99 in 99: #4 Ohio State Buckeyes


ohio state cheerleaders

The Ewing Theory will be put to the test this season in Columbus.  The Ohio State Buckeyes lose National Player of the Year, “His Royal Smoothness” Evan Turner but could actually be a better team without him as Thad Matta returns his other four starters and ushers in a highly touted class of freshmen.

The Sports Bank’s “99 in 99” ranks the 72 power conference college basketball programs and top 27 mid-majors.  Click here if you missed teams #5-#99.

By: David Kay

Ohio State Buckeyes (T-4th, 14-4 in Big Ten, 29-8 overall)

Projected Depth Chart
C: Dallas Lauderdale (Sr)/Nikola Kecman (Jr)
PF: Jared Sullinger (Fr)/DeShaun Thomas (Fr)
SF: David Lighty (Sr)/J.D. Weatherspoon (Fr)
SG: Willian Buford (Jr)/Jordan Sibert (Fr)/Lenzelle Smith (Fr)
G: Jon Diebler (Sr)/Aaron Craft (Fr)

Gone: PG-Evan Turner, PG-P.J. Hill, G-Jeremie Simmons, C-Kyle Madsen, SG-Walter Offutt (transfer-Ohio), C-Zisis Sarakopoulus (overseas)

2010-2011 Outlook:

Despite losing do-it-all National Player of the Year, Evan Turner, Ohio State remains loaded with talent and should be a top ten caliber team all season long since they bring back four starters and have a loaded group of freshmen.

That recruiting class is led by 6-9, 280 pound big man Jared Sullinger who is an absolute beast inside but light on his feet at the same time.  He embraces being able to throw his body around down low and should form an incredibly intimidating front line with everybody’s favorite balding college basketball whose name could also double as a porn star; Dallas Lauderdale.  That duo will be tough for opponents to match-up with due to their strength and bruising nature.

Evan Turner 76ersThe experienced trio of William Buford, Jon Diebler, and David Lighty will man the backcourt and hope to share the load in replacing everything Turner brought to the wing.  The biggest question is which of the three will take over the ball-handling responsibilities.  Turner was versatile enough to admirably take on the point guard role last season but whichever of the three is asked to step in will not have as smooth of a transition.

Buford is the most talented of the three and rebounded nicely after a slow start to last season.  He figures to be the most capable of taking over the point forward type role.  Lighty is invaluable due to his versatility as he can play and guard four positions on the floor and will be the team’s vocal leader.  Diebler is one of the best shooters in the Big Ten and needs to be accounted for at all times.

Thad Matta’s bench is young but very talented.  Aaron Craft is a distributing point guard who should see a good amount minutes due to OSU’s lack of a true floor general in the starting five.  Jordan Sibert and J.D. Witherspoon will compete for minutes on the wing along with Lenzelle Smith who is recovering from wrist surgery and could miss the first month of the season.

DeShaun Thomas is a gifted 6-6 player who has an inside/outside game that gives Matta options.  Expect to see him play a lot of four with either Sullinger or Lauderdale at the five since the Buckeyes lack a lot of depth up-front besides seldom used Nikola Kecman.

How far this team goes this season could very well depend on the transition for whoever takes over at running the show.  If the that situation figures itself out in the non-conference schedule and the freshmen not named Sullinger can find their roles off the bench, I think Ohio State will be better this year without Turner (which I know is saying a lot.)

Player to Watch: Jared Sullinger, F/C
I am fully expecting Sullinger to steamroll over his opponents this season.  The two-time Ohio Mr. Basketball is capable of stepping onto the floor and being an immediate double-double guy.  In fact, I would rank him third behind Jon Leuer and Demetri McCamey as my Big Ten Player of the Year candidates.  That is how much I am expecting out of Sullinger in what could be his only year in C-Bus.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/16 at Florida
11/23 vs. Morehead State
11/30 at Florida State (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/18 vs. South Carolina

