Continuing their impressive start to the season and now 9-0 (1-0 in the Big Ten), the Ohio State Buckeyes once again moved up in the latest AP Top 25, this time climbing three spots to No. 3 in this week’s rankings, their highest ranking of the Chris Holtmann era to date. Considering their dominance over North Carolina and Penn State this past week, the rise in the rankings was expected, it was just a matter of how far they would move up.
To say that the Buckeyes have done a great job on the hardwood so far this season would be quite an understatement. They have already beaten both No. 17 North Carolina (on the road) and No. 20 Villanova (at home) by 25 points while making it look easy against the two ranked opponents. Ohio State has also taken care of Cincinnati and Penn State as well, two teams that could very well make the NCAA Tournament in March. Oh, and the scarlet and gray also beat No. 1 Louisville in a closed-doors scrimmage prior to the season as well.
Led by the Buckeyes, the Big Ten has four teams in the top 25, including three of the top-5 programs: Ohio State, Maryland (No. 4), Michigan (5), and Michigan State (16). Purdue is knocking on the door coming in at No. 28 this week. The Buckeyes might currently be No. 3, but they actually have the second-most first-place votes in the rankings. Louisville leads the way with 55, but Ohio State has five, while No. 2 Kansas only has four.
Along with moving up in the AP Poll, Ohio State also found itself rising in ESPN’s latest power rankings as well, climbing two spots to No. 2 this week.
This stat, from Hoop Vision’s Jordan Sperber on Twitter, sums up how good Ohio State has been so far this season: Ohio State has three 20-point wins against top-50 KenPom teams; the rest of the country has three total. (Penn State dropped to No. 26 on Sunday, but the point stands.) The Buckeyes have been dominating teams this season, beating North Carolina by 25 in Chapel Hill, followed by a 32-point home win over the Nittany Lions. Chris Holtmann has settled into mostly an eight-man rotation in which everybody seems to understand their role; the Buckeyes have a little bit of everything and might be the most impressive team in college basketball this season.
Looking ahead, the Bucks will take on No. 8 Kentucky as part of the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas on Saturday, December 21. The Wildcats will offer Ohio State yet another major test out of the conference.