After dominating Indiana and taking care of business against Illinois, the Ohio State Buckeyes jumped from No. 17 to No. 14 in the latest Associated Press Top 25, the second-highest ranking they have had this season. The scarlet and gray were No. 13 two weeks ago before losing a heartbreaker to Penn State, one where the Nittany Lions hit a buzzer-beater from far beyond the arc in what could be one of the best endings to a game all season.
Currently 20-5 (11-1 in the Big Ten), the Buckeyes seem to be in control of their own destiny in terms of the NCAA Tournament. Now, they are essentially just playing for where they will be seeded on Selection Sunday. In his latest Bracketology, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Ohio State slated as the No. 4-seed in the South region. The other top teams in that region are No. 1-seed Virginia, No. 2-seed Auburn, No. 3-seed Cincinnati, and No. 5-seed Wichita State. Keep in mind, you can now bet on the Buckeyes to win the national championship if you are feeling inclined to do so and have so money burning a hole in your pocket.
Ohio isn’t known as much of a basketball state, but with three teams in the top 14, the state seems to be well represented in college basketball. Xavier (No. 5) and Cincinnati (No. 6) join the Buckeyes in representing the state of Ohio in the AP Top 25.
There are also four Big Ten teams in the Top 25. Along with Ohio State, Purdue (No. 3), Michigan State (No. 4), and Michigan (No. 20) are ranked. The conference seems to be in a down year, but with four ranked teams, the top of the Big Ten seems to be doing just fine.
The Buckeyes face arguably their toughest test of the season Wednesday night, when they travel to West Lafayette to take on No. 3 Purdue. One of the best defensive teams in the country, the Boilermakers also average 84 points a game. Mackey Arena is always a tough place to play, but it’s even tougher given how good Purdue is this season. At 23-2 (12-0) in the Big Ten, the Boilermakers are just one game ahead of the Buckeyes in the conference standings. Unfortunately, it’s their only meeting of the season, but it may be one that decides who wins the Big Ten regular season title with just three weeks to go in the regular season.
Their game against Purdue will not only give Ohio State a chance to prove that they are the real deal (again), but it will be a great resume-builder, along with tying them atop the Big Ten with the Boilermakers. Tip off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET Wednesday night in West Lafayette.