It’s a good time to be an Ohio State Buckeye. While the football team continues to dominate on the gridiron, the basketball team is moving their way up the polls as well. In the latest AP Poll, the basketball Buckeyes checked in at No. 16, climbing two spots from their previous No. 18 ranking in the preseason AP Top 25.
The scarlet and gray began the season the same way they did in 2018, by beating in-state foe Cincinnati. This time, it was in Columbus, but it was the same result as the Buckeyes beat the Bearcats, 64-56, in a game that Ohio State didn’t even score until over eight minutes into the game. Then came the second game of the year, when the Buckeyes dominate UMass Lowell, 76-56, in a game that was expected to be a blowout. It has been a team effort so far, as eight players are averaging at least seven points per game while and 10 have played in at least 12 minutes a game.
With a 2-0 record, the Associated Press voters thought it was good enough to move the Buckeyes up the polls. Ohio State is joined by only two other Big Ten teams: Michigan State (No. 3), Maryland (7). Purdue is the only other team in the conference even receiving any votes and they dropped out of the rankings after losing to Texas in their second game of the season.
The Spartans were previously No. 1 in the preseason poll but after losing to Kentucky to open the season. The Wildcats are now atop the rankings. Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State, Louisville, and Kansas round out the top five. Kentucky (64 first-place votes) and Louisville (1) are the only teams receiving any first-place votes.
Looking ahead, the Buckeyes will host No. 10 Villanova Wednesday night in a marquee non-conference matchup. Although Ohio State will be without lone senior Andre Wesson (broken left eye socket), they have enough talent to be able to pull off a top-10 win, one that would be huge for their resume once March is here. The Bucks will also play against No. 6 North Carolina and No. 1 Kentucky prior to the Big Ten season as well. You could say it’s a loaded out-of-conference gauntlet for Ohio State this season, but it will only help get this team ready for when it matters most.