Ohio State finds itself squarely inside the logjam that is the middle of the Big Ten standings, but that might be enough to get the Buckeyes into the NCAA Tournament.
Today, CBS Sports senior writer Jerry Palm released his updated bracket projection. It included Ohio State as a No. 11 seed, facing Rhode Island as part of the First Four games in Dayton with the winner playing No. 6 seed Xavier in the West region.
The Buckeyes are the final team in Palm’s bracket, which can be viewed by clicking here.
It’s fair to say that Palm is projecting a strong finish for Ohio State. The Buckeyes head to No. 21 Maryland today for a Saturday afternoon game with a 15-10 overall record. They are 5-7 in Big Ten play, having won two straight, and are one of six teams with six or seven conference losses. Palm’s bracket projection includes eight Big Ten teams.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, in a bracket released today, does not list Ohio State anywhere. He sees seven Big Ten teams making the tournament.
If Ohio State finishes the season with wins in four of its last six games, the Buckeyes would finish 9-9 and have won six of their final eight games entering the Big Ten tournament. That would certainly be enough to play themselves on the bubble. It would also mean that Ohio State won at least one game among what KenPom.com considers its three top-level games remaining: at Maryland, at Michigan State on Tuesday and home against Wisconsin on Feb. 23.
“Honestly, we’ve got to rally our troops and get ready to go tomorrow and roll from there because after that we’re back on the road Tuesday,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said today when asked how he feels about his team’s standing with six games to play. “There aren’t any gimmes, that’s for sure. I just want to go out there and play well tomorrow. With everything that’s been going on, hopefully we take the court and we’re ready to go.”
The website dratings.com projects the Buckeyes as a No. 5 seed in the NIT.