Ohio State Buckeyes: The New Sheriff in College Basketball (For Now)

wes burdenContributor IJanuary 13, 2011

Your new No. 1 team?
Your new No. 1 team?Joe Robbins/Getty Images

With a shocking loss by Duke at Florida State last night, there will now be a new team ranked No. 1 in men's college basketball.

The team that gets to slide into that spot, both by their play and by default, will be the Ohio State Buckeyes. This team will not be your typical top-ranked team, either.

The team has great leadership from proven seniors like Jon Diebler and David Lighty and has a consistent scoring threat from the outside in William Buford. But anyone who watches this team knows that their offense and defense runs through the big guy in the middle, potential Naismith candidate Jared Sullinger.

Sullinger is their consistent playmaker who knows how to get the job done on both ends of the floor. Watching the Michigan game last night, my thoughts on this team were only verified throughout the contest.

During every possession on the offensive side of floor, the Buckeyes were looking to get it to Sullinger each time they controlled the rock. His stat lines might not jump out at you every game, but the way he impacts his team cannot be measured by numbers alone.

Every time the Buckeyes had the ball, they would work the ball around to his side of the court. Maybe they didn't get it down to him each time, but that is not the point. Just the idea of throwing the ball to him on the block would draw multiple defenders on him. When I say multiple, I am talking about three guys consistently dropping down low to guard him.

How does this type of game plan help drive a Buckeyes team (17-0) off to its best start since the 1990 season?

With Sullinger drawing these defenders in, Ohio State is able to work the ball around consistently to the many shooters they have on the floor at all times.

Not only do they have Jon Diebler, shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc and on pace to set an NCAA record for most threes in a career, but they have four other guards who can light it up from the outside.

The Buckeyes have put together a team that can beat you from the inside and the outside, along with being stingy on the defensive end.

The No. 1 ranking is there for the taking and I think that is what the Buckeyes will do. With the tough part of their schedule about to get under way, these games will let everyone know what kind of team they are this year.

Whether they are worthy of the number one spot or not, the Buckeyes have a chance to prove why they have that No. 1 ranking next to their name.