The Ohio State men’s basketball team hasn’t been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 since 2015. With new head coach Chris Holtmann, some expected for it to stay that way for another season— possibly even longer. But then Sunday’s upset victory over the previously No. 1 Michigan State Spartans happened. Many thought the drought would be over. Many thought wrong.
To say that Holtmann’s Buckeyes have surprised the college basketball world this season would be an understatement. Sunday afternoon, the Buckeyes shocked the everyone, stunning the Spartans to upset the top-ranked team in the country. Despite the upset, a solid resume through 17 games, a victory over That Team Up North, and a first-place tie with Purdue in the Big Ten standings, Ohio State still (somehow) didn’t make the newest AP Top 25, which was released Monday afternoon.
With a perfect 4-0 record in the Big Ten, including beating the Spartans, who are arguably the conference’s best team, Ohio State has already had quite a season. They are 13-4 overall, but three of their four losses have coming against teams ranked in the Top 25: No. 15 Gonzaga, No. 19 Clemson, and No. 20 North Carolina. Their other loss came against Butler, who will be in NCAA Tournament contention come March.
Following their loss in Columbus, Michigan State fell from No. 1 to No. 4, falling behind Villanova, West Virginia, and Virginia. The Spartans and Purdue Boilermakers (No. 5) are the only two Big Ten teams who made the Top 25 this week. With a weak Big Ten this season, Ohio State has the opportunity to not only rack up wins, but to also compete for the conference title.
While the Buckeyes remained unranked, kudos to The Tennessean’s Joe Rexrode, who put Ohio State at No. 20 in his latest AP poll, the highest they were ranked by any voters. 13 other writers had the Bucks in the Top 25, but it just wasn’t enough.
Luckily for Ohio State, there’s plenty of season left to prove to voters the scarlet and gray men’s team is the real deal. Their next opportunity of proving such is Thursday night, when they host Maryland.