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Ohio St. Third In SB Nation's Extremely Premature 2012 NCAA Basketball Ranking

The guys over at SB Nation are having a hard time letting go of the 2011 NCAA College Basketball season. So instead of face the harsh reality of six-odd months without collegiate hoops, they're skipping right ahead to next year. They came out with their pre-pre-preseason top-ten, and they have the Ohio St. Buckeyes third.

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These Buckeyes already missed their best chance at a title: this year, with Jon Diebler and David Lighty set to knock down open threes after defenses collapsed on Jared Sullinger, Ohio State was as unstoppable as it is likely to get. But Sullinger's return blunts the loss of Diebler and Lighty, both seniors and graduates, and a strong recruiting class should provide depth behind a starting five that will still be good enough to delight Along the Olentangy. The maturation of Aaron Craft is probably the Buckeyes' most important summer task, but asking a near-elite point guard to get better — Craft decimated George Mason with 15 assists — is not a bad position to be in. If Sullinger can improve, too, Ohio State might be a No. 1 seed for next year's March Madness, and their second-best chance at a title could turn out a bit better than their first.

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Of course, that is assuming that Sullinger makes good on his promise to return, and other impact underclassmen elect not to test the Draft waters as well. But I suppose it's never too early to start dreaming.

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Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.