Ohio State Basketball Team Earns Top Rank
It took nearly four years for the Ohio State Buckeyes to climb back up to the top. Duke lost its stronghold to the Gators mid-week, and left an opening that Ohio State had been waiting to claim against Penn State.
All major polls now grant the Buckeyes their No. 1 spot.
But the Ohio State Basketball team was not focused on the No. 1 ranking.
According to their freshman powerhouse center, there was no looking back. All of the focus following the game was on the Wednesday night match against Iowa.
Coach Thad Matta gave a nod for the accomplishment but wanted to keep eyes on the ultimate goal. His thrill is to see the team back at this point for the second time in just a handful of years. He is proud to see that his school is one of the rare few who have been able to rise to this level. Prior to gaining the top spot in Spring '07, the Buckeyes had not done so in over four decades.
Among '07 team veterans, Senior David Lighty is the only one with history on the top spot. Matta, unconcerned with the new data, expressed certainty that his players have enough experience to continue the streak and secure the additional wins they need.
Given their perfect winning record, Ohio State has nearly the highest accumulation of victories at this point in the season, compared to the existing legacy of the institution. The early '60s were the last years the Buckeyes came close to this stage.
As of the first AP poll of the season, the Buckeyes were fourth. The team climbed up to No. 2 in the 4th week of the poll after Michigan State, and KS fell from 2nd and 3rd respectively, around Thanksgiving.
Though they acknowledged that they aim to earn their continuing rank. Senior Jon Diebler feels that their talent merits their current status. He admits that achieving the No. 1 level will require consistent and ongoing discipline, and that discipline is what will continue to be where they concentrate.
To stay where they are, the cohesive Ohio State team must keep getting better. Their four most recent games are the only ones of the season that didn't break the double-digit end score differential.
Mid-week, the challenge continues against Iowa. Matta said he knows the polls become irrelevant once his players begin their warm-ups. He feels the way the team does, that the ranking is not what scores the points. He believes that honoring the ranking is what does that.