Ohio State finished top three in the Big Ten in Chris Holtmann's first year, and it's expected to have a similar finish this season.
The Buckeyes were picked third in the Big Ten, behind Michigan State and Maryland, in the unofficial preseason Big Ten poll compiled by The Athletic and the Columbus Dispatch. The voters also picked point guard DJ Carton to become the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and center Kaleb Wesson as a first-team All-Big Ten honoree.
Michigan State earned 27 of the 28 possible first-place votes, with Maryland picking up the straggling first-place vote. Per The Athletic, Ohio State was voted to finish as high as second and as low as fifth in the Big Ten. Purdue and Michigan rounded out the top five at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.
In order to earn a top-three finish, the Buckeyes will need a major output from Wesson, picked to finish first-team all-conference after earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors following the 2018-19 season.
Wesson earned the fifth-most votes for the all-conference team, joining Penn State's Lamar Stevens, Illinois' Ayo Dosunmu, Maryland's Anthony Cowan and Michigan State's Cassius Winston who was picked as the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year. He was the only Buckeye to earn any preseason first-team all-conference votes. As a sophomore, Wesson averaged 14.6 points and 6.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.7 blocks per game.
Even though Carton might not start immediately due to the presence of Florida State transfer CJ Walker, he earned 15 of the 28 votes for preseason Big Ten Freshman of the Year, per The Athletic and the Columbus Dispatch. The Bettendorf, Iowa, native entered the program as the No. 34 overall prospect and the fourth-ranked point guard in the class of 2019.
E.J. Liddell, a freshman forward at Ohio State, earned four votes for the preseason conference freshman of the year award, putting him second in voting behind Carton. With Kyle Young healthy, Liddell is also not guaranteed a starting spot at power forward. He was the No. 44 overall prospect and the top-ranked recruit in Illinois in 2019.