Ohio State men's basketball: Chris Holtmann, Buckeyes have earned a No. 1 ranking

Adam Jardy
The Ohio State men's basketball team is No. 1 in the country in the NCAA’s newly introduced NET rankings, which will replace the RPI as the primary sorting tool for the NCAA Tournament selection committee. [Kyle Robertson]

Ohio State’s undefeated start to the men’s college basketball season has continued to impress those who vote in the Associated Press weekly poll. Now, it’s also caught the attention of some important computers, too, and in a big way.

On the same day that the Buckeyes climbed to No. 16 in the AP top 25 poll, they were also introduced as the nation’s top team — yes, No. 1 in the country — in the NCAA’s newly introduced NET rankings that will replace the RPI as the primary sorting tool for the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

Known as the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET, for short) the formula “relies on game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency, and the quality of wins and losses” according to the website. Ohio State is 6-0 and has two true road wins: at Cincinnati and at Creighton. 

It’s obviously early. These rankings will change significantly between now and March, and coach Chris Holtmann affirmed that to The Dispatch.

“Obviously small sample size,” he said. “Long way to go for us as a group. Trying to improve and prepare our best for this brutal stretch ahead of us.”

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Ohio State hosts Syracuse on Wednesday night as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The Orange received eight points in this week’s poll, making them No. 37 in the country, and are 3-2 overall with losses to Connecticut and Oregon, both on neutral courts.

Ohio State will then host Minnesota on Sunday for its Big Ten opener and go to Chicago for a game against Illinois at the United Center on Dec. 5. The Golden Gophers are 5-0 while the Fighting Illini are 2-4.

The Buckeyes did not receive any votes in the first two AP polls of the season but climbed into the top 25 last week at No. 23. This week, they improved seven spots for their highest ranking since they were No. 13 at the conclusion of the 2017-18 regular season.

Ohio State is the fourth Big Ten team in the top 25, behind Michigan (No. 7), Michigan State (9) and Iowa (14). Purdue (19), Wisconsin (22) and Maryland (24) give the Big Ten seven of the top 25 teams.


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