Beating the No. 1 (now-No. 3) team in the country probably would’ve been enough to get back into the AP Top-25 after two weeks out of it. But just to be safe, the No. 21 Ohio State Buckeyes went on the road last night and beat Penn State as well, 76-64. With those two victories under their belt, Ohio State (6-2, 1-0) made the jump from “also receiving votes” to No. 21 in the AP Poll this week, just behind No. 20 Florida and in front of No. 22 Wisconsin, who they will see this weekend.
After debuting at No. 17 in the initial poll, losses to Xavier and Florida — plus close calls against Niagara and Akron at home — caused the Buckeyes to tumble out of the poll altogether. But their supporting cast, not just E.J. Liddell, powered them to their two massive wins this past week.
Against Duke it was Cedric Russell — who entered the game averaging 0.8 PPG in six minutes per contest — who got it done. Russell scored 12 points last Monday night, boosting the Buckeyes to a 71-66 win over the Blue Devils.
Ohio State’s road game at Penn State (4-4, 0-1) was set up to be a potential letdown or “trap” game — the very next game after beating Duke, plus it was on the road somewhere the Buckeyes have struggled recently. But on a night when Liddell was relatively human (14 points on 4-of-9 shooting), it was Kyle Young who shined the brightest. Young scored 16 points to go along with 7 rebounds and a block in Ohio State’s 76-64 win last night.
Ohio State has two home games this week vs Towson (KenPom No. 177) and No. 22 Wisconsin. A 2-0 week would help them ascend a bit higher in next week’s poll.
Three other Big Ten teams were included in the poll. They are: No. 1 Purdue, No. 19 Michigan State, and No. 22 Wisconsin.
You can check out the full poll here:
Week 5 AP Poll