Kevin McGuff doesn’t fancy himself a bracketologist, but when prodded about where he thinks his Ohio State women’s basketball team might land in the NCAA Tournament field on selection Monday, he has a few thoughts.
“I haven’t looked at it that closely,” McGuff said Wednesday. “If you made me guess, I’d probably say we’d be a 3-seed. But that’s only a guess, having not really looked at it as closely as I could.”
His guess is a good one. Following their Big Ten tournament final win over Maryland, the No. 10 Buckeyes (27-6) have been slated this week as a No. 3 seed in the Lexington, Kentucky, regional in ESPN’s bracket projections.
Charlie Creme, ESPN’s women’s basketball bracket analyst, said that he doesn’t see Ohio State rising or dropping from that seed line. During the selection committee’s second reveal of its top 16 seeds, the Buckeyes were not listed. They rose to No. 13 in the final reveal but, Creme said, there is too much of a gap between Ohio State’s resume and those of the projected No. 2 seeds, Nos. 5-8 overall.
“All along, I’ve been a little higher on Ohio State than certainly the committee,” Creme said. “Their nonconference success rate was pretty good. Honestly, they might have had a chance to be a (No.) 2 had they not gotten whacked by South Florida (an 84-65 loss on Feb. 11).
“That really set them back. In a way, that almost offset the Big Ten championship in terms of that (No. 2 seed) discussion.”
The setback likely will be only a minor one. Ohio State projects firmly into the top 16 overall seeds, meaning St. John Arena should serve as a host site for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
The Buckeyes didn’t have such peace of mind last season, when they lost to Purdue in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament and waited anxiously on the bubble between a No. 4 and No. 5 seed before learning on selection night that they would not host.
“That part is nice,” McGuff said of a near-certain first weekend in Columbus. “We obviously don’t know who (they’ll play) and that type of stuff but it is nice to be able to kind of plan for that.”
Based on the procedures the NCAA women’s basketball selection committee has followed in past seasons and based on the Power 5 conferences completing their tournaments last weekend, it’s likely Ohio State’s seed has long since been decided. The committee first met on Thursday in Indianapolis to run through administrative items before attacking a chunk of the selection discussion Friday.
“Last year, before we finished … Friday night day one, we had the first three seed lines in,” said Meredith Cleaver, NCAA director of championships and alliances. “I would think that we would have the top four seed lines in before we finish on Friday.”
Until the official bracket is unveiled Monday night, however, McGuff and at least one of his players won’t pay too much attention to projections.
“I think I’ve seen one or two brackets but I try not to look into that too much, simply because you never know what’s going to happen and you can only imagine,” forward Stephanie Mavunga said. “It’s just a bracket and it’s just thoughts for now.”