They are looking towards a Final Four appearance this season since they got stopped short last season by the Wichita State Shockers in the Elite Eight. The Buckeyes have the talent to get there. They just need to figure out who is going to put up points to fill in the void that junior Deshaun Thomas left when he left for the NBA at the end of last season.
Aaron Craft, Lenzelle Smith Jr. and LaQuinton Ross are a few of the players that coach Thad Matta hopes will step up to help fill that scoring void. Craft is known more for his defense, but has the potential to be a scorer too. Smith Jr. and Ross have that same potential, and more playing time and opportunities for both could prove how good they really are. This is Craft’s senior season, and it is likely that he will make it his best season ever both offensively and defensively.
The Buckeyes do not have a very tough non-conference schedule again this season. Their toughest tests will come against the Marquette Golden Eagles on November 16 and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in New York City on December 21. The Maryland Terrapins could be a potential challenge as well, but it is not likely that the Buckeyes will have much trouble with them since the game is in Columbus. The Buckeyes could be undefeated heading into Big Ten play.
The Buckeyes’ Big Ten season will be a bigger test for them. Their biggest challenge will come against current No. 2 Michigan State Spartans, whom they play twice this season. The No. 7 Michigan Wolverines and No. 20 Wisconsin Badgers could also present a challenge for the Buckeyes, though they only play each of them once this season. The Iowa Hawkeyes are considered a sleeper in the Big Ten and could present a challenge to the Buckeyes as well.
If the Buckeyes can find a way to score in the absence of Thomas, then they could be tough to beat. Their scoring attack is likely to be led by multiple players and it will be tough for teams to stop all of them. We already know that they have a tough defense led by Craft.
It will certainly be an exciting season. It is always exciting to watch the Buckeyes, especially with the energy of Craft on the court. You never know what he is going to do except that it will be his best season ever. We could actually see the Buckeyes in the Final Four or beyond this season. They are long overdue for a national championship.
The Buckeyes’ first game will be this Saturday against the Morgan State Bears in Columbus.