No. 6 Ohio State's first road test of the season came Wednesday night inside the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill against No. 7 North Carolina. Ohio State's biggest win of the season came at a half-hour before midnight ET. The sixth-ranked Buckeyes demolished the Tar Heels 74-49 in one of the most impressive performances of the early college basketball season. It was close at halftime as UNC trailed just 29-27 .. but then it wasn't. Ohio State built its lead to double digits midway through the second half, then never relented, eventually using a 17-2 run to boat race UNC at home.
Tar Heels coach Roy Williams tried everything in his power to prevent being lapped on his own, including benching the starters for the bench mob, but even that proved unfruitful. The result was UNC's worst home loss of the Roy Williams era and its worst home loss overall since 2002. The home loss trumps North Carolina's worst under Williams, a record that was set last year when Louisville came to the Dean Dome and won by 21.
Only one UNC player, freshman guard Cole Anthony, finished the night with double figures in scoring (15). UNC as a team shot 27.4 percent from the floor and 7 of 23 from 3. On the other side of the court, Ohio State had everything cooking. Four Buckeyes finished with 10 or more points in a balanced attack, and five different players made at least one 3-pointer to help clinch their best win of the season.
Let's now have a look at what we learned now from the Buckeyes' historic blowout of the Tar Heels on Wednesday.
1. Ohio State needed no validation, but got some anyway: Ohio State's schedule pre-UNC win was no cupcake, with wins over Cincinnati, Villanova and Kent State among others. Still, in some ways, a win over another top-10 team (Villanova was No. 10 when OSU beat it on Nov. 13 by 25 points) on the road provides validity to the Buckeyes. They entered the night with the best scoring margin among all teams at the Division I level, and a 25-point beatdown keeps on pace with their season average.
2. Brutal loss continuation of UNC beatdowns: North Carolina under Roy Williams has been the model of consistency in college basketball: four Final Four appearances, nine ACC regular season titles and three national titles. And the accolades go on. But Wednesday is a continuation of a two-year trend that, frankly, makes no sense. After Louisville beat UNC by 21 last season to set the record for the largest loss at home under Roy Williams, Ohio State upped the bar with its 25-point beatdown. Before these two anomalous results, UNC's biggest home loss was a 29-point beatdown by Duke in 2002.
3. Class of the Big Ten? With preseason No. 1 Michigan State flailing its way to a 5-3 record, the Big Ten hasn't had an ideal start to the 2019-20 season. However, it's possible the Buckeyes have simply replaced their intra-conference foe in the Spartans as the favorite to win the league. As of Wednesday night, KenPom.com currently projects Ohio State to best Michigan State, Purdue, Maryland and Michigan in the Big Ten regular season race with a 15-5 record. It's far too early to knee-jerk based off a sample size of fewer than a dozen games, but the eye test, the resume and the results one month in suggest KenPom's metrics might be on the money.
Bonus takeaway: Ohio State should never wear any uniform except these.
This throwback look is everything. Ohio State is now 1-0 against top-10 teams on the road when wearing this slick look, so it'd be folly to wear anything but these bad boys for the rest of the season.