Way-too-early ESPN NCAA Bracketology not very kind to Ohio State

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has released a very, very early 2023 NCAA Tournament projection. The effort is not very kind to Ohio State.

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s ironically madness to talk about things that won’t happen until next March, but it’s always interesting to see what the national media thinks of Ohio State’s basketball offseason and the prospects of where things might land this upcoming season.

So, we decide to check in from time to time with ESPN’s resident expert in all things Bracketology, Joe Lunardi. And wouldn’t you know it, Joey Brackets recently released a very, very early look at where he thinks things stand for his NCAA Tournament projections for the 2023 version.

And while we’ve seen many brackets have Ohio State safely in despite so many new faces, Lundardi has the Buckeyes all the way down to the No. 9 seed line.

If you’ve watched how these brackets are pieced together over the last few years, a No. 9 seed basically means you’re most likely looking at a year with OSU awfully close to the bubble. Now, the good news is that Lunardi doesn’t have Ohio State as one of the last teams in, but that’s still dangerous territory to be in.

Let’s hope the Buckeyes prove some people wrong and that all the fresh faces mesh and become a unit that surprises folks. And yeah, we’ll continue to check in on how all the NCAA Tournament buzz is going from now to selection Sunday.

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Ohio State swimmers help earn six medals at World Championships

Keep an eye on Hunter Armstrong as the next Summer Olympic Games get closer. He’s a budding star in USA Swimming. #GoBucks

Led by Hunter Armstrong, there was a distinct scarlet and gray hue to the 2022 FINA World Championships. All told six medals were awarded with a Buckeye taking some sort of responsibility.

The bulk of the hardware was by a budding star that you might want to keep tabs on before the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris. Buckeye swimmer Hunter Armstong, the current world record holder in the 50m backstroke was a star for Team USA.

The other Buckeye that had a hand in bringing a medal home, this time for Team Canada, was Ruslan Gaziev. Here’s how the events that OSU swimmers had a hand in played out.

Ohio State 2024 quarterback commit now No. 1 rated 247Sports Composite player

Either way you slice it, Raiola is one whale of a prospect. #GoBucks

It’s no secret that the Ohio State football program recruits with the best of them. The Buckeyes send a slew of players to the NFL and routinely finish inside the top five in the nation when it comes to keeping score by the recruiting types.

Oftentimes, that means trying to corral the No. 1 rated prospect out there, something that OSU has done before, but not as often as you would think.

But Ohio State might end up with the nation’s No. 1 prospect in the 2024 class if things hold. That’s because quarterback Dylan Raiola, the Buckeyes’ recent quarterback commitment for the recruiting cycle, is now ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.

At 6-foot, 3-inches, and 220 pounds as a rising junior, Raiola has the size and arm to make all the throws. He’s already shown off that arm strength by beating all competitors in a national longest throw contest against some of the best quarterback prospects.

June 2, 2022; Tempe, Arizona; USA; Chandler quarterback Dylan Raiola throws during a 7-on-7 tournament, an ASU High School Football Showcase. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network

There’s still a long way to go, but if Raiola keeps that ranking, and all indications are that he has a good chance to, then the Buckeyes will have the No. 1 overall prospect for just the second time since all of these recruiting services began getting the microscopes out to measure everything. The other was (ahem) quarterback Quinn Ewers.

Let’s hope things work out better with Raiola than what we saw from Ewers.

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WATCH: The moment Malaki Branham gets selected in 2022 NBA draft

Watch the moment Malaki Branham was selected in the 2022 NBA draft. #GoBucks

The journey of former Ohio State guard Malaki Branham was an interesting one last season. The freshman started the year slowly as he learned to deal with the different competitive level in college. In fact, in December, if you would have told anyone that Branham would be a first-round selection as a one-and-done, nobody would have believed it.

A funny thing happened though once the new year hit. Branham dropped 35 points in a win on the road vs. Nebraska to let everyone know that he was for real. Scoring in double figures then ended up being a consistent thing for a freshman that was beginning to show the world that he was a three-level scorer from multiple spots on the floor.

He began to rise up the draft boards and that’s when everyone realized that Branham’s freshman season at Ohio State would be his only one. The dream of being drafted in the NBA became reality on Thursday night.

In case you missed it, get a look at the moment Branham likely had to pinch himself as the No. 20 overall in the NBA draft, when the San Antonio Spurs felt they got a steal.

It’ll sure be fun to see what Branham does with his opportunity and how quickly he can acclimate himself to the top basketball league in the world. He’s got the skill set, so he just has to find things like he did at Ohio State.

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WATCH: The moment E.J. Liddell was selected in the NBA draft

Love these videos when players get drafted. Congrats to an all-time great OSU player and human being, E.J. Liddell. #GoBucks

One of the things I love most about the NBA and NFL draft is watching the reactions of players as they realize their lifelong dream of playing in the highest competitive environment in their sport. It’s pure emotion, and even the most stoic of personalities tend to let it all hang out and are overcome realizing that they just reached a fantasy of all fantasies from the vigor of their youth.

Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell put off staying in the NBA draft to focus on improving his game based on the feedback he received. The former Mr. Basketball in Illinois turned into a state sheet stuffer that can score from multiple spots on the floor, protect the rim, and be a guy that can go get a shot when you need.

Still, he fell down the NBA draft board on Thursday night for reasons only NBA scouts and executives will know. When his name was finally called by the New Orleans Pelicans in the second round, he was overcome with emotion as he was surrounded by family, friends, and supporters.

