This Ohio basketball team stinks. The individual pieces of the puzzle that make up the 2022-2023 Ohio State men’s basketball team are mostly great, but you can’t put them together to create a coherent picture. Additionally, many people say that the people responsible for assembling the puzzles cannot assemble this puzzle (or any other puzzle).
There is no denying the talent of this Ohio team. Brice Sensabaugh will be a first-round pick in his NBA Draft in a few months. Zed Key, while not a superstar, is a good low-post scorer for the Big Ten despite his height being a distinct disadvantage. Nothing has gone well for Justice Thwing lately, but in his career he’s a 12.6 PPG scorer in about 45% of his overall shooting percentage. This is objectively good!
Sean McNeil, Isaac Likekele and Tanner Holden are all career scorers over 1,000 points, with McNeil going from 3 to over 40% before last weekend’s drubbing in Indiana. Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle, and Felix Okpara are talented freshmen who are already contributing, albeit not at the elite level.
Despite this, Ohio State is 11-10 this season and is 3-7 in the Big Ten with 10 games left. The last time the Buckeyes started 3-7 in a league game was six years before him, the year Sadmatta was sacked. or Ohio State finished the season 4-4 (7-11 overall) and did not participate in the postseason tournament. This year’s team could share the same fate if things don’t start to pick up soon.
But here’s the wild, wacky, and puzzling aspect of this Ohio team. Computers love it. KenPom, NET, Haslametric, Bart Torvik — even just your general bracket predictions — all love Ohio. Not at the ridiculous level of being in the top 10, apparently Ridiculous considering how this team continues to play stinky.
Let’s start with my personal favorite metric, KenPom. Ken Pomeroy ranks teams based on efficiency. This is basically an assessment of how many points you can score per possession and how many points you can defensively tolerate per possession. Subtract part 2 from part 1 and voila. You get overall efficiency.
Despite losing seven of their last eight games, Ohio State is ranked 28th in the nation as of Tuesday afternoon. Kansas is 18-3, top of the Big 12, America’s premier conference. They are right in front of two teams, 16-5 Auburn and 17-5 Providence. Combined We’re going to lose as many games as Ohio State this season.
Perhaps it’s because Ohio State played tight for nearly the entire game, except for the snowballing 3-4 minute stretch, despite their losing streak. 4 minutes into the second half of the game against Maryland. The match against Indiana was the last three minutes of the first half. The game against Purdue is the last two minutes of the first half. Ohio State played near-impeccable basketball for the remaining 111 minutes, but unfortunately, it just doesn’t work out.
Perhaps it’s because Ohio State is one of the better teams in the country to keep the line, so they’re pulling the “points allowed per possession” category down? While a lowly team, they rank 17th in the nation (among Power Five conference teams) in preventing threes as their opponents have only knocked down 30.2% of their triples this season.
Let’s move on to .NET. This may be the single most important metric the NCAA Tournament Committee uses in deciding who will make the big bids for the tournament and where to seed the teams. Surely the guys at the top are aware of this team’s stench, right? Not exactly!
Ohio State University was No. 29 in the NET rankings as of Tuesday afternoon. This is very similar to KenPom rankings. Buckeyes is two spots below him on the 17-5 Xavier team just below I-70 and is likely to win the Big East. Just below the Buckeyes is New Mexico, with an 18-3 record that puts him seven more than OSU, making them the last undefeated team in the nation. Just below New Mexico are my friends Auburn and Providence again.
We made some guesses as to why KenPom rates Ohio State higher than we do. But if the NCAA is using NETs to dictate tournament seeding, there must be some logic behind this, right?
At its most rudimentary level, NET finds out who and where you are playing. This is better than his RPI system, which more or less focuses only on win rate. Even if you lose a game, who you played where is pretty important. The Buckeyes, for example, are the only three teams to have faced tournament-level teams at home this season: Rutgers, Purdue and Iowa.now compare it with 8 This season, Ohio State is a tournament-grade team that has faced off on the road or neutral courts, including San Diego State, Duke, North Carolina, Northwestern, Maryland, Rutgers, Illinois and Indiana. Ohio State has lost seven of his eight games, five of which he was in the single digits.
That’s why, at its most granular and simplest level, Ohio State remains in the top 30 of NET despite looking like garbage over the past three weeks.
I won’t break down HaslaMetrics and BartTorvik/T-Rankings to keep you out of the weeds, but Ohio also ranks in the top 40 on these websites that rank teams based on various efficiencies. Ranked within.
HaslaMetrics is number 37 in Ohio as of Tuesday, ahead of New Mexico, Iowa, and Kentucky.
BartTorkvik is No. 25 in Ohio as of Tuesday, just behind Gonzaga.
All of this ultimately leads us to the NCAA Tournament. Do these numbers mean anything? Is it all just grandstands, or a few geeks trying to be the smartest people in the room?
The purpose of putting this piece together is not to make excuses for this team or to try to pivot this Ohio State team to another point that would point them in a better direction. It’s about showing how insane it is and giving fans a “warning”. Despite how rotten the Buckeyes look, they are still in a position to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Because Metrics still really likes this team.
As of Monday afternoon, Ohio State was the second team to drop out of the tournament, according to the bracket matrix, an average of all bracket predictions that can be found online. By Tuesday afternoon, the Buckeyes had fallen to the fifth team in the tournament despite not playing Monday night. Bubble’s team split hairs and decimals so closely that a win or loss could cause a team to jump from Dayton’s top four to one of the top four. is where Ohio finds itself now.
Just a week ago, Ohio State was the second-lowest 11 seed, where Pittsburgh is now. With just a loss to Indiana, the Buckeyes fell into a puddle of “other general” contenders.
Indicators/computers believe this Ohio State team has NCAA Tournament capability. Unfortunately, playing on the court disagrees. But when the NCAA Tournament Committee looks at these exact same numbers, the dead bodies, Ohio’s men’s basketball team, start breathing again.