For the first time since 2015, the Ohio State Buckeyes are going dancing! The scarlet and gray were selected as a No. 5 seed in the West region during Sunday night’s Selection Show. They will take on the No. 12 seed South Dakota State Jackrabbits in Boise, Idaho in the first round of the Big Dance. Tip is scheduled for approximately 4 p.m. ET on TNT. The game will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Gonzaga-UNC Greensboro game.
After getting upset by Penn State in the quarterfinals, many projected Ohio State to drop to a No. 5 seed, and those projections were right. According to The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach, the Buckeyes were the No. 20 overall seed in the tournament, one spot away from dropping to a No. 6 seed.
Here’s the NCAA tournament’s seed list: pic.twitter.com/Kx4MYyVZof
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) March 11, 2018
In the West region, the Buckeyes will open in Boise. If they beat South Dakota State, Ohio State will advance to take on the winner between No. 4 seed Gonzaga and No. 13 seed UNC Greensboro. If they win that game, the scarlet and gray will advance to the Sweet 16 in Los Angeles. Although it’s quite far from Columbus, Ohio, Buckeye Nation will likely make it seem like somewhat of a home game for Ohio State, no matter how far (or where) they go in the tournament.
The Buckeyes are joined by plenty of talent in the West region. The top four seeds in the region are No. 1 Xavier, No. 2 North Carolina, No. 3 Michigan, and No. 4 Gonzaga. Ohio State has taken on three of those four teams, coming out with a 1-3 record against them. Their lone win was a 71-62 victory over the Wolverines back in early December.1
In a weak year for the Big Ten, the Buckeyes are one of four teams in the conference to make the Big Dance. Along with them, Purdue (No. 2 seed in East), Michigan (No. 3 seed in West), and Michigan State (No. 3 seed in Midwest) made the tournament as well. Although they have just four teams in it, the Big Ten can make plenty of noise. Many analysts believe the Spartans and Wolverines can advance far into the tournament.
One of the most interesting things involving the Big Ten is the fact that each of the four teams in the conference will have about a two-week break between their last game in the Big Ten Tournament and their first game in the NCAA Tournament. It could turn into be an advantage given the amount of rest time each team got, but it can also turn into them being quite rusty after not playing in a real game in 11-14 days. That will be one of the most interesting storylines involving the four Big Ten teams during the first weekend of the tournament.
Ohio State was also in the West region the last time they were selected into the tournament in 2015. The No. 10 seeded Buckeyes beat No. 7 seeded VCU before falling to No. 2 seeded Arizona during the first weekend.
Considering they were projected by Big Ten media members to finish 11th (out of 14) teams in the conference prior to the season, being named a No. 5 seed in the Big Dance is quite an accomplishment for the Buckeyes. It was quite a turnaround after what happened the previous two seasons.
Let the fun begin!
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- The Buckeyes lost to Gonzaga, 86-59 on November 24; lost to North Carolina, 86-72, on December 23; and lost to Michigan, 74-62, on February 18. [↩]