What seed is Ohio State women's basketball projected to get in the NCAA tournament?

Jacob Myers
The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio State guard Rikki Harris carries off the Big Ten championship trophy as the team is recognized at the men’s game March 1.

On Saturday, the Ohio State women's basketball team began its weeklong wait to see where it will play next when the 68-team field is announced during the NCAA tournament selection show at 8 p.m. Sunday.

No. 14 Ohio State (23-6) lost in the Big Ten tournament semifinals against No. 11 Indiana in Indianapolis. From a 20-point loss in December to the Hoosiers to entering the tournament as the No. 1 seed and co-champions with Iowa, the Buckeyes showed how much they've improved over the course of the season by keeping it close with Indiana until the end.

"I think it speaks volumes to our heart and our dedication," graduate senior Braxtin Miller said. "Where we started and we were starting to finish off is totally different, and I'm just really proud of us for coming in the gym and working every day to be our best together. It's super inspiring and motivating to all of us."

The Buckeyes are returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time since Kelsey Mitchell's senior season in 2018, though Kevin McGuff's team would have been in the 2020 tournament if not for the COVID pandemic canceling the postseason. The Buckeyes also would have been in the tournament last season if they weren't serving a self-imposed postseason ban.

Only Taylor Mikesell has played in an NCAA tournament before. For the rest of the Ohio State roster, March Madness will be a new experience.

Here is what some experts think about Ohio State's seeding, as of Wednesday morning.

Ohio State's Jacy Sheldon (4) and Rikki Harris take the floor for a game against Michigan on Jan. 27.

ESPN: No. 6 seed vs. Missouri State

ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme has the Buckeyes receiving a No. 6 seed in the Wichita Regional, playing Missouri Valley Conference at-large bid Missouri State, the No. 11 seed, in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Should the Buckeyes advance to the second round, they would face the winner of No. 3 seed Tennessee and No. 14 seed Charlotte.

Creme has Missouri State listed as the final team to receive an at-large bid without having to play one of the two play-in games — a new addition to the tournament this season after expanding from 64 team to 68. No other at-large bid has a seed lower than No. 11, which means Creme sees Ohio State as the top No. 6 seed.

So it's possible Ohio State could receive a No. 5 seed. Prior to a loss to Indiana, Creme had Ohio State listed as a No. 5 seed. No. 5 seed vs. Washington State's Autumn Johnson projects the Buckeyes to receive the No. 5 seed in the Spokane Regional, playing No. 12 seed Washington State in the first round, in Blacksburg, Virginia. Should Ohio State advance out of that game, the Buckeyes would face the winner of No. 4 Virginia Tech vs. No. 13 Drexel.

Since Ohio State beat Maryland and Iowa in January, the Buckeyes have pretty consistently been around the No. 5 and No. 6 seed lines. Depending on the matchup, Ohio State could have a decent chance at advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2017

Ohio State's Taylor Mikesell (left) steals the ball from Maryland's Katie Benzan with defensive help from Jacy Sheldon.

Could Ohio State host the first two rounds?

Barring something unexpected, Ohio State will not receive a No. 4 seed or better to be able to host the first weekend of the tournament. The four other best Big Ten teams — Iowa, Indiana, Michigan and Maryland — are expected to host.

Though the Buckeyes fall just behind Maryland, Michigan and Indiana in the national rankings, they have a No. 31 NET ranking. NET is used by the NCAA Tournament selection committee to sort teams based on their resumes during the season.

The four Big Ten teams expected to host are ranked No. 13-16 in the NET rankings.