Wednesday afternoon, Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann continually downplayed talk about the trajectory of the season. Twice, he cited the fact that the Buckeyes are only about 20 percent of the way through the Big Ten schedule.

Keeping that in mind, as well as the date on the calendar, it's still worth noting that ESPN's Joe Lunardi is now projecting Ohio State to make the NCAA Tournament after missing out for the last two seasons. In Lunardi's newly updated Bracketology, Ohio State is projected as a No. 9 seed, facing No. 8 seed Rhode Island in the first round for the right to face No. 1 seed Villanova.

The projection is in line with what the Bracket Project, a website that compiles dozens of mock drafts from around the internet, sees for the Buckeyes. On that site, Ohio State is forecasted as a No. 9 seed, with projections as high as a No. 6 seed and as low as No. 11.

Lunardi forecasts five Big Ten teams to make the tournament: Michigan State (No. 1 seed), Purdue (2), Michigan (8) and Maryland (10). The Terrapins are the final team to avoid the play-in round, and Minnesota is third in the "next four out."

Prior to beating the top-ranked Spartans last Sunday, the Buckeyes were third in the "first four out" category.

The advanced statistics of have Ohio State favored to win all but three of its remaining games. That would put Ohio State at 24-7 overall and 15-3 in the Big Ten.