What’s completely different for Ohio State basketball because the finish of the 2019-20 season?


On Saturday, the No. 7 Ohio State males’s basketball crew misplaced an everyday season-ending coronary heart breaker to No. 4 Illinois, 73-68. Chris Holtmann’s squad hasn’t received since a 92-82 victory over Penn State on Feb. 18, dropping video games to No. 3 Michigan (92-87), Michigan State (71-67), No. 9 Iowa (73-57), and the Illini.

Throughout this shedding streak, lots has been made about what may need modified for OSU up to now two and a half weeks, however I feel that it’s simply as fascinating to think about what has modified (and what hasn’t modified) for the Buckeyes since this level in 2020. As you would possibly keep in mind, the 2019-20 faculty basketball season was abruptly ended as issues about COVID-19 started to extend across the nation.

The Buckeyes misplaced their common season finale to then-No. 16 Michigan State, however had no alternative to capitalize on a earlier white-hot six weeks, as a result of each the Massive Ten and NCAA Tournaments have been finally canceled.

Regardless of the 80-69 defeat on the Breslin Heart on Sunday, March 8, 2020, the Buckeyes have been trending upward, and lots of followers had begun to get enthusiastic about their potential to lastly break previous the Spherical of 32 underneath Holtmann’s management.

Quick ahead to the tip of the 2020-21 common season, and issues are very completely different for the Buckeyes. This 12 months’s model discovered a solution to keep away from the dreaded Holtmann-January stoop that knocked final 12 months’s model from the No. 2 rating in late December to unranked lower than a month later.

This 12 months, after dropping their recreation in opposition to Minnesota on Jan. 3, the Buckeyes received 10 of their subsequent 11 to get as excessive as No. 4 within the AP Ballot — a place which they held for 3 weeks earlier than their four-game skid dropped them to seventh, and probably decrease when the brand new rankings come out this week.

So, regardless of how completely different the final two common seasons have been, I believed it is likely to be instructive to match the 2 campaigns to see if the dread felt all through Buckeye Nation in latest days was warranted, particularly compared to the optimism felt a 12 months in the past, pre-COVID.

Primary Season Information

Stat 2019-20 Group 2020-21 Group
Stat 2019-20 Group 2020-21 Group
General File 21-10 18-8
Ultimate AP/Internet Rating 19/15 7/8 (remaining common season rankings to return)
Massive Ten File 11-9 12-8
Massive Ten Rank fifth fifth
Factors Per Sport 72.1 76.8
Factors Allowed Per Sport 62.9 69.9
SRS seventh seventh
KenPom Rating eighth seventh
KenPom AdjEM 22.23 25.94
KenPom AdjO 114.3 (13) 122.6 (4)
KenPomAdjD 92.0 (19) 96.7 (80)

When wanting on the primary numbers and analytics, the groups don’t look that dissimilar; it’s whenever you begin evaluating the offenses and defenses of the 2 groups the place you begin to see what makes them completely different. This season’s offense is without doubt one of the greatest and best within the nation, rating fourth in KenPom’s numbers. Nonetheless, after being within the top-25 defensively in three of the final 4 seasons, OSU’s numbers on that finish of the ground have plummeted dramatically, placing them at eightieth within the nation. It’s their defensive effort that has precipitated probably the most consternation for Buckeye followers over the previous month of the common season.

However from there, it’s a must to ask your self, why is that this crew markedly worse on the defensive finish? Definitely Holtmann hasn’t given up teaching defensive fundamentals. It’s not like they’ve adopted a brand new scheme that so overvalues buckets that they expend minimal vitality on protection. So what’s it? I feel the best reply comes from the development of the crew.

Roster Comparability

Place 2019-20 Group 2020-21 Group
Place 2019-20 Group 2020-21 Group
Guard Duane Washington Duane Washington
Guard CJ Walker CJ Walker
Guard Luther Muhammad Musa Jallow
Guard D.J. Carton Eugene Brown
Guard Danny Hummer Meechie Johnson
Guard Jimmy Sotos
Guard Jansen Davidson
Ahead E.J. Liddell E.J. Liddell
Ahead Kyle Younger Kyle Younger
Ahead Justin Ahrens Justin Ahrens
Ahead Ibrahima Diallo Ibrahima Diallo
Ahead Harrison Hoofkin Harrison Hoofkin
Ahead Kaleb Wesson Justice Sueing
Ahead Andre Wesson Zed Key
Ahead Alonzo Gaffney Seth Cities

Solely three substantive contributors from final 12 months’s roster returned (CJ Walker, Duane Washington Jr., and Kyle Younger), with E.J. Liddell and Justin Ahrens clearly taking up way more very important roles than they’d a 12 months in the past. With the additions of transfers (Justice Sueing, Seth Cities) and freshmen (Zed Key, Eugene Brown, Meechie Johnson), in addition to the return of a semi-healthy Musa Jallow, the squad that Holtmann is working on the market frequently this season is considerably completely different than it was a 12 months in the past.

