Men's Basketball

Morning Constitutional: What Should the Goal Be For OSU MBB Next Season?

Chris Holtmann Ohio State Basketball Buckeyes

Today’s Topic: What Should the Goal Be For Ohio State Basketball Next Season?


For the second year in a row, the Ohio State men’s basketball team ended its season in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Each time, the Buckeyes got further than expected when the season began.

With head coach Chris Holtmann now headed into his third year at Ohio State, and with a roster that will be mostly his players, it is time to start ramping up the expectations for the Buckeyes.

But what is an acceptable expectation?

I’m not one of those people who thinks a national championship is a realistic goal in college basketball. The NCAA Tournament is simply too hard and the matchups too random to expect anything more than a deep run.

Just look at Duke this past weekend. Most of the nation has them winning it all, but they were a blown alley-oop away from being sent home by UCF.

Next year the Buckeyes could have the best team in the nation, but they may find themselves matched up against a dude who is 7-foot-6 and guard who is impossible to stop.

These things happen and it’s why we all love the Tournament.

That’s also why I think the expectations should be more focused on the regular season, as opposed to a six-game stretch in March and April.

The Buckeyes will return eight of their top 10 scorers next season, losing point guards CJ Jackson and Keyshawn Woods. They will add redshirt junior point guard transfer CJ Walker, 5-star point guard DJ Carton, forwards EJ Liddell, and Alonzo Gaffney (can we call him “AJ” Gaffney?). Ohio State is also one of two finalists for 7-footer Ibrahima Diallo.

Add the new faces to a one-year-older 2018 class of Duane Washington, Luther Muhammad, Justin Ahrens, and Jaedon LeDee, and you’ve got a very intriguing group of talent. All three guards had their moments this past season, and it was a tremendous learning experience. I expect all three to be much better and more consistent in all facets next season.

Another year of practicing against Kaleb Wesson and Kyle Young is going to help LeDee immensely as well. And speaking of Wesson and Young, if Young can improve his offensive skill set, you’ll see more of the two-big lineup Holtmann used a bit down the stretch.

This is also the season that Kaleb Wesson contends for All-Big Ten accolades. His brother Andre will be a senior leader who has the ability to provide the Buckeyes with anything they may be missing at any given moment. That doesn’t mean he will, it just means he is capable.

There is enough new blood and old blood to make this group one to watch, and we’ve already seen that Holtmann can get the most out of his players. With an uptick in skill, and the glue guys like Young and Musa Jallow getting better, there are more viable parts to this team than there’s been in the past.

With the talent coming in, if Holtmann gets the most out of this next group coming up, Big Ten contention isn’t too much to ask.

The 2019-2020 Buckeyes should be setting their sights on a Big Ten regular season championship. Twenty conference games is a long, drawn-out test that has no false positives. It gives an accurate reading of just how good a team is.

Yes, it might be too much to expect right now with the unknowns at point guard, but Holtmann has shown us that he doesn’t really follow along with expectations, so why should we?

11 Responses

  1. I don’t know if it’s a concern to osu but it’s mentioned that diallo may wait into april to make a decision. That only means two possibilities, he’s torn, or another team is making a play for him. Hopefully not a blueblood that can come in the last moment and scoop a kid up.

  2. Three of the people that you are excited about coming back cant score. Young, LeDee, and A Wesson. Unless you are great at something else, that doesnt help and none of them are.

  3. “With all due respect” he should have been mentioned and not left out of your summary…that would have been respectful…that’s alright, this is the type of mindset that fuels him…we’ll see what happens next year.

  4. What about Harrison Hookfin?… it’s clear you name everyone except him… he’s a talented player that can help the team tremendously

    1. He was a walk-on added midway through the season. With all due respect to him, minutes will be very difficult for him to come by. As they were this year.

  5. Holtmann has done a terrific job, add another big man and a five star guard and this team solved the major issue of front court depth and D’s that cheated on the perimeter that led to a lot of turnovers. We should expect another NCAA bid and OSU contending for the top tier of B1G teams in conference play. With two years of Holtmann under the belt and with this talent, it isn’t unrealistic to see a top two B1G regular season finish, a semi or finalist in the B1G tourney and a push toward the elite eight.

    1. Totally agree with your assessment. An emphasis during the off season should be conditioning. With so many good players, each with very good conditioning, they can really be good as they come into the game for a period of time. With great conditioning we can see interchangeable players rather than a drop off. Meanwhile, some of these players must become 40% plus 3 pt shooters to avoid what happened this year. Good luck Bucks! Looking forward to a very fine basketball year.

      1. Thanks, both inconsistent shooting and conditioning have been issues other posters have lamented as well.

  6. I would expect them to be contending for the big ten championship well into the month of february with a finish within the top 3 or 4 teams. They should be able to jump a number of big ten teams with the probable exception being the Michigan teams. I also would expect at least a 4 seed in the NCAA tournament which would make them a favorite to make to the sweet 16. Then the following year, a 1 or 2 seed would be a realistic goal with a deep run expected.

    1. I would expect them to be contending for the big ten championship well into the month of february with a finish within the top 3 or 4 teams. They should be able to jump a number of big ten teams with the probable exception being the Michigan teams. I also would expect at least a 4 seed in the NCAA tournament which would make them a favorite to make to the sweet 16. Then the following year, a 1 or 2 seed would be a realistic goal with a deep run expected.

  7. Top 4 finish in the regular season, semi finals in BIG tourney, Sweet 16. Its time to become an annual contender for the BIG regular season title if Holtman is the guy for this gig.

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