The Ohio State Buckeyes are part of a specific cluster of Power Five conference teams. This particular group won one conference tournament game but then got beaten convincingly in its second conference tournament game.
The Buckeyes were handled relatively easily by Michigan State on Friday at the Big Ten Tournament. The game was close for about 25 to 30 minutes, but the Spartans pulled away midway through the second half before the Buckeyes offered a cosmetic rally in garbage time to create a deceptive final score of 77-70.
Michigan State carved out a 63-49 lead with 8:26 left and was never seriously threatened after that point. Ohio State didn’t come particularly close to sealing an NCAA Tournament bid.
The Buckeyes — like St. John’s against Marquette in the Big East quarterfinals and North Carolina State against Virginia in the ACC quarterfinals — did not leave a strong final impression in their last game before Selection Sunday.
The long wait until Sunday evening begins. Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann made the case for his team, which — if it makes the field — will almost certainly be a double-digit seed. The Buckeyes might have to go to Dayton for the First Four.
“I certainly feel confident in our body of work,” Chris Holtmann said. “And the league we played in is top to bottom the best in the country. I really believe that. I think the metrics would show that. Coaches say that all the time — that’s the best league in the country. But I think our metrics would show an objective look at that, that it is the best.”
Most projections have Ohio State in the field of 68. That is a point of consensus among bracketologists. You might get some disagreements on whether the Buckeyes deserve one of the last four byes (the teams which don’t have to go to the First Four), or whether they need to go to Dayton, but it would be viewed as a surprise if Holtmann has to play an NIT game next week.
We are all waiting for those brackets. So is Ohio State.
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