Buckeyes, Headlines

Ohio State (finally) has national championship odds you can bet on

(AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

A little less than four months ago, the Ohio State Buckeyes men’s basketball team was projected to finish 11th (out of 14 teams in the Big Ten by the conference’s media members. A little over two months ago, they gave up two straight double-digit leads in the second half to go on their only two-game losing streak of the season.

Fast forward to early February, and after winning nine of their last 10 games, the Buckeyes are not only one of the best teams in the Big Ten, but they are among the top 25 teams in the country as well. With just seven regular season games remaining, they have also been given odds to win the national championship for the first time in a few years. Off the board on January 3, Ohio State (66-to-1) now has the 17th-best odds to win the NCAA Tournament, per Bovada.

While former head coach Thad Matta laid the groundwork, the job that head coach Chris Holtmann has done already in Columbus is truly incredible. Although it helps that he got a healthy Keita Bates-Diop back, no one expected them to even be an NIT team in Holtmann’s first season, let alone get a berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Even with all the recent transfers the last two years, the Buckeyes are currently 19-5, 10-1 in the Big Ten. Unless something catastrophic happens, the scarlet and gray will be represented in March Madness for the first time in three years. Not bad for a team that was projected to finish near the bottom of its own conference, giving them all but no shot to even make it into the craziness that happens in March.

In his latest Bracketology on ESPN, Joe Lunardi moved the Buckeyes down from a No. 3-seed to a No. 4-seed. According to Lunardi, if the season were to end today, the scarlet and gray would be in the West region, with No. 1-seed Kansas, No. 2-seed Xavier, and No. 3-seed Clemson.

There are two Big Ten teams that have better odds than Ohio State: Michigan State (9-to-2) and Purdue (7-to-1). There are also two teams from Ohio with better odds: Cincinnati (33-to-1) and Xavier (40-to-1).

A team that was once projected to finish 11th in their conference this season now has the 17th-best odds to win it all. Holtmann and company deserve all the credit in the world for what’s going on on the hardwood in Columbus.

A look at the 25 best odds:

  1. Michigan State: 9-to-2
  2. Villanova: 11-to-2
  3. Duke: 6-to-1
  4. Purdue: 7-to-1
  5. Virginia: 7-to-1
  6. Arizona: 16-to-1
  7. Kansas: 16-to-1
  8. Oklahoma: 18-to-1
  9. Kentucky: 20-to-1
  10. West Virginia: 25-to-1
  11. Wichita State: 25-to-1
  12. Florida: 28-to-1
  13. Gonzaga: 28-to-1
  14. North Carolina: 28-to-1
  15. Cincinnati: 33-to-1
  16. Xavier: 40-to-1
  17. Ohio State: 66-to-1
  18. Auburn: 66-to-1
  19. Arizona State: 66-to-1
  20. St. Mary’s (California): 66-to-1
  21. Florida State: 75-to-1
  22. Louisville: 75-to-1
  23. Michigan: 75-to-1
  24. Texas A&M: 75-to-1
  25. TCU: 75-to-1