Ohio State Buckeyes Unanimous No. 1

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Talk about pressure — the Ohio State Buckeyes are undefeated, top-ranked and in a decent position to end the regular season without a loss. Naturally, they’re also ripe for the picking, with several key games remaining including three road games against league opponents who are ranked in the Top 25.

For now, the Buckeyes are savoring every moment of the season including its heart-stopping 58 to 57 victory at Northwestern on Friday night. Jared Sullinger hit both free throws with 3.5 seconds remaining to hold off the Wildcats who are by no means the most threatening opponent on the OSU schedule this year.

Top Seeds

If the season were to end right now, Ohio State would be joined by Kansas, Texas and Pitt as the top seeds with Duke tumbling to second following a surprisingly poor performance at St. John’s this past Saturday. In that game, the Blue Devils fell behind by 50 to 25, eventually losing 93 to 78 to one of the Big East Conference’s middle-of-the-road teams.

Also taking a spill this week were the San Diego State Aztecs, losing to the Brigham Young Cougars 71 to 58, for its first loss of the season. San Diego and BYU are ranked No. 7 and No. 8 respectively in the AP Top 25 poll, Mountain West members who are holding the conference banner up high.

Home Stretch

Among the other notables as the college basketball season head’s down the home stretch:

  • The Big East Conference continues to show how strong it is, securing eight of the 25 spots. As competitive as the league is, it hasn’t offered up a Final Four winner since UConn won the national championship in 2004.
  • Besides San Diego State, there are no other mid-level schools on the national scene who are making a lot of noise this year. Yes, BYU plays in the same conference, but like UNLV has the “cred” the Aztecs crave are now receiving.
  • Tennessee will be retiring Allan Houston’s number (20) when the Volunteers face LSU this weekend. Houston remains the all-time leading scorer for the Vols and played 12 years in the NBA, the last nine with the New York Knicks. Houston is currently serving as the assistant general manager of the Knicks.
  • This year, the NCAA tournament expands to 68 teams with four play-in games before the official “round of 64” begins. That move follows on rumors of the tournament being expanded to 128 teams and with the NCAA openly discussing inviting 96 teams.  Some 31 teams are automatic qualifiers should they win their conference tournament with the Ivy League winner also qualifying though the conference does not host a tournament.

We’ll be offering expanded men’s basketball coverage down the stretch and all throughout the conference tournaments and the Road to the Final Four.

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