Ohio State knocked off the hottest team in the country on Wednesday night as Keita Bates-Diop made a tip-in with 2.6 seconds left as the No. 14 Buckeyes beat No. 3 Purdue 64-63.
Staying in the Big Ten race with a gigantic road win that saw them claw back from a 14-point deficit, Ohio State snapped Purdue’s 19-game winning streak and 21-game home winning streak by finally taking a lead in the final seconds.
Bates-Diop was one of four double-figure scorers for Ohio State as he led the team with 18 points, finishing some tough shots over Dakota Mathias. The All-American candidate might have solidified an eventual spot on the team as his tip-in is a potential signature moment for him against an elite opponent on the road.
With the win, Ohio State (21-5, 12-1) is now tied with Purdue in the Big Ten race as they were still able to win on the road despite not shooting particularly well from the perimeter.
Nobody saw this Buckeyes team as having a chance to compete for a Big Ten title before the season. Since the Buckeyes have also defeated Michigan State already, Ohio State is in a very good spot for the Big Ten regular season title. The Boilermakers and Spartans still need to play each other on Saturday.
The Buckeyes only face Michigan on the road when it comes to ranked opponents for the rest of the season as their schedule looks promising. Ohio State is still in a position to tie with Purdue, but with the looming game against Michigan State, things are suddenly looking promising for a potential Big Ten title coming to Columbus.
Who saw that coming before this season?
But perhaps the bigger story is how much this game helps Ohio State’s NCAA tournament picture. Even though the Buckeyes are viewed as a top-5 seed and top-15 team in the rankings right now, the win over Michigan State was by far the best win of the season for Ohio State. It was the the only ranked win of the season for the Buckeyes before Wednesday’s win.
Now, with what is sure to be another quadrant 1 win over Purdue on the road, Ohio State has built a more solid foundation for Selection Sunday. The Buckeyes can afford to handle another loss and they would still manage to land what is likely to be a high seed.
And if the Buckeyes manage to hold on and win the Big Ten regular-season title, they get another respectable title on to their name. With Bates-Diop playing at this high of a level, and a supporting cast filled with tough and experienced players, Ohio State is going to be an intriguing team to watch over these next several weeks.