Way-Too-Early 2019-20 College Basketball Rankings Offer No Consensus Opinion About Ohio State

By Kevin Harrish on April 9, 2019 at 12:04 pm
Way-too-early hoops rankings.

The college hoops season is officially behind us with Virginia's national title game win in overtime last night, which means it's officially time to start looking at next year with some way-too-early 2019-20 rankings.

The biggest takeaway is that opinions about Ohio State are all over the place. Some folks are really optimistic about the Buckeyes, others don't even have them in the top-25.

Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated is the highest on Chris Holtmann's squad early on, ranking Ohio State at No. 9, the third-highest Big Ten team behind No. 1 Michigan State and No. 4 Michigan.


This season: 20–15, lost in second round

The Buckeyes graduate their starting backcourt of CJ Jackson and Keyshawn Woods, but have a host of young players ready to step up, and most importantly, should bring back standout center Kaleb Wesson, who will be one of the top players in the conference. A trio of incoming freshmen—point guard DJ Carton and forwards Alonzo Gaffney and EJ Liddell—should all help in some capacity. Noting the continuity and the job Chris Holtmann has been doing, the Buckeyes are looking good going into the summer.

Jeff Borzello of ESPN is almost equally high on the Buckeyes, ranking them No. 10 in his way-too-early poll, but behind No. 9 Maryland as well as No. 1 Michigan State and No. 7 Michigan.

10. Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes have overachieved in back-to-back years, going to the second round in each of Chris Holtmann's two seasons in Columbus. Next year, though, they will enter the season with some expectations. Ohio State loses CJ Jackson (31 starts) and Keyshawn Woods (15 starts) but replaces them with five-star point guard DJ Carton and four-star forwards Alonzo Gaffney and EJ Liddell. Kaleb Wesson is an anchor inside, and starters Andre Wesson and Luther Muhammad are also back.

Other outlets see Ohio State as a sort of middling top-25 team. Scott Gleeson of USA Today has the Buckeyes at No. 15, still the fourth-highest Big Ten team behind No. 14 Maryland, No. 3 Michigan and No. 1 Michigan State.

15. Ohio State (20-15). The Buckeyes are expected to have big man Kaleb Wesson, who will be in the running for Big Ten player of the year next season. Chris Holtmann also welcomes a stellar recruiting class that's led by five-star point guard D.J. Carton. 

Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News seems to agree, as he also has Ohio State at No. 15 in his way-too-early 2019-20 rankings, behind Michigan State at No. 3, Michigan at No. 4 and Purdue at No. 9 (though he published his rankings before Carsen Edwards declared for the NBA Draft).

15. Ohio State

2018-19 record and finish: 20-15, NCAA second round
Key players: SF/PF Andre Wesson, SG Duane Washington, SG Luther Muhammad, PF Kyle Young, SG Musa Jallow
Top-100 recruits: PG DJ Carton (247Sports No. 28), SF Alonzo Gaffney (247Sports No. 42), PF EJ Liddell (247Sports No. 45)
Key decisions: C Kaleb Wesson is not projected as a first-round pick but could choose to go through the pre-draft process. 

Seth Davis of The Athletic ($) sees Ohio State more as a fringe top-25 team, ranking the Buckeyes at No. 24, but still the fourth-highest Big Ten team behind No. 1 Michigan State, No. 2 Michigan and No. 8 Maryland.

24. Ohio State

Key departures: C.J. Jackson, 6-1 Sr.; Keyshawn Woods, 6-3 Sr.

Top returnees: Kaleb Wesson, 6-9 Jr.; Duane Washington, 6-3 Soph.; Luther Muhammad, 6-3 Soph.; Andre Wesson, 6-6 Sr.

Incoming: D.J. Carton, 6-1 Fr.; Alonzo Gaffney, 6-9 Fr.; E.J. Liddell, 6-6 Fr.

The Buckeyes did well to make the NCAA Tournament this season with a retooled roster. Now, with Chris Holtmann bringing in three top-50 recruits, they are ready to be a top-tier Big Ten team. Kaleb Wesson improved dramatically from his freshman to his sophomore season, and with another offseason to work on his body and improve his skills, he should be a Big Ten player of the year candidate. Washington did not get a lot of minutes, but he is a smooth scorer with tons of upside who should break out as a sophomore.

A few outlets don't even have the Buckeyes inside the top-25.

SB Nation has Ohio State at No. 27, just behind No. 26 Florida State with Memphis getting the final ranked spot at No. 25. NBC Sports' Rob Duaster has the Buckeyes outside of his top-25 along with CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein, regardless of how meticulous he believes Chris Holtmann.

In terms of bracketology, Joe Lunardi released a way-too-early bracket that has Ohio State as a No. 7 seed, which translates roughly to a ranking somewhere between No. 25 and No. 28.

All that to say, there is no real consensus thought about next year's Buckeyes, other than that they should be better than this season's edition. Some analysts see Ohio State as a top-10 team, others don't even have the Bucks in the top-25.

Obviously, all of this is all very much subject to change as we get a clearer picture of what these teams will look like. NBA Draft decisions are still looming, graduate transfer players are still looking for homes and there are still unsigned freshmen.

But even before all of that potential shakeup – which should only help the Buckeyes, not hurt – Ohio State is viewed much better heading into next season than it was heading into the previous two.

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