Buckeyes fall again in poll following fourth-straight loss

Spencer Holbrook6 months
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 16 Ohio State at Illinois
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann will lead the Buckeyes into the NCAA Tournament. (Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

COLUMBUS — Ohio State hasn’t played poorly toward the end of the season.

The Buckeyes just aren’t winning games, though. That’s part of the territory of playing a tough stretch to close the regular season, and the Buckeyes understand the four-game losing streak is partially on the level of competition — and partially on what they haven’t done well.

But the brutal string of games to close out the regular season is no excuse, and the voters know that. Ohio State slipped for the second-straight week and checked in at No. 9 in the latest AP Poll, which was released Monday afternoon. Gonzaga retained the top spot. The undefeated Bulldogs were followed by Baylor, Illinois, Michigan and Iowa.

Just three weeks ago, the Buckeyes were one of the hottest teams in the country and crept their way into the top four of the conference, lining themselves up for a double bye in the Big Ten Tournament. They now enter the conference tournament as the No. 5 seed. They’ll play the winner of Minnesota and Northwestern on Thursday afternoon at about 2 p.m.

Whoever the Buckeyes play, they know it’ll be a challenge.

“We’re going to have a really big-time challenge in our first game in the Big Ten Tournament,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “I think you just focus on as much as better take some of the positives out of [the loss to Illinois on Saturday]. I think there definitely were some positives that came out of today. … Move forward.”

That’s all the Buckeyes can do right now following their current four-game losing streak. All they can do is move forward into postseason play, a situation in which a loss can end a season.

The full AP Poll can be found below.

AP Poll (March 8)

No. 1 Gonzaga

No. 2. Baylor

No. 3 Illinois

No. 4 Michigan

No. 5 Iowa

No. 6 Alabama

No. 7 Houston

No. 8 Arkansas

No. 9 Ohio State

No. 10 West Virginia

No. 11 Kansas

No. 12 Oklahoma State

No. 13 Texas

No. 14 Villanova

No. 15 Florida State

No. 16 Virginia

No. 17 Creighton

No. 18 Loyola-Chicago

No. 19 San Diego State

No. 20 Texas Tech

No. 21 Purdue

No. 22 Virginia Tech

No. 23 Colorado

No. 24 Southern California

No. 25 Oklahoma

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