2 centers, 2 point guards and a bunch of wings in between. Thad has just one senior on a team that didn't really lose anyone important from last season. That is a lot of returning minutes with a still pretty young team.
Lyle is a huge point at 6'5 and he is backed up by the smaller fellow sophomore Jackson. Lyle has the size and skills that make him a possible all Big Ten team player, but he was maddeningly inconsistent as a freshman. For example, he had 9 games in which he scored at least 18 points, but he also had 8 games in which he scored 3 points or less. He averaged a team high 4.2 assists/game, but also 3.0 turnovers/game. He shot 40% overall, and just 25% on 3s which he shot too frequently. So far this season he is taking better shots, and turning the ball over less. If that holds up as the competition gets tougher, then the Buckeyes will be in for a good season. Jackson is a JC transfer and has been more of a facilitator. He has 25 assists to just 7 turnovers, but has hit just 2 of 15 shots so far.
OSUs offense works best when they have a big man they can dump the ball to while they space the floor with 4 shooters. They have not had one since Jared Sullinger left town, but they have a nice list of highly recruited disappointments- Amir Williams, Trey McDonald, and Daniel Giddens. They currently have a 2 center rotation with junior Trevor Thompson and freshman Micah Potter. Thompson appears to be in the mold of the centers of the recent past- very big but just serviceable. Potter may develop into a post up center, but at this point in his young career he is just a space eater.
The wings are where the fun is and OSU always seems to have lots of them. This season is no different. The only senior is Loving who was kind of disappointing as he moved into a leading role on last years team that had no seniors. Perhaps the expectations on him last year were unfair, but he has regressed even more so far this year. He is certainly lower in the pecking order than juniors Tate and Bates-Diop. Those two combine to be a high flying, high energy duo that are fun to watch. They both rebound well and play defense, but are lacking in the shooting department. Williams is the final guy in the rotation, and I know he is more of a guard, but in this offense there is really not much difference. He was once considered a combo guard, but he is a black hole shooter as evidenced by his just 1 assist in 5 games.
When OSU has a center they are final 4 quality program, but without one they are just OK. Despite going 11-7 in Big Ten play last season they missed the tournament as they only had one quality win against Iowa in Big Ten play, along with some bad losses in non-conference. This team looks better and should be back in the dance. Prediction 12-6.