In the final week of the regular season, the Ohio State Buckeyes beat then-No. 23 Illinois, 71-63, on Senior Night and then fell to then-No. 16 Michigan State, 80-69, on the Spartans’ Senior Day. Given that they split the two games, the scarlet and gray stayed at No. 19 in the final Associated Press Top 25 of the regular season.
Although a higher ranking would certainly be nice, the fact that Ohio State finished the regular season in the top 20 is quite impressive given that they lost six games in a seven-game stretch in January. They answered that by winning nine of their final 12 games to conclude the regular season and get back in the hunt for a top-4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. After falling out of the rankings in January, this is the fifth straight week the Buckeyes have been ranked.
While Penn State and Michigan both fell out of the top 25, the Big Ten still has plenty of teams in the rankings. Along with the Buckeyes, there are five teams representing the conference: Michigan State (No. 9), Maryland (12), Wisconsin (18), Illinois (21), and Iowa (25). The Spartans made the biggest jump in the rankings, climbing seven spots into the top 10. After starting the season as the No. 1 team in the country, Michigan State went unranked in mid-February after losing four games in a five-game stretch. With their four straight wins over ranked opponents to close out the regular season, Sparty showed just how good they are. While the Wolverines and Nittany Lions are now not ranked, they are just outside the top 25, at No. 29 and No. 30, respectively.
With yet another crazy week of basketball that saw multiple top-10 teams lose last week, Kansas was once again the unanimous No. 1 team in the rankings, receiving all 65 first-place votes from the AP. Gonzaga, Dayton, Florida State, and Baylor round out the top 5.
In a jam-packed and very good Big Ten conference that will likely have 10 or 11 teams make the NCAA Tournament, the Buckeyes are the No. 7 seed in the conference tournament after finishing the Big Ten season with an 11-9 record in the conference. Ohio State will take on No. 10 seed Purdue in the second round of the Big Ten tournament, with tipoff set for 6:30 p.m. ET in Indianapolis Thursday night. The winner will then face No. 2 seed Michigan State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament Friday night.
— Big Ten Men's Hoops (@B1GMBBall) March 9, 2020
Depending on how they do in the Big Ten Tournament, the Buckeyes will likely be picked as a No. 4-6 seed when the March Madness bracket us revealed on Selection Sunday.