A poll of media members who cover Big Ten basketball have voted Ohio State to finish second in the conference’s first season with 14 teams.
Wisconsin, a Final Four team last year, was the unanimous selection to win the conference, no doubt in large part because the Badgers return four starters.
Ohio State will have a much more different look than the Badgers as longtime point guard Aaron Craft not only used up his eligibility but so did shooting guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. Leading scorer LaQuinton Ross opted to leave school early, leaving Sam Thompson as the leading returning scorer. The high-flying guard averaged 7.9 points per game last year as a junior and is one of six seniors on the 2014-15 squad.
Head coach Thad Matta added the No. 10-ranked recruiting class in the country, including five-star prospects D’Angelo Russell at guard and Keita Bates-Diop at forward. Also new to the squad this season is Anthony Lee, a 6-9 senior forward who transferred from Temple.
Along with the four true freshmen Ohio State will gain the services of Kam Williams, a 6-2 guard who was a four-star recruit two years ago at Baltimore (Md.) Mount St. Joseph but redshirted last season.
The Buckeyes went 25-10 last season, including a 10-8 mark that was good enough for fifth in the Big Ten. They lost their first game of the NCAA tournament to Dayton.