Watch as Liddell’s wait on Thursday night in Belleville, Illinois, is finally realized with his name being called as a legit NBA player. The video is courtesy of Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch.

I for one can’t wait to see Liddell prove to all of those teams that passed him up as he works just as hard as he has to date and puts together a long and productive NBA career.

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WATCH: TreVeyon Henderson provides ultimate feast for his offensive linemen

TreVeyon Henderson knows what it’s all about — taking his O-lineman to a nice dinner. #GoBucks

The best running backs in the game of football know that they can’t do it on their own. Even at a place like Ohio State, the most talented ball-carriers rely on the big uglies to lean on the defense and open up holes to gash the defense with big plays.

It’s clear by what we saw shared on Twitter that OSU running back TreVeyon Henderson gets it. He knows that he’s nothing without the guys up front changing the line of scrimmage. Because of that, Henderson apparently treated those buffet eaters to a mighty fine meal by the looks of it.

In case you didn’t get a chance to catch a spread that anyone would be salivating over, do yourself a favor and take just a bit of time to watch Henderson providing a meal, laughter, and fun for the offensive line at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse.

There was also some swag handed out as well as appreciation.

I have to admit, I’ve never eaten at Jeff Ruby’s but after this video, it’s going in my fine dining rotation. And I don’t know about you, but getting a meal and parting gifts like that will make a guy block a little harder and stay engaged just a little longer.

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Best photos of Malaki Branham at the 2022 NBA draft

Get a look at some of the best photos of Malaki Branham at the 2022 NBA draft Thursday night. #GoBucks

Two Ohio State basketball players saw their dreams come true Thursday night at the 2022 NBA draft. Malaki Branham went off the board in the first round when the San Antonio Spurs selected him at pick No. 20. That was followed by E.J. Liddell slipping down to the second round when the New Orleans Pelicans called his name.

For Branham, the experience was even more special because he was in attendance as one of the players thought to be a shoo-in for being taken earlier in the first round. It was the equivalent of rolling out the red carpet NBA style.

Since Branham was in attendance, there were some great photos snapped of him from his arrival in Brooklyn all the way through him walking across the stage, and we’re bringing them to you.

Here are some of the best photos of Malaki Branham at the 2022 NBA draft on Thursday night.

Ohio State basketball team adds a transfer walk-on to the squad

The Ohio State basketball team added some depth with the addition of a walk-on forward. #GoBucks

Ohio State basketball’s 2022-2023 team is now set in stone with every scholarship accounted for, but there’s still room for a walk-on or two to add depth. That’s exactly what happened with the news (subscription may be required) of forward Owen Spencer’s transfer to the team, as first reported by Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch.

At 6-foot, 9-inches, Spencer averaged just 0.8 points a game for The Citadel last season in just 1.7 minutes of play. But, clearly, this is all about getting some depth for practice and molding of the team. The Cincinnati native will have three years of eligibility left, and who knows, we’ve seen guys earn scholarships as walk-ons before.

This makes the second walk-on Ohio State has added for next season. The first was incoming freshman, 6-foot-3-inch guard, Colby Baumann, out of IMG Academy.

If there are any further roster changes, we’ll be on top of it for you, but this should be about all we hear heading into next season.

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Ohio State basketball to play at Duke in this year’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge

If you’ve never been to Cameron Indoor, this year might be the year to do it. #GoBucks

It’s going to be an interesting year for the Ohio State basketball team. Not only is it taking part in the Maui Invitational with a loaded field, but there are other tough nonconference matchups and the grind of the Big Ten season.

And now this.

According to a release from ESPN, Ohio State will travel to Cameron Indoor to take on Duke in this year’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It should be an interesting year for the Blue Devils as well because it’ll be a transition year with Mike Krzyzewski moving on after building Duke into a consistent national power.

But don’t let that fool you. Duke is still Duke and it’ll be a tough, tough environment to try to go into, especially with so many new faces on OSU’s team. It’ll also be right after the Buckeyes have finished up globetrotting to Hawaii and back.

The date of the game will be Thursday, November 30, with the time of the game to still to be announced.

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Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell goes in the second round of the 2022 NBA draft

E.J. Liddell makes it two Buckeyes taken in the 2022 NBA draft. #GoBucks

And the second Ohio State player has been taken off the board in the 2022 NBA draft. Malaki Branham went to the San Antonio Spurs earlier in the first round, and now, forward E.J. Liddell also heard his name called when he was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans with the No. 41 overall pick in the second-round.

Two Buckeyes going in the same NBA draft has not happened since 2007 when OSU sent three in the first round (Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Daequan Cook). It’s a trend that will hopefully start to happen more often.

But back to Liddell.

The 6-foot, 7-inch junior improved each year at Ohio State. He went from acclimating himself to the game as a freshman to marked improvement his second year, to an even better junior year. Each season, nearly every single stat got better. Last season, Liddell averaged 19.4 points, 2.6 blocks, 2.5 assists, and 7.9 rebounds in 33.2 minutes of play. He led the team in points, blocks, and rebounds.

More than anything, scouts and executives at the next level can see a guy that isn’t afraid to improve his game. He’s taken feedback from going through the NBA process before and improved his outside touch, his conditioning, and his ability to guard on the perimeter. He plays much larger than his listed height and has a knack for protecting the rim.

If Liddell continues to work as hard on his game as he has at Ohio State, don’t be surprised if he makes the most of his NBA opportunity with a long, productive career.

In fact, it’s a bit surprising to see Liddell fall so much further down the draft than many anticipated. In most mock drafts, he was pegged to go late in the first round.

Go prove ’em wrong E.J.

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