Senior Jae’Sean Tate will lead Ohio State back to the NCAA Tournament?

MADISON, WI - JANUARY 12: Jae'Sean Tate
MADISON, WI - JANUARY 12: Jae'Sean Tate /

Jae’Sean Tate was the leading scorer for Ohio State last season. He returns for his senior season, one that should be all-or-nothing.

The last time Ohio State missed consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances was in 2004 and in 2005… that was until now. New head coach Chris Holtmann is looking to right the ship after Thad Matta‘s 2016 and 2017 teams failed to pass the test of Selection Sunday.

Considerably younger than the 2016-2017 roster, the Buckeyes bring renewed hope to the Schottenstein Center. However, it’s the 22-year-old, senior forward, Jae’Sean Tate who holds much of the team’s stake in 2017-2018.

Tate stood-out among a lackluster Ohio State team last season. His team-leading 14.3 points and 1.1 steals per night made his 6-foot-4, 190 lbs frame a burden for defenders. When Tate gets to the basket he’s hard to stop. Tate shot 54.7-percent from the field last season and can be counted on for late-in-game baskets.

While the senior forward is a threat when he’s going towards the hoop, he’s struggled from the perimeter. In his Ohio State career, Tate’s shooting 26.3-percent from three, and shot just 22.2-percent last season, making just 8-of-36 from beyond the arc.

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For a 6-foot-4 forward, it’s incredibly important to shoot closer to 35-percent, especially when playing teams with greater interior strength and length.

This Buckeyes team is undersized as a whole. However, perhaps it will be the leadership of Tate that will help this team out-muscle their opposition. After all, the guy is physical enough to be a football player. 

Tate has a career 97.9 defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions), which is fairly good. His hands are quick, which lead to 15 blocks during the 2016-2017 season.

Perhaps Tate’s best contribution is the understanding of a winning culture. The last tournament appearance for the Buckeyes, in 2014-2015, Tate was the sixth-man, often sharing the floor with D’Angelo Russell in big moments.

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This Ohio State unit is understandably inexperienced; the new coach is a huge factor in that formula. However, having Tate on the floor is a huge weapon for a team in reload mode.