Ohio State the true No. 1
In terms of performance, no one has outplayed the Buckeyes
On Saturday, Ohio State will play at Wisconsin, and the conventions of sports writing suggest it's foolish to write a piece about how great any team is right before it plays in Madison. You may have heard that the Badgers tend to win a very high percentage of such games, and at the moment Bo Ryan's team is riding a six-game winning streak.
It's entirely possible that the Buckeyes will lose when they visit Wisconsin. After all, Thad Matta's team has already lost at Indiana and Illinois, and while those teams are very good they're not what one would call historically formidable. (The Hoosiers are currently ranked No. 20 in the nation, while the Illini are unranked. For the record OSU also lost at Kansas on Dec. 10, a game it played without Jared Sullinger.) But maybe the conventions of sports writing -- and of polling -- could benefit from greater awareness of an admittedly dull fact: losses do happen, even to the best teams.
We've been waiting patiently for 36 years now for the next version of Indiana in 1976, and we're still waiting. Perhaps Murray State will win the national championship this season and fill that longing for the Perfect Season. While we wait, I want to say a word or two about a plainly imperfect Ohio State team.
This is the best team in the country right now
The Buckeyes are my choice as the No. 1 team in the country, and, yes, I realize mine is a minority view. Maybe even a solitary view. In this week's polls OSU didn't receive a single No. 1 vote from a writer or coach anywhere in the nation. (Not one!) Still, I don't think the disagreement here is really so pronounced. These are all exceptionally strong teams we're discussing, but a top 25 only allows you one No. 1, and I just happen to think the team in Columbus is the strongest.
To see why Ohio State is the true No. 1, and get access to the analysis of Jay Bilas, Doug Gottlieb, Fran Fraschilla, Joe Lunardi and more, sign up for ESPN Insider.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- No. 24 San Diego St. rallies by Washington
- Buffs' buzzer-beater stuns No. 6 Jayhawks
- McConnell, No. 2 Wildcats squeak by UNLV
- Mizzou upsets UCLA, extends home streak
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider College Basketball
New on Insider
Lunardi: Pac-12 locked into 2 bids?
Player Rankings: Davis over Robinson for POY
Lunardi: Where UW, Northwestern fall
Hume: Bid thieves are few
Bilas: Sizing up the Big East
Gasaway: Pac-12 stronger than it seems
Hume: Best bets among bubble teams
Lunardi: VCU may be first bid thief
Ford: Time running out for 5 NBA prospects
Lunardi: How UConn, Texas, others earn bids
Lunardi: Latest look at the bubble
Fraschilla: Previewing Big 12 tournament
Bilas Index: UNC remains at No. 3
Pomeroy: Trends predict UNC-Duke clash
Lunardi: No No. 1 seed for Big Ten?
Player Rankings: Purdue's pivotal players
Ford: Will MKG, Cody Zeller stay in school?
Gasaway: Rebounding won't crush Orange
Telep: UCLA's top recruits remain committed
Bilas: How Michigan State can still improve
Bilas: Keys to the Hoyas' continued success
Lunardi: Watch out for NCAA bid thieves
Lunardi Rundown: Kentucky is No. 1 overall
Bilas Index: Kansas returns to the top five
Make smart bracket picks by spotting Cinderella early.
And don't forget these Insider mainstays:
Doug Gottlieb, Fran Fraschilla, Joe Lunardi and Jay Williams offer their opinions.
Insights from the mind of the College Gameday analyst.
The national recruiting analyst weighs in on news and rumors surrounding the top high school prospects.
Stay on top of all the latest recruiting buzz.
Every D-1 player's efficiency rating.