Ohio State men’s and women’s basketball are both 23 games into their respective seasons, and each are fighting for a place in the NCAA Tournament.
The men’s team has been fighting to stay up after a hot start came to an abrupt halt during conference play. And for the women’s team, it has been an up-and-down road that is looking up with a current three-game win streak.
Here are five projections on where both of Ohio State’s basketball teams will end up come NCAA Tournament time.
Men’s Basketball (15-8, 5-7 Big Ten)
Scott Gleeson and Shelby Mast, USA Today – 6 seed vs. Arizona State
Andy Katz, NCAA.com – 7 seed vs. Northern Iowa
Jerry Palm, CBS Sports – 7 seed vs. Stanford
Joe Lunardi, ESPN – 8 seed vs. Oklahoma
Kerry Miller, Bleacher Report – 8 seed vs. Arkansas
Despite a recent stretch where Ohio State lost six of seven games, and despite a 13-point loss to Wisconsin on Sunday, the Buckeyes are still firmly in the NCAA Tournament, and project as a top-eight seed in all five tournament fields.
Gleeson and Mast have the Buckeyes the highest at No. 6, which would have Ohio State face off against Auburn, who is 21-2 so far this season, in the next round with a win over the Sun Devils.
The No. 1 seeds Lunardi and Miller have in the same region with the Buckeyes are 25-1 Gonzaga and 20-3 Kansas, respectively.
In Katz’s placement, Ohio State would move on to face off against No. 2 seed West Virginia, a team that beat the Buckeyes 67-59 in Cleveland to start Ohio State’s four-game losing skid. The most entertaining placement, though, is Palm’s, who puts the Buckeyes in Cleveland for the first two rounds, and would have Ohio State up against No. 2 Dayton in an all-Ohio battle that takes place in the home state to get to the Sweet 16.
The analytics are mostly more kind to Ohio State than the NCAA Tournament placements. KenPom puts the Buckeyes as the No. 12 team in the country, with the Basketball Power Index (BPI) placing Ohio State 13th in the nation. The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) has Ohio State lower at No. 45.
Women’s Basketball (14-9, 7-5 Big Ten)
Real Time RPI – 6 seed vs. Tennessee
College Sports Madness – 10 seed vs. Arizona State
Charlie Creme, ESPN – 10 seed vs. Texas
Russell Steinberg, High Post Hoops – 10 seed vs. Texas
Mitchell Northam, NCAA.com – Not in tournament
There is clearly more of a range with the women’s team, but the two outliers have their reasonings.
Real Time RPI bases its field of 64 teams primarily on RPI, which has the Buckeyes at No. 26 despite only a 14-9 record. That is because of Ohio State’s incredibly tough nonconference, as well as the brutal Big Ten, both of which have combined to give the Buckeyes the eighth-hardest strength of schedule, according to the website.
Those metrics are also helped by Ohio State’s upset win over Louisville, a team that, prior to this past week where it dropped back-to-back outings, had not lost another game this season.
Northam’s projected field fails to mention the Buckeyes, but was made on Feb. 7, so it has not included the team’s most recent victory over Wisconsin that has extended Ohio State’s win streak to three.
Of the three placements at the 10 seed, College Sports Madness’ is the most interesting. In this projection, if the Buckeyes could pull an upset in the first round against Arizona State, they would likely have a rematch against that No. 2 Louisville team Ohio State has already beaten in shocking fashion once before this year.
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics
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