PISCATAWAY, N.J. — After the Ohio State men's basketball team put itself in the national consciousness with a convincing win against No. 1 Michigan State on Jan. 7, coach Chris Holtmann addressed something with his players.
Facing the possibility of being ranked in The Associated Press top 25 for the first time in three years, Holtmann told them that outside perception was likely to change.
“There’s a lot left to be played, but we will talk about the fact that we’re going to have some people who are going to play with a different edge, probably,” he said after Sunday’s win at Rutgers. “That doesn’t matter. We’ll see if we’re good enough to manage that.”
It took one week longer than expected, but the Buckeyes have finally gotten there, entering the AP poll on Monday at No. 22.
When Ohio State travels to Northwestern on Wednesday night, it will play as a ranked team for the first time since March 8, 2015, against Wisconsin. That team was ranked No. 23 and eventually reached the NCAA Tournament before losing in the second round.
After receiving 29 points in last week’s poll to finish 29th, Ohio State received 276 points in the poll on Monday. These are the only two weeks so far this season that the Buckeyes have received any votes.
Ohio State had played 90 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, encompassing the end of Jim O’Brien’s tenure and the start of Thad Matta’s 13 seasons as coach.
At 15-4 overall and 6-0 in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes are tied with Purdue atop the conference standings.
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