Last season the Ohio State Basketball program finished on a high note. After sneaking into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 11 seed the Buckeyes upset No. 6 seed Iowa State in a thrilling game.
The Buckeyes would proceed to lose to No. 3 seed Houston in the Round of 32, but it was clear from that victory against Iowa State that Chris Holtmann has the basketball program rolling.
In just two years as head coach Holtmann has led the team to the Round of 32 in back-to-back seasons, improved recruiting immensely (No.1 in the Big Ten) and has made Ohio State a nuisance in the Big Ten. Certainly one can believe the expectations for this program are sky high because of Holtmann’s early success.
The Buckeyes have recently started their summer workouts in preparation for the 121st season of basketball in Columbus.
With the summer conditioning program underway it is time to start making some predictions about the upcoming season. Here are three bold predictions for the Buckeyes in 2019.
Kaleb Wesson will be named First Team All-Big Ten
Last season Kaleb Wesson was one of the most dominant centers in the Big Ten. Wesson led the Buckeyes in points (14.6) and rebounds (6.9). Honestly, Wesson should have at least made Second Team All-Big Ten, but he was clearly snubbed because of his late season suspension. Regardless, Wesson showed massive growth from his freshman year to his sophomore year. In fact, Wesson improved his three-point shot from 28.6% to 34.7%.
With Wesson spending the offseason going through the NBA pre-draft process where he received feedback from teams he will be aware of where he needs to improve in order to make it at the professional level. Expect a huge year from the junior big man.
Luther Muhammad will average double-digits in scoring
Luther Muhammad’s freshman season was essentially split in two. The first half where Muhammad was a consistent scorer and the second half where he looked erratic and appeared to hit the freshman wall. Despite his inconsistent season Muhammad finished averaging 7.6 points.
Typically players improve drastically from after their freshman year. And it is safe to say Muhammad has been putting in the work this offseason. Just check out his daily Instagram story, you can find him on a random court everyday when he isn’t practicing with the team. It feels like Muhammad has been playing basketball ever since the season stopped in March.
Expect Muhammad’s hard work in the gym to show on his statistics. Increasing from 7.6 points per game to at least 10.0 seems very feasible for the promising young guard.
Ohio State will make the Sweet Sixteen at minimum
Chris Holtmann has led the Buckeyes to the cusp of the Sweet Sixteen in back-to-back seasons. It feels like this will be the year Holtmann gets the Buckeyes over the hump. With a roster of veterans infused with young talent like D.J. Carton, E.J. Liddell and Alonzo Gaffney the team should have more than enough firepower to compete with nearly every program in the country. In the end it will come down to the coaching of Holtmann to guide this team to success.