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You’re Nuts: Why isn’t the Ohio State men’s basketball team ranked?

The Buckeyes are 8-1, but to this point have not cracked the AP Top-25.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

For the second consecutive week, the Ohio State men’s basketball team received votes in the AP Top-25 poll, but not enough votes to actually get it into the top-25. It’s in the top-25 in both the NET rankings and KenPom rankings, but not AP. In the words of Brian Windhorst... now why is that?

We will revisit that shortly.

Last week, Connor and Justin looked ahead at Ohio State’s schedule and tried to figure out how long the Buckeyes’ current win streak would last. Fortunately for us, it’s been a week and the Buckeyes still have not lost. Justin said the win streak would hit eight games before losing to UCLA. Connor said the win streak would get to 12 games before losing to Indiana.

57% of the readers sided with Connor, thinking that a 12-game winning streak was more likely than an 8-game streak. The other 43% sided with Justin. We love the optimism!

After 129 weeks:

Connor- 61
Justin- 50
Other- 14

(There have been four ties)

After beating Minnesota Sunday night, most people expected to see Ohio State in the AP Poll Monday afternoon. However, the Buckeyes did not make the cut, winding up as the team with the second-most votes just outside the top-25. Why are the voters passing up the Buckeyes? Here are our thoughts:

Today’s Question: Why isn’t the Ohio State men’s basketball team ranked?


Connor: Skepticism after last year

NCAA Basketball: Emerald Coast Classic-Western Michigan at Ohio State Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

I guess it’s understandable that people might doubt Ohio State, considering how poorly they played last year and how heavily they are leaning on that very same core this year.

It’s easy to glaze over a team that’s shown themselves to be bad — I feel the same way about teams like South Carolina and Nebraska this year. The Gamecocks and Cornhuskers combined to go 27-37 last year combined, but this year they’re a combined 14-3. Will either South Carolina or Nebraska make the NCAA Tournament, despite their good starts?

Probably not. They were bad last year, brought back those same bad teams for the most part, and are most likely smoke and mirrors to this point. The numbers will even out, and the losses will come.

So, isn’t it reasonable for the AP voters to be skeptical of Ohio State? They did beat Alabama, but the Crimson Tide have lost again since then. If you own any Alabama stock, the time to sell it has already passed. Other than that, who have the Buckeyes really beaten?

The difference between Ohio State and these two other teams is that the metrics back the Buckeyes. Ohio State is No. 24 in KenPom, while South Carolina is No. 53 and Nebraska is No. 66. Ohio State is No. 25 in the NET rankings, while South Carolina is 29 (little suprised by this) and Nebraska is No. 79.

The Buckeyes are the second team outside of the poll this week, which means another Big Ten win, this one on the road, should be enough to push them into the top-25 next week. But until then, just know that the Buckeyes’ record last season is still following them around this year, and the bad taste left in the mouth of all these media folks is interfering with how they see this year’s team.


Justin: Strength of schedule

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Alabama Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know what the main thing the AP voters look at when it comes to ranking a team if I am being honest. Even though the Buckeyes are not ranked yet, they have made a huge jump since the beginning of the season, going from receiving no votes to now No. 27 in the nation.

The main reason they are not ranked yet, in my opinion, is their opponents and their strength of schedule. The teams of note they have played are Texas A&M, which was a loss, Alabama, which has since really struggled to do anything positive, and Minnesota, which is one of the bottom-level teams in the Big Ten, if not the worst (they did just beat Nebraska).

They have played three MAC schools that are not named Toledo, Akron, or Kent State, and even though Oakland has been pesky for some teams, they still are not viewed highly either

They play at Penn State, UCLA, New Orleans, and West Virginia to end the year, and if they can go 4-0 in that stretch, which is very possible, they will be a top-20 team in the country. It is also still only December, so the season is young.

It has been a while since the Buckeyes have been ranked after the disaster that was last season, and it would be nice to see a number next to their name. It is reassuring, because if you are ranked at the end of the season, you are almost guaranteed a top-six or seven seed.


Poll

Why isn’t the Ohio State men’s basketball team ranked?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Poor strength of schedule (Justin)
    (30 votes)
  • 56%
    Skepticism from last year (Connor)
    (39 votes)
69 votes total Vote Now