2014 NCAA Bracket Predictions: Second round Ohio State opponents

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The Buckeyes are going dancing this season. We take an advance look at some of the schools the Buckeyes could potentially face in their opening game.

The good news is Ohio State is going to be in the NCAA Tournament next week. The other good news is that the worst of the bleeding seems to have stopped, and if the Buckeyes can avoid a horrible loss against Purdue, they still have a good shot at a decent seed. The bad news, of course, is that the team that will play in the tournament is still the team that we've watched over the last few months, meaning they could make the Elite Eight, or get upset in the second round, if they decide to say, go 11 minutes without scoring or something not out of the question like that.

As of right now, Ohio State sits as a composite five seed. Most of the mainstream bracket prognosticators seem to have the Buckeyes as either a five or a six. If they choke against Purdue, Ohio State probably falls into the seven/eight range. If they win the entire Big Ten Tournament tournament, they could well creep into a four spot.

For now, let's split the difference, and assume that the Buckeyes beat Purdue, but don't advance to the Big Ten Tournament finals. If they're in the five/six seed range, who are some potential opponents?

We won't know for sure until Sunday, of course, but we have a ballpark idea for the kinds of squads who are likely to be in the 11/12 range in the bracket. Who should Ohio State fans be rooting to face, and who might be an abject disaster for the Buckeyes? Let's take a look:

Xavier (20-11), Big East

RPI: 49

Kenpom: 44

Best Win: 75-69 over Creighton

Worst Loss: 84-78 to USC

Best Player: Probably 6'3 sophomore guard Semaj Christon, who averages 17 ppg (and 4.1 assists), while shooting 40% from three

Panic Level: HIGH PANIC. Not only has Xavier beaten some quality teams (they also beat Cincinnati), AND you've got the instate factor, AND, memories of THIS GAME will flash again and again and again. Sure, we won, but were you dead after that game? I was very much dead.

St Joseph's (21-9), Atlantic-10

RPI: 42

Kenpom: 60

Best Win: 73-68 over UMass

Worst Loss: 77-69 at Temple

Best Player: Overall, it might be Ronald Roberts Jr, who is 2nd on the team in scoring (14.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.2), while averaging over a block per game.

Panic Level: MODERATE PANIC. The Hawks have some size that could cause the Buckeyes a little trouble, but they would probably struggle to score against Ohio State.

Dayton (22-9), Atlantic-10

RPI: 39

Kenpom: 51

Best Win: 86-79 over UMass

Worst Loss: 79-76 against USC

Best Player: FORMER BUCKEYE Jordan Sibert leads the team in scoring at 12.6 ppg, while shooting over 44% from three. Ohio State probably could use a player like that this year, no? SIGH

Panic Level: HEALTHY AMOUNT OF PANIC. Dayton sucked for a while, but they're won nine of their last ten, beating several solid A-10 schools, like GW and Saint Louis. If they make the Madness, I wouldn't want to play them.

BYU (23-11), WCC

RPI: 35

Kenpom: 50

Best Win: 73-65 over Gonzaga

Worst Loss: 114-110 at Portland

Best Player: Tyler Haws is one of the best scorers in college basketball, at 23.4 a game, although he doesn't do it by burying a barrage of threes (only 3 attempts a game). He's great at attacking the basket and hitting jumpers.

Panic Level: EXISTENTIAL PANIC. BYU would actually be a very fun matchup for the Buckeyes, given that they prefer to play at a breakneck pace, and don't care too much about defense. I'm less worried about them than I might be against Dayton or Xavier, but you always run the risk of Haws dropping 38 on you. BYU probably has 20 turnovers in this hypothetical matchup though.

Tennessee (20-11), SEC

RPI: 43

Kenpom: 13 (!!!)

Best Win: 87-52 over Virginia

Worst Loss: 68-65 to TAMU

Best Player: Jarnell Stokes averages a double double, (14.5 and 10.3), and more than a block per game. He's going to be a load down low for anybody.

Panic Level: VERY HIGH PANIC. Amir Williams just picked up his third foul just THINKING about having to guard Stokes. COUNTERPOINT: UTEP

Harvard (26-4), Ivy

RPI: 51

Kenpom: 35

Best Win: 76-64 over Green Bay

Worst Loss: 68-53 at Florida Atlantic

Best Player: Wesley Saunders does a little of everything (14 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.7 steals).

Panic Level: HEALTHY AMOUNT OF PANIC. Nothing about Harvard's resume really jumps out at you, other than a decent Kenpom rating, and Ohio State should be able to handle them. But dammit, losing to an Ivy League team would be INSUFFERABLE

Arkansas (21-10), SEC

RPI: 52

Kenpom: 57

Best Win:  71-67 at Kentucky

Worst Loss: 69-53 at TAMU

Best Player: Rashad Madden? He brings in 12.7 ppg and 2.6 assists, while shooting 41% from three.

Panic Level: LOW – Well, as low as any Ohio State game could be, so in actuality, VERY HIGH

Stanford (19-11), Pac-12

RPI: 44

Kenpom: 42

Best Win: 83-74 over UCLA

Worst Loss: 64-60 at Washington

Best Player: Chasson Randle can certainly score (18.8 a game), and is a legit three point threat

Panic Level: NOT VERY HIGH, although they're probably better than Arkansas.

Southern Miss (26-5), Conference USA

RPI: 33

Kenpom: 61

Best Win: 70-69 at North Dakota State

Worst Loss: 84-60 at UAB

Best Player: 6-5 swingman Michael Craig leads the team in scoring (11 a game) and rebounding (7.2)

Panic Level: MINIMAL, so naturally, Ohio State will play them and lose by 12.

We'll update this again before Selection Sunday, once we get more info from conference tournaments.

Who would you like Ohio State to play in their opening NCAA Tournament game?

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