The attention of Ohio State fans might be monopolized by the start of the Big Ten football season next weekend, but it’s time to start getting excited about the Basketball Bucks as well, as their season was announced on Wednesday. Ohio State will kick off their 2020-21 campaign on November 25th, taking on the Memphis Tigers in the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic, which will be held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Ohio State and Memphis were both originally supposed to play in the Battle 4 Atlantis, held in Nassau, Bahamas, but the COVID-19 pandemic led to the tournament being scrapped. Seven of the eight teams originally slated to play in the Bahamas will be playing in the Crossover Classic, with Duke being the only team who won’t be in South Dakota in late November.
Ohio State is coming off the 2019-20 season where they went 21-10 before the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament were cancelled because of the spread of the coronavirus. The Buckeyes will look a lot different this year on the court. Kaleb Wesson declared for the NBA Draft, while older brother Andre exhausted his eligibility. Along with the loss of the Wessons, Luther Muhammad and Alonzo Gaffney transferred out of the program.
The Buckeyes did get a couple of additions through the transfer portal to try and ease the pain of the losses from last year’s roster. The most notable transfer addition was of Seth Towns, who was the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2018 at Harvard. Cal transfer Justice Sueing will finally be able to take the floor after sitting out last year, while Utah State guard Abel Porter and Bucknell transfer Jimmy Sotos were added as graduate transfers during the offseason.
While the transfer additions should inject some energy into the program, a number of returning players will be able to show the newbies the ropes. Expect Chris Holtmann to lean heavily on senior Kyle Young and sophomore E.J. Liddell this year. Young has been the “glue guy” for Ohio State when healthy the last few years, and now will finally have the spotlight to himself. Liddell should form a strong combo with Young at forward after a solid freshman season. Running the show at guard will be C.J. Walker, who was a fixture on the court last season after transferring from Florida State.