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Ohio State ranked in AP poll for first time in three years

By BILL LANDIS • Jan 15, 2018 at 10:09 PM

COLUMBUS — Turns out Ohio State's expected appearance in the Associated Press college basketball poll was just delayed a week.

The Buckeyes checked in at No. 22 this week, their first appearance in the AP top 25 since the final week of the 2014-15 regular season. So Ohio State went nearly three years between top-25 appearances.

Ohio State, which has won five straight and 10 of its last 11 games, looked poised to crack the rankings last week after it beat then-No. 1 Michigan State 80-64, but instead the Buckeyes appeared on just 14 of 65 ballots and were unofficially No. 29 in the AP poll. They also were unranked in the coaches poll.

The Buckeyes (15-4, 6-0 Big Ten) are tied for first place in the Big Ten with Purdue (17-2, 6-0), which is ranked No. 3 this week.

The Buckeyes are also No. 22 in this week's coaches poll.

Ohio State is ranked No. 16 in the KenPom efficiency ratings, and No. 22 in RPI -- two numbers that matter much more for its NCAA Tournament chances than any ranking in any poll. Still, this is further proof of the Buckeyes exceeding expectations in their first year under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

The Buckeyes play next at 9 p.m. Wednesday night at Northwestern (BTN).

Bates-Diop named Big Ten Player of the Week

COLUMBUS — Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop is starting to make Big Ten Player of the Week nods a regular occurrence.

The junior earned the honor again on Monday -- for the second straight week and the third time this season -- after averaging 23 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in wins over Maryland and Rutgers.

Bates-Diop is the Big Ten's leading scorer, and seems to be the current front-runner for Big Ten Player of the Year. He's averaging 23.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in Big Ten play, and has scored at least 20 points in his last four games.

Bates-Diop is 14 points away from 1,000 for his career and eight rebounds away from 500.

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