Other 99 in 99’s:
#5 Pitt
#6 Syracuse
#7 Kansas
#8 North Carolina
#9 Florida
#10 Illinois
#11 Kentucky
#12 Villanova
#13 Baylor
#14 Washington
#15 Georgetown
#16 Missouri
#17 Memphis
#18 Wisconsin
#19 Purdue
#20 Butler
#21 Virginia Tech
#22 Tennessee
#23 Gonzaga
#24 Texas
#25 San Diego State
#26 Xavier
#27 West Virginia
#28 BYU
#29 Georgia
#30 St. John’s
#31 N.C. State
#32 Florida State
#33 Marquette
#34 Temple
#35 Vanderbilt
#36 Arizona
#37 Murray State
#38 Dayton
#39 Notre Dame
#40 Mississippi State
#41 Utah State
#42 Maryland
#43 Richmond
#44 UNLV
#45 Seton Hall
#46 Wichita State
#47 Washington State
#48 St. Louis
#49 Old Dominion
#50 Minnesota
#51 New Mexico
#52 UConn
#53 Northwestern
#54 UCLA
#55 Southern Mississippi
#56 St. Mary’s
#57 Texas A&M
#58 Louisville
#59 Arizona State
#60 Northern Iowa
#61 Creighton
#62 Clemson
#63 Cincinnati
#64 Texas Tech
#65 Miami, FL
#66 Charlotte
#67 UTEP
#68 Ole Miss
#69 George Mason
#70 Colorado
#71 Weber State
#72 Alabama
#73 Bradley
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#77 USC
#78 Oklahoma State
#79 Cal
#80 Oklahoma
#81 Virginia
#82 South Carolina
#83 Indiana
#84 Stanford
#85 Oregon
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#88 Arkansas
#89 Boston College
#90 LSU
#91 Providence
#92 Michigan
#93 Oregon State
#94. Nebraska
#95. Auburn
#96. DePaul
#97. Iowa State
#98. Rutgers
#99. Iowa

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and The Washington Times Communities.  You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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  1. OSU is not that good cause Evan Turner is gone, but still a good team.

  2. Here we go again! Another naysayer/hater who’s lot in lif is to jeer at THE OSU Buckeyes. Have you even watched this new team play yet? Have you witnessed the talent of Sullinger & Company? Probably not. So, why not crawl back in that hole you slithered out of and wait it out til March. Then come out and see for yourself how good the BB Buckeyes are. Yes, without Even Turner.

  3. I’m with you Bleeds, and against you Brian on this one.

    The Bucks were only 6-7 deep last year, now they’ll have 8 or 9 guys to play. Big difference. I did an exclusive with Lauderdale at big ten media day we discussed his upcoming film “take it to the hole with penetration” no I’m joking we discussed all the freshmen and what they bring to the tbale. I should have that posted this weekend.

    last season he WAS their entire frountcourt. This year they actually have other bigs.

    and Slinky Buford is an underrated player

  4. I also think Lighyt might have been college baksetball’s best 2nd banana last year. and yeah whats up with tOSU bigs having premature aging. Oden looked like he was 38 when he was a frosh, and now Lauderdale’s receeding hairline

  5. Craft looked really solid in their exhibition game against Walsh that I watched on the shitty BTN college feed where the play-by-play guy was TERRIBLE… Craft will give them stability off the bench at the one… and the depth factor will be huge… plus the Lauderdale/Sullinger duo will be a nightmare for opponents to defend… Buford looks ready to take a jump as well…

  6. student u for the MSU exhibition was AWFUL as well.

    play-by=play guy kept saying “sinks it” for EVERY shot that went in. try swtiching it up bud, “drains it” “hits it” “connects’ SOEMTHING to create some variety

  7. OSU is a little overrated, that’s all I’m saying, they lost Evan Turner and I don’t see anyone for this year that really makes me think that this team is easily a Final Four contender. If Turner would have stayed, then I would say “wow!” about this team.

  8. Well, Lauderdale, Sullinger, and Buford are pretty good, but they aren’t Kyle Singler, Jacob Pullen good.

  9. What, paulmbanks? You against me? How could you? Haha! lol

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