Better late than never, but never late is better.
It took two weeks into the season to do so this time around, but the Ohio State Buckeyes are finally ranked in both the AP Poll, debuting at No. 23 after a perfect 4-0 start to their season. Among those four wins are two big road wins at Cincinnati and Creighton. The two programs may not be ranked, but winning on the road is key, especially against opponents like that. It was a huge resume builder early on in the season.
Voters and media members haven’t learned their lesson about Chris Holtmann’s Buckeyes yet, obviously. During the head coach’s first season at Ohio State in 2018-19, the scarlet and gray were projected by many to be one of the worst teams in the Big Ten. They not only finished as one of the best teams in the conference but advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as well. It took until the 11th week of the last season before Ohio State made their first appearance in the AP Poll.
Although they lost players such as Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate, among others this season, Holtmann’s squad still shouldn’t have been doubted. Yet, they were again. Not only were they not ranked to start the year but they were once again projected by media members to finish in the bottom half of the Big Ten.
In just the third week of the college basketball season, it seems as though Ohio State has not only silenced the doubters but have already proven them wrong—again. Much like last season, this year’s squad had plenty of questions surrounding them going into the season. While they may not have much depth, it’s clear that Holtmann is at least getting the best out of his guys.
Along with the Buckeyes, there are five other Big Ten teams who are ranked: No. 9 Michigan, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 20 Iowa, No. 24 Purdue, No. 25 Wisconsin. The Wolverines made by far the biggest jump in the poll after dominating Villanova.1 The conference is deep and will prove to be a very tough conference slate for Ohio State once that part of the season rolls around.
If it hasn’t been made clear already, no one should ever doubt Holtmann’s Buckeyes. While it’s still early, they have already put the college basketball world on notice. Now, they just have to continue to develop and gain some chemistry in order for their success to continue this season.
- The Wildcats completely fell out of the rankings after they were a top-10 team last week. [↩]