Third-place Big Ten finish forecasted for Ohio State men's basketball by Lindy's

Ohio State men's basketball has been picked to finish third in the Big Ten and reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament by Lindy’s annual preseason college basketball magazine.

After going 20-12 and finishing sixth in the conference a season ago, the Buckeyes return only 14.1% of their scoring and 16.2% of their minutes played. Entering his sixth season, coach Chris Holtmann has had to retool a roster that will feature five freshmen and three transfers. With all that in mind, Ohio State is No. 27 in Lindy’s preseason rankings, behind No. 6 Indiana and No. 7 Michigan.

Losing E.J. Liddell isn’t helpful, but the talent level is plenty high,” the magazine says.

Justice Sueing comes in for praise

No Ohio State players were picked for any preseason national teams, but sixth-year forward Justice Sueing checks in at No. 89 among Lindy’s list of the top 150 players in college basketball. Eight Big Ten teams each have one player ranked ahead of Sueing, and the league has 14 selections among the top 150 players. Indiana leads the way with three, while Northwestern and Nebraska are the only teams without a player selected.

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Sueing is a second-team all-Big Ten pick, while freshman Brice Sensabaugh was picked as the Big Ten’s “most entertaining” player. Sensabaugh’s class is ranked as the best high school group in the league.

“If Justice Sueing stays healthy, this could be a top 15 team,” it says. “Four top 60 freshmen arrive along with high-scoring Wright State transfer Tanner Holden and two others. The top three scorers are gone as Malaki Branham and E.J. Liddell left early for the NBA.”

West Virginia transfer Sean McNeil is listed as Ohio State’s top newcomer.

“There are many good choices here, but we’ll go with the one who should make the most impact now,” the magazine says. “The 24-year-old grad transfer averaged 12.2 points the past two years as a starter for West Virginia in the rugged Big 12.”

Ohio State Buckeyes: 'The O Foundation' created to support Ohio State men's basketball

Third-year center Zed Key is one of three primary players featured on the cover alongside Cincinnati’s David DeJulius and Xavier’s Zach Freemantle, the latter of whom was suspended indefinitely by coach Sean Miller on Sept. 27.

Lindy’s projects eight Big Ten teams to reach the NCAA Tournament: Michigan, Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State, Rutgers, Illinois and Iowa. No team is picked to reach the Final Four, while the Hoosiers and Wolverines are projected to reach the Elite Eight. The Big Ten is rated the nation’s top conference: “Don’t let the past two NCAA Tourney records deceive – more quality programs here than any other conference,” it says.

The Ohio State women’s basketball team is ranked No. 14 nationally and third in the Big Ten.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Lindy's picks Ohio State men's basketball third in Big Ten