On Sunday night, coach Tom Izzo played the part of gracious loser and soothsayer at Value City Arena. Not long after Ohio State handed his No. 1 Michigan State team a 16-point loss, Izzo was dissecting what happened when he came to a thought about the Buckeyes.

“As (Michigan State assistant coach) Dwayne Stephens says, ‘Welcome to being good,’ ” Izzo said. “This is what’s going to happen every night. It’ll happen to Ohio State now, too. They’ll get ranked and deservingly should be.”

Neither his words nor the win could will it into existence, though. At 13-4 overall, 4-0 in the Big Ten and a winner of seven of its past eight, Ohio State received votes for the first time all season but does not appear in the new Associated Press top 25 poll released today.

Entering Monday, the Buckeyes had not received a single vote in the poll this season. This week, they had 29 points in the poll, which puts them 29th in the country. They landed a few votes during the first six weeks of last season.

Ohio State has played 88 straight games as an unranked team, the program’s longest since a 101-game stretch that started Nov. 25, 2002, and ended Dec. 17, 2005, that encompassed the end of Jim O’Brien’s tenure and the start of Thad Matta’s 13 seasons as coach.

Ohio State is 5-4 against top-100 teams according to KenPom.com and 2-4 against teams in the top 50. The combined national ranking of its opponents in four losses is 18.5, and the Buckeyes have not losses outside of the top 40.

They are ranked No. 26 in the RPI with the 17th-toughest schedule in college basketball.

Coach Chris Holtmann fielded questions after the game on every topic from making the NCAA Tournament to winning the Big Ten this season. Every time, he tried to rein in the focus to the present and wouldn’t look any further than Thursday’s home game against Maryland.

“There’s so much to be played,” he said. “I do think you look around college basketball, it’s hard to win on the road so while this is an incredible win there’s a lot of teams in the top five or 10 that can lose on the road. I don’t think anybody’s ready to crown or give us anything. We will remind our guys of the importance of a mature growth-minded approach. As boring as that sounds, that’s going to be required. Certainly when you have a win like this it does maybe alert more people.

“Listen, if we’re not good enough to handle that then we’ll find out.”

Michigan State fell to No. 4 with the loss.



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