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Andy Wittry | | December 16, 2019

Ohio State debuts at No. 1 in NET rankings for second consecutive season

Dan Gavitt explains college basketball's NET rankings

Ohio State is No. 1 for the second consecutive year in the first NET rankings of the 2019-20 season, which debuted here Monday.

The NET rankings like the Buckeyes, or rather the Buckeyes team that has a 9-1 record as well as the best adjusted efficiency margin in the country while playing against one of the 50 strongest schedules in the country through the first month and a half of the season. Here's an explainer for how the NET rankings work, in case you need a refresher.

The Buckeyes have wins over Penn State (No. 18 NET) by 32 points, Villanova (No. 24 NET) by 25 points, No. 59 Kent State, No. 95 North Carolina and No. 110 Cincinnati, while their only loss this season came on the road against No. 48 Minnesota on Sunday, so they had been nothing but dominant before last weekend.

Two of the four remaining undefeated teams in the country are in the top 10: No. 2 Kansas (8-1), No. 3 San Diego State (10-0), No. 4 Butler (10-1), No. 5 Baylor (8-1), No. 6 Gonzaga (11-1), No. 7 Auburn (9-0), No. 8 Louisville (10-1), No. 9 Stanford (9-1) and No. 10 Dayton (8-1).

Last season, national finalists Virginia and Texas Tech debuted at No. 2 and No. 3 in the NET rankings, which is encouraging for the teams ranked in the top 10 on Monday.

The other two undefeated teams round out the top 20 with Liberty (10-0) at No. 19 and Duquesne (9-0) at No. 20.

Of the top 30 teams in the initial NET rankings, just two have more than two losses — rivals No. 21 Michigan (8-3) and No. 29 Michigan State (7-3). Other top Big Ten teams in the rankings are No. 11 Maryland and No. 18 Penn State.

While the Big Ten is annually one of the strongest conferences in the country, it's not the only conference that should be encouraged by the debut of this season's NET rankings.

They were promising for the Atlantic 10 (No. 10 Dayton, No. 20 Duquesne, No. 22 Richmond, No. 52 VCU, No. 66 Saint Louis, No. 67 George Mason, No. 72 Rhode Island), Mountain West (No. 3 San Diego State, No. 47 Utah State, No. 57 New Mexico) and West Coast Conference (No. 6 Gonzaga, No. 42 BYU, No. 64 Saint Mary's), each of which is currently on pace to have multiple opportunities for Quadrant 1 road wins (No. 1 to No. 75 in the NET).

If those teams can maintain their top-75 rankings until the start of conference play, and even have some of their conference brethren join them in the top 75, it sets up each conference to potentially send multiple teams to the NCAA Tournament.

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