Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
Ohio State men’s basketball has company from fellow Big Ten teams near the top of the 2012-13 USA Today preseason Coaches’ Poll.
Like other lofty preseason rankings for the team, Buckeyes players likely won’t feel burdened by the expectations.
Coming off a 31-8 season and a trip to the Final Four in New Orleans, OSU will begin the upcoming campaign as the No. 4-ranked team in America, according to the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The poll, released Wednesday, features four other Big Ten teams.
Indiana was voted the top-ranked team in America to start the season. The Hoosiers posted a 27-9 record last year and advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Michigan rounds out the Big Ten’s presence in the top five spots of the poll at No. 5. The Wolverines’ preseason ranking is the highest they have received in 19 years.
Michigan State and Wisconsin – ranked No. 14 and No. 21, respectively – are the only other Big Ten teams to crack the top 25 in the coaches’ poll. The Spartans are the reigning Big Ten Tournament champions, but bowed out of the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 round with a loss to eventual national semifinalist Louisville.
Wisconsin advanced to the Elite 8 in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Badgers’ season ended with a loss to Syracuse, which the Buckeyes defeated to advance to the Final Four.
OSU has also received No. 3 and No. 8 preseason rankings from The Sporting News and Athlon, respectively. During their Oct. 11 media day, several members of the Buckeye squad said they don’t put much stock in preseason rankings.
OSU sophomore forward LaQuinton Ross said the team is only focused on internal matters.
“The people that are doing those rankings, they’re just looking from the outside,” Ross said. “They have no idea what teams have been doing to get better.”
Buckeyes sophomore forward Sam Thompson agreed, adding that the team’s only expectation is to compete for the Big Ten championship, and then the national championships.
“That’s what we were recruited here to do and that’s still our goal,” Thompson said.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to begin the 2012-13 season on Nov. 9 against Marquette in the Carrier Classic, which will take place on the deck of the USS Yorktown in Charleston, S.C. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.