Today’s Topic: Are the Buckeyes Going to Make the NCAA Tournament?
The Ohio State men’s basketball program is currently sitting with a 12-5 record overall and a 2-4 mark in Big Ten play. With the schedule over half completed, now is the time to start talking about postseason possibilities.
The Buckeyes have 14 games to play in the regular season, with half of those coming at home. The old water mark for tournament eligibility used to be 20 wins in order to be a serious contender. The Buckeyes did make it in 1990 with a 16-12 record, but that came with a 10-8 mark in a rugged Big Ten.
If the Buckeyes are going to be two games over .500 in conference play this year, they’ll need to finish 9-5 over their final 14 games. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but that’s not going to happen.
Here’s the rest of the schedule, and it begins Wednesday night at 7:00 pm on BTN.
at Michigan State
Looking at that schedule, I could see the Buckeyes failing to win a road game the rest of the way out. They are trending poorly right now and don’t have a Keita Bates-Diop to get them out of it. If they are going to make the tournament, however, they’re going to have to win somewhere other than the Schott.
Bloomington seems like a possibility for a road win, as do Nebraska and Northwestern. Expecting anything outside of those three is about six steps beyond wishful thinking.
The Buckeyes must also defend the home court, but that will be difficult against the likes of Purdue, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
Barring a Big Ten Tournament run, the Buckeyes’ season is going to come down to these six games mentioned above. They are the toss ups. Road games at Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, and Purdue are likely not.
If Ohio State wins four of the six toss ups, which is optimistic, and holds serve at home against Rutgers, Penn State, Illinois, and Northwestern, that puts them at 20 wins with the Big Ten Tournament yet to play.
Still, where are the quality wins? Cincinnati is ranked No. 32 in the NCAA’s NET rankings. Creighton is No. 62 and UCLA is No. 106. That’s the best out of conference for the Buckeyes. Ohio State’s Big Ten wins have come against No. 66 Minnesota and No. 108 Illinois. Having a loss to No. 130 Rutgers isn’t great, either.
If the Buckeyes continue on their current path — or even do slightly better — it is still going to take a major run in the Big Ten Tournament to get them into the NCAA Tournament. In fact, they’ll probably have to win it in order to get the auto-bid because the committee usually doesn’t even watch the Big Ten title game.
So with all of that being said, will the Buckeyes make the NCAA Tournament?
And if they do, it will require a few wins on the schedule that nobody could have seen coming.