After barely escaping a potential upset against Bucknell, the Ohio State Buckeyes remained No. 15 in the latest men’s basketball AP poll, their highest ranking of the season. Once again, it seems as though head coach Chris Holtmann’s squad has been undervalued and surprised many across the college football world. Their No. 15 ranking proves just that.
In their lone game of the week given the fact that it was a week full of finals for the student-athletes, the Buckeyes seemed to have still either been focused on their finals or looking ahead to winter break Saturday afternoon against Bucknell, at least for some of the game.
Holding a 37-25 lead with four minutes to go in the first half, the scarlet and gray hit cruise control, allowing the Bison to close the half on a 15-2 run to take a one-point lead into the break. Luckily, Ohio State woke up a bit in the second half to secure the win, even if it was ugly at times. Kaleb Wesson (22 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block) filled up the stat sheet and led Ohio State, much like he has all season.
Joining the Buckeyes in the top 25 are six other Big Ten teams: No. 5 Michigan, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 16 Wisconsin, No. 22 Indiana, No. 23 Iowa, and No. 25 Nebraska. Whether it’s due to the Wolverines’ dominance early on, having two top-10 teams, or totaling six ranked teams, it’s clear that Big Ten is one of the best conferences in college basketball. That means it will be a fun (and tough) conference season for Ohio State. With that said, it will prepare the Buckeyes for March, even if they struggle at times throughout the Big Ten season, one that will prove to be a grind week in and week out.
Ohio State has just three non-conference games remaining this season: Tuesday vs. Youngstown State, Saturday vs. UCLA, and December 29 vs. High Point.
The Buckeyes have surprised many so far. They will have an even better opportunity to do so once conference season tips off, which will be sooner rather than later.