Michigan State’s stay at No. 1 in the college basketball rankings will likely last only one week.
Only six days after being named the top team in the country in the AP and coaches polls, the Spartans suffered their second loss of the season, 80-64, at the hands of unranked Ohio State on the road in Columbus. They are the fourth team inside this week’s AP top 10 to go down since Saturday, and the 10th Top 25 team which puts a bow on a truly wacky weekend in college hoops.
It’s fair to call this one an upset, but equally fair to note that this type of result has become the norm for the Buckeyes hoops program, with eight wins over AP No. 1 teams when unranked.
Ohio State: 8 wins vs AP No. 1 team when unranked, most in the AP Poll era
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 7, 2018
Led by Big Ten leading scorer Keita Bates-Diop who finished with a career-high 32 points on 12-of-21 shooting, the Buckeyes dug Sparty into a hole late in the first half, using a 12-0 run to end the first frame to build a lead they would never relinquish for the remainder of the game.
Perhaps the surprise of the Big Ten thus far, new coach Chris Holtmann has his Buckeyes out to a 4-0 jump in league play with wins over MSU, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa. And on Sunday, they were able to get No. 4 to improve to 13-4 on the season behind a committee approach on offense, as four players finished with double figures. Equally impressive in the victory was OSU’s ability to take care of the ball; it won turnover battle 12-6, and no Buckeye committed more than one miscue.
Ohio State won’t play another ranked opponent in Big Ten play for the remainder of January, which could pave the way for the Buckeyes to maintain their standing atop the league race.