Buckeyes, Badgers up to Nos. 3 and 4 in latest AP poll

Buckeyes, Badgers up to Nos. 3 and 4 in latest AP poll
December 9, 2013, 11:30 pm
Vinnie Duber

There's no longer a Big Ten team on the top of the college basketball rankings, but two different teams from the conference are very, very close.

As expected, Michigan State lost its No. 1 ranking when the AP released its latest top 25 rankings on Monday. But, partially because of the Spartans' fall, Ohio State and Wisconsin were able to climb into the two of the top four spots in the rankings, with Buckeyes moving up from No. 5 to No. 3 and Wisconsin vaulting from No. 8 to No. 4.

The Buckeyes and Badgers benefitted from the Nos. 1 and 3 teams losing last week. Michigan State fell at home to North Carolina, while Kentucky lost in Arlington, Texas, to Baylor. Meanwhile, Ohio State scored an impressive home win over Maryland, and Wisconsin won a pair of notable games at Virginia and against Marquette.

Ohio State has looked strong on both offense and defense, continuing to play terrific defense and making all the highlight shows thanks to a slew of alley-oop dunks from Sam Thompson vs. Maryland. LaQuniton Ross had a good week, to say the least, scoring a total of 43 points in the pair of wins.

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Wisconsin's win over Virginia avenged a loss to the Cavaliers in Madison a season ago, while a win against Marquette was another good resume-builder. Sam Dekker led the way vs. the Golden Eagles with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The four-spot jump in the rankings puts the Badgers among the nation's elite, not that Bo Ryan cares.

"This team's attention will be on the clips from Saturday and the UWM scouting report. That's all we'll talk about," the Wisconsin head coach said during his press conference Monday. "Now, what they talk about in the locker room and on campus or anything else, I just hope that they understand that they've done some things that put them in this position, that they've been successful. You have to deal with that, but everybody's going to come at us the same way. Everybody's going to want to, even more so, try to get a piece of the Badgers."

Michigan State didn't fall far, dropping from No. 1 to No. 5 thanks to North Carolina's leap to the No. 18 spot. Iowa stayed at No. 23, while Michigan dropped out of the rankings following its third loss of the season. The Wolverines, along with Indiana, are in the receiving votes category.