The expectations have been slowly climbing for Chris Holtmann’s Ohio State Buckeyes men’s basketball team. Following two years of overachieving and not only making the NCAA Tournament, but winning a game in each of the two seasons, fans have legitimate reasons to think that the 2019-20 edition has the ability to break through and further cement its place towards the top of the Big Ten Conference and in the hierarchy of college basketball nationally.
On Monday, the Associated Press released its preseason men’s basketball poll and the Buckeyes will tip off the season next month as the No. 18 team in the country. B1G foe Michigan State tops to list with 60 of the 65 first-place votes.
Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, and Louisville round out the top five. The only other B1G schools in the initial rankings are No. 7 Maryland and No. 23 Purdue. Illinois (14) and Michigan (2) are also receiving votes.
While a smaller than normal group of conference opponents are in the Top 25, other Buckeye opponents are on the list. Ohio State will open the season on Nov. 6 against Cincinnati, who is receiving votes, and then a week later will host Villanova who is opening the season at No. 10.
On Dec. 4 in the Big Ten/ACC
Shootout Challenge Whatever, OSU will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. to play the Tar Heels who will start the season at No. 9. Then just a few days before Christmas, OSU will play the Kentucky Wildcats on Dec. 21 in Las Vegas. As mentioned before, Big Blue enters the season just one spot behind Sparty.
If Ohio State can split these four non-conference games while taking care of business against the rest of the lineup, it should prove to be an important boost as they head into Big Ten play (OSU will actually play Penn State and Minnesota in early December before taking on Kentucky, but you know what I mean).
Check out the entire AP Poll:
AP Men’s Basketball Poll | Oct. 21
|1||Michigan State Michigan State||Big Ten||1,619(60)|
|3||Kansas Kansas||Big 12||1,457(3)|
|7||Maryland Maryland||Big Ten||1,134|
|8||Gonzaga Gonzaga||West Coast||1,096|
|9||North Carolina North Carolina||ACC||1,060|
|10||Villanova Villanova||Big East||1,048|
|12||Seton Hall Seton Hall||Big East||863|
|13||Texas Tech Texas Tech||Big 12||837|
|14||Memphis Memphis||American Athletic Conference (AAC)||773|
|16||Baylor Baylor||Big 12||523|
|17||Utah State Utah State||Mountain West||491|
|18||Ohio State Ohio State||Big Ten||407|
|19||Xavier Xavier||Big East||356|
|20||Saint Mary's (Cal) Saint Mary's (Cal)||West Coast||330|
|23||Purdue Purdue||Big Ten||230|
|25||VCU VCU||Atlantic 10||193|