It’s better to have burning questions than burning anything else. That’s just a damn fact, look it up. The Buckeyes are coming off an amazing season where they were Co-Big Ten Regular Season Champions and had a trip to the Final Four. Some people say that anything short of a National Title is a failure but those people are stupid. They seem to forget the Jim O’Brien days where we were committing NCAA violations to get mediocre euro trash. We know everyone is obsessed with football right now but basketball season is right around the corner and these guys are good. Plus our first game is November 9th against Marquette in the Carrier Classic and that is awesome.
In the way too early preseason polls ESPN’s Andy Katz has the Buckeyes ranked #8, Dick Vitale has them ranked #10, the Sporting News has them ranked #3, and just yesterday the USA Today Coaches Poll the Buckeyes came in #4. At first thought that seems very high for a team that just lost an All American in Jared Sullinger and one of their all time leading scorers in William Buford (we still love you), but then again that is the college basketball landscape as many of the major powerhouses saw their top players leave early for the NBA after many of them (Perry Jones III, Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, etc) stayed in school the year before.
The Big Ten is likely to be the top overall conference again with stars like Deshaun Thomas, Trey Burke, and Cody Zeller all electing to stay in school. It is likely that the conference will be even stronger as Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State and are ranked in the Top 5 of the coaches poll with Michigan State and Wisconsin also in the Top 25. With such a tough conference slate and with the Buckeyes losing two key players we wanted to take a look at five burning questions for this season.
Obviously the Buckeyes are going to need to find someone to replace Sullinger’s offense and rebounding. In all honesty Evan Ravenel and Amir Williams won’t have any problems replacing his defense. Sullinger struggled on the pick and roll and wasn’t much of a help defender. Williams is a much better shot blocker as he has more length and possesses good timing. The question isn’t whether or not these two can match Sullinger’s numbers, they can’t. They question is whether or not these guys can combined contribute around 14 ppg and 10 rpg while adding a level of toughness that will be needed to compete for the Big 10 championship.
2. Who is Laquinton Ross?
Across Buckeye message boards throughout the season fans were clamoring for Ross to get more playing time. Why? They probably hope that his recruiting hype would live up to it’s billing and he could give us the three point threat we were lacking for most of the year. In reality Ross was a kid with academic issues who joined the team late and in minimal playing time against other teams scrubs looked lost and made Deshaun Thomas look like he played defense like Bruce Bowen. He was rated as a top 50 recruit by most scouting services entering the year. But what will he bring us this year. Hopefully he will bring us a 6’8 wing player with a variety of offensive skills., including a deadly three point shot. One thing he will need to work on is his defense because we know with Thad Matta, if he isn’t making the effort defensively he isn’t going to be getting playing time and will probably join JD Weatherspoon and Jordan Siebert on the transfer list.