2020 Ohio State Buckeyes NCAA Basketball National Championship Odds with Predictions
Last year was a hard one to judge for the Buckeyes. On one hand, they dropped from a 15-3 conference record two years back to just 8-12 last year. But they got off to a very strong 12-1 start, so their 20 wins was still good enough for an NCAA Tournament berth. Then they won their opener to validate their inclusion. So, it was a real step back from where they had been the year before - but it ended in the same stage of the tournament. Disappointing in some ways, and not so much in others. But they kept most of their core intact, and added the top recruiting class in their conference, so there is optimism that this conference season will look a little closer to 2018 than 2019.
Ohio State Buckeyes Additions/Losses
The team lost three players who were in the rotation last year, but none that are massive blows. Guards C.J. Jackson and Keyshawn Woods graduated, and freshman Jaedon LaDee transferred to TCU. Jackson scored 12 points and 3.5 assists per game and is the toughest to replace, while Woods averaged 8.1 and 2.5. Woods was a grad transfer from Wake Forest last year and made the most of his one year with the program. LaDee had had much less of a statistical impact, but he was a four-star recruit and the second highest-rated member of the 2018 class, so he certainly had upside. His departure has more to do with returning to his home state of Texas to overcome homesickness than with anything with the team.
The incoming recruiting class ranks 14th nationally and tops in the conference - a big jump up from the sixth rated class in the Big Ten the year before. Leading the way is D.J. Carton, a fringe five-star point guard from Iowa. He is expected to run the point for the team for the next year or two and has a huge ceiling. He doesn't have to carry things himself, though. C.J. Walker transferred in from Florida State last year, and after sitting out a season is ready to go. His maturity and year of experience with the program means he can carry as much of the burden as he has to as Carton develops. For what it's worth, Walker started the opener against Cincinnati and played 21 minutes, while Carton played 25 minutes off the bench. That's some version of what you could imagine seeing for the first month or two of the season. Both players are helped by the fact that they have three guards to play beside them who played real minutes last year and started 43 games between them. Youth is easier to integrate when it is accompanied by experience often - especially when it is an impressive talent like Carton, but not a profoundly freakish guy.
The Buckeyes start two Wesson brothers up front - junior Kaleb and senior Andre. Kaleb, the better player and the team's leading scorer and rebounder last year but also a defensive liability at times, flirted with the NBA but has returned to play another year in Columbus. That's helpful. And two more top 50 recruits are going to play a big role up front. Alonzo Gaffney is a small forward with serious hops who has a chance to earn serious playing time as the season goes along. And power forward fills the role that LaDee departed - and has more upside than the former player.
Ohio State Buckeyes Schedule
The Buckeyes opened with a nice win against Cincinnati. They have a gimme game before a big test against Villanova . Their early-season tournament is the Ohio State Classic, which is a farce of a gathering. They play no one of note. December, though, is a brutal month. They play at North Carolina for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. They play a tough early conference game at Minnesota. Then they play Kentucky in Vegas four days before Christmas, and West Virginia in Cleveland four days after the big day. Then conference play starts. They only play consecutive road games twice, and never more than that, so the conference schedule is about as reasonable as it can be in the brutal Big Ten.
Ohio State Buckeyes Futures Odds and Trends
The Buckeyes are the third choice to win the Big Ten title at +700, trailing only Maryland and heavily-favored Michigan State . After the Spartans lost their opener, though, there could be some relative value in other teams. They are at +3300 to win the national title, which has them tied with five teams - including conference rivals Purdue and Michigan - and behind 14 other squads. The regular season win total sits at 22.5.
There was a mirror effect to the team's performance last year - they were 20-15 straight up and 15-20 ATS on the season. They went over the total 18 times and under 16.
Ohio State Buckeyes Predictions
There is a solid mix of experience and exciting youngsters here, and the team is very well coached. They have a chance to be better than they were last year by a wide margin. And they could develop into a really tough out. But they have a lot of growing to do on the fly, and they are in a Big Ten conference that is always brutally tough and deep. I'm just not convinced that, even at their best, they stand above enough of this conference. They are in the mix for sure, but I'm not massively bullish, and find it tough to take a strong stand on the season win total.
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