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Recapping LGHL’s 2020-21 College Basketball season predictions

Like Ohio State’s season, our predictions were pretty hit or miss.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Oral Roberts at Ohio State Joshua Bickel-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the 2020-21 men’s college basketball season is officially over. Last night the No. 1 Baylor Bears boatraced the favored No. 1 Gonzaga WhateverTheirNicknameIs by a score of 86-70. But, if you are an Ohio State fan, chances are, the NCAA Tournament ended for you on the exact same day that it began.

We won’t discuss what happened on that fateful Friday two and a half weeks ago, so instead, now that everything is all said and done, we are going to take a look at how accurate the Land-Grant Holy Land staff’s preseason predictions were for the Buckeye, Big Ten, and men’s college basketball seasons.

And, for the first time ever, at the end of the article, we will unveil the season’s best prognosticator, based on these results. No, we’ve never done that before for any of our previous predictions articles, and no; there is no specific reason why I have selected to do it in this specific instance either. Nope, absolutely no reason whatsoever.


Who will lead Ohio State in points per game this season?

This one was close, as Duane Washington Jr.’s late-season explosion pushed him past E.J. Liddell with 16.4 points per game compared to the big man’s 16.2, but 62.5% of LGHL’s respondents ended up being correct. Those predictors were Dan Hessler, Tia Johnston, Brett Ludwiczak, and Gene Ross. Nice job, team!


Who will lead Ohio State in rebounds per game this season?

The majority of LGHLers picked Kyle Young for this one, as he was the most known of the big men commodities on the roster coming into the season, however, he finished second with 5.48 rebounds per game to Liddell’s 6.66 (oh crap, don’t tell Lil Nas X).

So, three of us got this one right: Connor Lemons, Ludwiczak, and me — Matt Tamanini,


Who will lead Ohio State in assists per game this season?

Despite missing a handful of games, and eventually coming off the bench in his final season in Columbus, CJ Walker was far and away the best assist man on the team, dishing out 4.4 per contest. That means that Meredith Hein, Johnston, Lemons, Ross, and Tamanini all got another notch in the correct column.


Who will lead Ohio State in steals per game this season?

And we officially have our first 0-fer category, as no one correctly predicted that Justice Sueing would lead the team in steals. Hell, it doesn’t even look like he made the graphic from the initial article.

The former Cal Bear finished the season with 0.94 steals per game, while the predicted favorite — Walker — finished just behind him with 0.89.


Who will lead Ohio State in three-point shooting percentage and what will the percentage be?

This one is a little more tricky than it at first appears. According to the official college basketball stat rules, to qualify in the three-point shooting percentage category, players must attempt an average of 2.5 triples per contest and they must play in 75% of their school’s games.

So, Meechie Johnson Jr. (50%) and Young (43%) therefore do not qualify, so OSU’s official three-point champion on the season is Justin Ahrens having connected on 42.5% of his attempts from downtown. Two people (Lemons and Tamanini) correctly predicted Ahrens to come out on top, but by 0.7% I Tamanini wins this category, because I he went with 41.7%, while Connor went with an even 41%.

Chalk another one up for the good guy!


What will Kyle Young’s shooting percentage be this season?

Admittedly, this was a weird question, considering that Kyle ended up shooting outside the paint a lot more than he had in his previous seasons, but only one person predicted that KY’s field goal percentage would be between 50-55% (it ended up at 54.3%), and that was <opens the envelope> oh wait, it was me Tamanini again. Gosh, that guy knows his basketball.


How many blocks per game will E.J. Liddell end the season with?

Despite being an All-Big Ten first-team honoree this season, Liddell didn’t crack the conference’s top 10 in terms of blocks. His 1.1 rejections per game came in 12th in the B1G, but Hein, Ludwiczak, and Ross all picked the proper split on this one. Good going.


Who will be the biggest surprise for Ohio State this season and why?

Who will be the biggest surprise for Ohio State this season and why?

Contributor Prediction Correct
Contributor Prediction Correct
Brett Ludwiczak Ibrahima Diallo - While he be Kaleb Wesson down low, Diallo will give the Buckeyes a presence sooner in the paint than they were thinking after Wesson declared for the NBA Draft No
Connor Lemons CJ Walker will win All-Big Ten honors of some sort No
Dan Hessler Musa Jallow because a lot of people have forgotten the potential he has after sitting out due to injuries. No
Gene Ross Justice Sueing. A lot of people probably forgot about him after he had to sit out last season per NCAA transfer rules, but he averaged 14 ppg in two seasons at Cal. Yes
Matt Tamanini E.J. Liddell. He came on a bit towards the end of last season, but with some openings in the front-court, he has an opportunity to establish himself as an important big for Chris Holtmann. Yes
Meredith Hein Justice Sueing - after sitting out last season, the transfer forward can provide some much needed scoring and veteran leadership for the Buckeyes. Yes

Considering that Liddell ended up being first-team all conference, one might say that he was the biggest surprise of the season and that the win for this category belongs to me Tamanini, but Hein and Ross also had solid predictions, so I’ll call it a three-way tie.


