COLUMBUS – Number one teams beware; the Buckeyes have your number.
Well, nobody wins every game against the nation’s top team, but the Buckeyes do it almost as many times as they don’t. In the 21 times that the Buckeyes have played the No. 1 team in the Associated Press rankings, the No. 1 team has tasted defeat in 10 of those games.
Duke found that out on Tuesday night as the Buckeyes handed the Blue Devils a 71-66 loss in Mike Krzyzewski’s final trip to Ohio State.
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Ohio State through the years has a 47.6-percent winning percentage against the nation’s top teams but when you look at Ohio State being unranked going into the game and the Buckeyes have won seven of the last nine, only with losses to North Carolina (2007) and Illinois (2005) on the record.
Ohio State is 1-2 when the Buckeyes are ranked and taking on the nation’s top team, with the lone win coming in 2007 when No. 2 Ohio State beat No. 1 Wisconsin in a 49-48 tilt (more on that in a moment).
With Purdue sitting at No. 2 in the rankings at the moment, could the Buckeyes be looking at another No. 1 opponent on January 30th at Mackey Arena? Kentucky sits in the top-10 as well with a much closer date of December 18th as part of the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas.
But there is a long way to go between now and either of those games and the Buckeyes should find themselves ranked in the next release of the poll, but a win at Penn State on Sunday would help that cause tremendously.
For now, Ohio State fans can enjoy the big win on Tuesday night but shouldn’t forget that Ohio State has done this before.
January 7th, 2018 – Ohio State def. No. 1 Michigan State 80-64
Keita Bates-Diop poured in 32 points against the Spartans as Ohio State took a 12-point lead into half and ended up winning the game comfortably by 16 points. CJ Jackson would chip in 14 points with Jae’Sean Tate adding 13 and Kam Williams’ 10 points as Ohio State would only get three points off the bench. Tom Izzo would pick up a technical foul during an Ohio State 19-4 run in the game, a move that Izzo would later say ‘took the wind out of their sail’.
February 25th, 2007 – (2) Ohio State def. No. 1 Wisconsin 49-48
Mike Conley, Jr. would hit a floater with four seconds left to propel the then No. 2 Buckeyes past the Badgers, putting Ohio State up to the No. 1 spot in the AP Poll. The Buckeyes were actually the No. 1 team in the nation for the game according to the coaches poll, with the Badgers being the No. 2 team in those rankings. Ivan Harris led all scorers in the game with 13 points as Conley and Greg Oden would each chip in 11 points.
March 6th, 2005 – Ohio State def. No. 1 Illinois 65-64
Yes. This is the Matt Sylvester game. Really, we could say that and that would suffice as Sylvester would hit a three-pointer with 5.1 seconds left in the game to hand the Illini their first loss of the season and the win would get the Buckeyes to an 8-8 conference record. Sylvester would score 25 points in the game but no points bigger than the game-clinching bucket. Terence Dials would have 21 for the Buckeyes and Je’Kel Foster would add 10 points. Dee Brown would have 13 points for the Illini but a bad shooting day of 3-11 would doom the Illini as the entire team had an off-shooting game, just hitting on 38.3-percent of their field goal attempts.
January 23rd, 1993 – Ohio State def. No. 1 Indiana 81-77 (OT)
Jamie Skelton was a well-known Indiana destroyer as he played his best basketball against the Hoosiers and this game was no different as it appeared in regulation that Skelton was going to give the Buckeyes the win but then in overtime Skelton hit a three-pointer with 40 seconds left to hand Bobby Knight’s team its first conference loss of the season and only third of the season. In regulation Skelton hit an off-balanced three-pointer with three seconds left on the clock, giving Ohio State a 71-70 edge. Indiana would see time run out as the Hoosiers inbounded the ball, but the officials would add two seconds to the clock after a timeout was called. Derek Anderson was called for a foul on Chris Reynolds, the IU player would hit the first free throw and miss the second, forcing overtime. Skelton’s overtime heroics would lead the Buckeyes to the major home upset at St. John Arena.
January 24th, 1987 – Ohio State def. No. 1 Iowa 80-76
Dennis Hopson would score 36 points in Ohio State’s win over the previously unbeaten Hawkeyes in Iowa City (Iowa). Iowa would come into this game with a perfect 18-0 record while the Buckeyes were a much more modest 12-6. Curtis Wilson would add 20 points for the Buckeyes while Jerry Francis added 12 and Jay Burson had 10. Iowa guard BJ Armstrong would lead the Hawkeyes with 20 points and Kevin Gamble had 19. The Hawkeyes would go cold from the free throw line late in the game and Iowa’s bench was of little help with a combined nine points. The Buckeyes were 14-point underdogs at home in this game and once the Buckeyes went up 49-48, there was no looking back as the Buckeyes would win the game by four.
January 8th, 1983 – Ohio State def. (1) Indiana 70-67
December 29th, 1978 – Ohio State def. (1) Duke 90-84 (OT) – ECAC Classic
March 23rd, 1968 – Ohio State def. (1) Houston 89-85 – Final Four
March 8th, 1965 – Ohio State def. (1) Michigan 93-85