Final 12 months, OSU was buoyed on the defensive finish by the likes of Andre Wesson, Luther Muhammad, D.J. Carton, and even Kaleb Wesson. Whereas their replacements have been extra profitable on the offensive finish collectively, they haven’t been in a position to decide up the slack on the opposite. I feel it’s a mixture of effort, mindset, and particular ability units, however it’s actual. They will flip the D on at occasions, like they did within the first 12-Quarter-hour of the second half in opposition to Illinois on Saturday. However, it’s been some time since we’ve seen a cohesive defensive effort for 40 minutes from the Buckeyes.

Then there may be the truth that the Massive Ten is undoubtedly the very best convention within the nation this season. Presently final 12 months, the B1G had no groups within the top-eight of the AP Ballot, whereas as of now, 4 of the highest seven groups within the nation come from our humble convention.

Whereas the variety of ranked B1G groups is identical as on the finish of the 2019-20 common season, the truth that there may be such a coagulation on the prime of the rankings makes issues way more treacherous to navigate than a season in the past. It’s also why 4 and five-point losses over the previous few weeks haven’t broken OSU’s rankings within the minds of the pollsters almost as a lot as outsiders would anticipate.

AP Rating Comparability

Rank 2019-20 Group 2020-21 Group
Rank 2019-20 Group 2020-21 Group
No. 2 Michigan
No. 4 Illinois
No. 5 Iowa
No. 7 Ohio State
No. 9 Michigan State
No. 12 Maryland
No. 17 Wisconsin
No. 19 Ohio State
No. 21 Illinois
No. 23 Purdue
No. 25 Iowa Wisconsin

That is borne out whenever you have a look at Joe Lunardi’s official Bracketology projections for ESPN on the finish of the respective common seasons. A season in the past, no B1G squad was projected to be on both of the highest two strains within the Massive Dance. This 12 months, the convention is on tempo to assert half of the highest eight total seeds. Issues get a bit tighter as we transfer right down to seeds 3-8, and final 12 months’s B1G truly was projected to have extra berths (10) than this 12 months (9), however the place these groups fall within the pecking order (and in OSU’s schedule) makes an enormous distinction.

Bracketology Comparability

Seeds 2019-20 Groups 2020-21 Groups
Seeds 2019-20 Groups 2020-21 Groups
No. 1 N/A Illinois, Michigan
No. 2 N/A Iowa, Ohio State
No. 3 Michigan State N/A
No. 4 Wisconsin, Maryland Purdue
No. 5 Ohio State N/A
No. 6 Iowa, Michigan, Penn State Wisconsin
No. 7 Illinois N/A
No. 8 Rutgers N/A
No. 9 N/A Maryland
No. 10 N/A Rutgers
No. 11 Indiana (First 4) Michigan State (First 4)
No. 12 N/A N/A
No. 13 N/A N/A
No. 14 N/A N/A
No. 15 N/A N/A
No. 16 N/A N/A

Throughout their present four-game shedding streak, the Buckeyes have performed 4 match groups — three top-10 groups, and two top-5 groups. Three of these 4 video games have been determined by 5 or fewer factors, whereas the Iowa recreation was admittedly a little bit of a blowout.

None of that is to make excuses for the crew, neither is it to say that the Buckeyes don’t have anything to fret about within the upcoming postseason. As a substitute, it’s only a reminder a slight dose of perspective because the crew ventures into the B1G Event and finally into the NCAA Tourney as nicely.

Chris Holtmann’s squad has been battle examined this season, particularly up to now two and a half weeks. And, in the event that they maintain on to their present seeding projection, they doubtless received’t face a crew pretty much as good as Michigan, Iowa, or Illinois till the Candy 16 on the earliest. Does that assure that they are going to lastly advance previous the Spherical of 32 for the primary time since 2013? Nope, however I hope it makes the doomsdayers amongst us from fully leaping off the bandwagon, as a result of when this crew has every thing clicking, they could be a ton of enjoyable to observe, and really tough to defeat.

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