Buckeyes will take a step back
Ohio State isn't devoid of talent, but a return to the Final Four is unlikely
Leading up to Midnight Madness in October, ESPN Insider's "Countdown to Madness" series is previewing the top five seeds in each of the four regions in Joe Lunardi's preseason 2013 NCAA bracket. To read about the key stats and freshman impact for each team as the previews are published, plus get expert predictions from Jay Bilas, Fran Fraschilla and Lunardi, click here. This is the entry for the Ohio State Buckeyes, No. 4 in the Midwest (Indianapolis).
The key: Lockdown defense
Stat to know: 59.8
Having one of the nation's best individual defenders back for another season is a fine place to start. But Aaron Craft obviously can't defend a whole team by himself, and it's Ohio State's continued emphasis on solid possession-by-possession defense, with contributions from everybody, that has helped make Thad Matta's Buckeyes so stingy on that end of the floor.
To read the full 2012-13 Ohio State preview, including the Buckeyes' season outlook from Fran Fraschilla, you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- Sources: Baylor, Buffs lead 8-team tipoff event
- Green Bay coach to keep job after investigation
- DePaul grants Kirk permission to seek transfer
- Coach K calls Team USA 'ultimate honor'
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider CBB content
• Gasaway/Rankin: Indiana Hoosiers
• Gasaway/Rankin: Michigan Wolverines
• Gasaway/Rankin: Ohio State Buckeyes
• Greenberg/Finkelstein: Memphis Tigers
• Gasaway/Rankin: Florida Gators
• Greenberg/Telep: Kentucky Wildcats
• Gasaway/Finkelstein: Louisville Cardinals
• Gasaway/Finkelstein: Syracuse Orange
• Greenberg/Biancardi: NC State Wolfpack
• Biancardi/Gasaway: Duke Blue Devils
• Biancardi/Gasaway: North Carolina Tar Heels
• Biancardi/Gasaway: Arizona Wildcats
• Greenberg/Telep: UCLA Bruins
• Lunardi: Could Louisville repeat as champs?
• Greenberg: UVA tops list of surprise teams
• Fraschilla: How returning stars can improve
• Gasaway: Top title challengers to Kentucky
• Lunardi: Who will earn No. 1 seeds in 2014?
• Telep: Latest on No. 13 junior Theo Pinson
• Rankin: What Wiggins means for Kansas
• Biancardi: KU to prep Wiggins for NBA success
• Telep: Updated look at top recruits
• Roundtable: Most impressive on AAU circuit?
• Ford: NBA draft lottery preview
• Ford: Winners from the NBA draft combine
• Fraschilla: Burke the draft's top point guard?
• Ford: Measurements concern some GMs
• Ford: Why Wiggins would go No. 1 in 2013
Jay Bilas Blog
Jay's take on latest from around the nation
Analysis from Fraschilla, Greenberg and Lunardi
Get news and rumblings before anyone
Hollinger's College PER
College basketball's top players
Get wagering advice for every game