Who will be the most valuable player who did not play for Ohio State last year and why?

Who will be the most valuable player who did not play for Ohio State last year and why?

Contributor Prediction Correct
Contributor Prediction Correct
Brett Ludwiczak Justice Sueing - He already has experience playing power conference basketball after starting his career at Cal, and will be able to step in and contribute immediately Yes
Connor Lemons Justice Sueing. Yes, but only partial credit because theire's no explanation
Dan Hessler Seth Towns because he could come in and instantly become a leader of this team. No
Gene Ross Jimmy Sotos. Ohio State was lacking in guard depth heading into the offseason, and the immediate eligibility of the veteran Bucknell transfer is huge for this team. No
Matt Tamanini Justice Sueing will give the Buckeyes a reliable scorer who can create his own shot, while not needing to have the ball in his hands all the time, or put up a ton of shots. Yes
Meredith Hein Seth Towns - replacing the Wessons will be a tall order, but Towns brings the mix of scoring ability and aggression to keep the Buckeyes on the right trajectory. No

I know that this is a subjective question, but I think Sueing is the obvious answer here. After sitting out the 2019-20 season following his transfer, he went for 10.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game as a starter from Day 1. So, Ludwiczak and Tamanini get full credit on this one, with Lemons — who can’t seem to follow directions — getting partial credit.


Who will be Ohio State’s MVP this season and why?

Who will be Ohio State’s MVP this season and why?

Contributor Prediction Correct
Contributor Prediction Correct
Brett Ludwiczak Seth Towns - He has shown he can be a game-changer and will be the glue that holds this young Ohio State team together No
Connor Lemons CJ Walker - Ohio State is thin on guards and he's going to play basically 40 minutes per night No
Dan Hessler Kyle Young as he is the backbone of this team. No
Gene Ross Kyle Young. As he was for most of last season, Young is the glue that keeps this team together. He brings a spark of energy with him that doesn't show up on the stat sheet, but is also a great scorer around the rim. No
Matt Tamanini CJ Walker. On a team with a very thin back-court, as the most veteran and experienced guard on the team, he will be asked to provide some continuity for a team with a lot of new pieces. No
Meredith Hein Kyle Young - he's entering his fourth season with the Buckeyes, and his veteran leadership will be invaluable in what will surely be a wacky season. No

We all wiffed on this one. Despite Liddell getting a lot of love in other categories, most of us thought that Walker’s veteran leadership would push him to be the team’s MVP... whoopsies.


What is your boldest, most out-of-left-field prediction for Ohio State this season?

What is your boldest, most out-of-left-field prediction for Ohio State this season?

Contributor Prediction Correct
Contributor Prediction Correct
Brett Ludwiczak Ohio State not only makes the NCAA Tournament, they make it to the Sweet 16 No
Connor Lemons The Buckeyes start 10-0 before losing to Minnesota on Jan. 3. No
Dan Hessler Chris Holtmann and Ohio State win the Big Ten Championship and make a run to the Elite 8. No
Gene Ross The team actually looks better without Kaleb Wesson. The three-point shooting big man was a great player for Ohio State, but the team relied on him to be their entire source of offense all too often. Spreading the ball around will lead to a more efficient scoring. Kind of
Matt Tamanini Ohio State will have five players make the All-Big Ten team. No
Meredith Hein Maybe they'll just win it all because we need something to look forward to in 2021 after the bullsh*t that was this year. No

Look, these were supposed to be long-shot predictions, which might account for why we were all (pretty much) wrong. However, I am going to give Gene partial credit on this, because while his prediction was about the team as a whole, he did focus on the offense, and there’s no denying that Ohio State’s scoring was infinitely better than it was last year; the defense... not so much. But Ross was in the ballpark, so, half-credit.


What place will Ohio State finish in the Big Ten?

What place will Ohio State finish in the Big Ten?

Place Percentage
Place Percentage
1 0%
2 0%
3 50%
4 12.50%
5 25%
6 12.50%
7 0%
8 0%
9 0%
10 0%
11 0%
12 0%
13 0%
14 0%

A quarter of our predictions ended up being correct, as Hein and Tamanini both picked the Buckeyes to finish fifth in the final, regular-season conference standings. Chris Holtmann’s team ended the season with a .600 winning percentage, just behind fourth place Purdue’s .684.


Who will win the Big Ten regular season?

Who will win the Big Ten regular season?

