do more than normal to stop this team. Liddell, Sueing, and Russell have big scoring potential, and they have several other guys who can drop ten points on any given night.

Team Outlook

One thing to notice right away is the experience. Of their top 6 players, five are seniors and one is a junior. Experience wins championships in college basketball, and this team has just that.

Ohio State takes on two blue bloods in the nonconference, at home against Duke and Kentucky. They also take on back-to-back Big East opponents in Xavier and Seton Hall prior to the Duke matchup.

The Big Ten is no joke per usual, with over five teams having deep tournament run potential. Ohio State basketball doesn’t necessarily have a death schedule in conference play, but Illinois, Maryland, Michigan State, and Michigan to end the season could be tough.

Projected Conference Finish: 5th in Big Ten

Projected Postseason Finish: NCAA Tournament Round of 32 Exit

Ceiling: Elite 8 Exit

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