Contributor Prediction Correct
Contributor Prediction Correct
Brett Ludwiczak Illinois No, but probably would have if TTUN didn't cheat
Connor Lemons Illinois No, but see above
Dan Hessler Michigan State No
Gene Ross Iowa No
Matt Tamanini Illinois No, refer to first line
Meredith Hein Iowa No
Tia Johnston Michigan State No

The Mitten State Weasels technically finished the regular season with a 23-4 overall record, having gone 14-3 in the B1G. That was the best of the bunch, but they benefitted (at least statistically) from playing three fewer games than Illinois thanks to being shut down for three weeks due to COVID concerns.

The Fighting Hugh Jackmans only played each of the other top-5 teams in the conference one time apiece (they went 4-1 in those games, with their only loss coming in a 76-53 blowout to the Illini). I maintain that had they played their regularly scheduled games from Jan. 22 through Feb. 14, they would have fallen to second in the league. But, that’s just my completely biased opinion.


Who will be the Big Ten Player of the Year?

Who will be the Big Ten Player of the Year?

Contributor Prediction Correct
Contributor Prediction Correct
Brett Ludwiczak Luka Garza, Iowa Yes
Connor Lemons Luka Garza, Iowa Yes
Dan Hessler Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana Come on, Dan
Gene Ross Luka Garza, Iowa Yes
Matt Tamanini Luka Garza, Iowa Yes
Meredith Hein Luka Garza, Iowa Yes
Tia Johnston Luka Garza, Iowa Yes

That one was easy.


Who will be the Big Ten Coach of the Year?

Who will be the Big Ten Coach of the Year?

Contributor Prediction Correct
Contributor Prediction Correct
Brett Ludwiczak Brad Underwood, Illinois No
Connor Lemons Steve Pikiellm Rutgers No
Dan Hessler Fran McCaffery, Iowa No
Gene Ross Fran McCaffery, Iowa No
Matt Tamanini Brad Underwood, Illinois No
Meredith Hein Fran McCaffery, Iowa No
Tia Johnston Chris Holtmann, Ohio State No

Juwan Howard won. Who cares?


Who will be the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament?

Who will be the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament?

Contributor Prediction Correct
Contributor Prediction Correct
Brett Ludwiczak Gonzaga, Villanova, Kansas, Illinois 2 out of 4
Connor Lemons Gonzaga, Baylor, Illinois, UCLA 3 out of 4
Dan Hessler Gonzaga, Nova, Virginia, MSU 1 out of 4
Gene Ross Gonzaga, Villanova, Virginia, Kansas 1 out of 4
Matt Tamanini Gonzaga, Illinois, Baylor, Houston 3 out of 4
Meredith Hein Gonzaga, Virginia, Iowa, Villanova 1 out of 4

Connor and I both got three of the eventual four No. 1 seeds (Gonzaga, Baylor, Illinois, and Michigan) correct; obviously neither of us picked the Corn and Blue. If I wanted to be nitpicky about it, and create a tiebreaker, my fourth pick was No. 2 Houston, while his was No. 11 UCLA.

Yes, I know that the Bruins were one crazy ass buzzer-beater away playing for the title, but this question was about going into the tournament, not where they were at the end of March Madness. So, I think it would be far if I went ahead and claimed this category as a victory. But, I will be magnanimous and go ahead and say that both Lemons and I get a point.


Will Ohio State make the NCAA Tournament?

Hein, Hessler, Ludwiczak, Lemons, Ross, and Tamanini all got this one right... although maybe it would have been better if we hadn’t.


How will Ohio State’s season end?

We’re not going to talk about how the Buckeyes’ season ended. Next question.


Who will be the Naismith College Player of the Year?

Who will be the Naismith College Player of the Year?

Contributor Prediction Correct
Contributor Prediction Correct
Brett Ludwiczak Luka Garza, Iowa Yes
Connor Lemons Luka Garza, Iowa Yes
Dan Hessler Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State No
Gene Ross Joel Ayayi, Gonzaga No
Matt Tamanini Remy Martin, Arizona State No
Meredith Hein Luka Garza, Iowa Yes
Tia Johnston Luka Garza, Iowa Yes

Look, Dan, Gene, and I got creative, we were thinking outside of the box, trying to avoid going for the easy answer, but what this should remind you is that chalk is the safest bet in men’s basketball.


We here at LGHL tend to do these types of prediction articles before each football and men’s basketball seasons. However, normally we don’t keep a running tally of who got the most predictions correct. We note what we got wrong and what we got right, but we never turn it into some form of Cold Takes Exposed competition.

However... since I won the Buckeyes weren’t very competitive in the postseason, I figured I’d do the math and see who was the best prognosticator of the LGHL bunch. And oh, wouldn’t you know it? Our co-managing editor Matt Tamanini won going away with 10 correct predictions. Man oh man, that dude must be really smart.

Final Prediction Totals

Contributor Total Correct
Contributor Total Correct
Brett Ludwiczak 7
Connor Lemons 6.5
Dan Hessler 2
Gene Ross 6.5
Matt Tamanini 10
Meredith Hein 7
Tia Johnston 4