After stringing together two very impressive home wins in a row, Ohio State slipped once they got back on the road, losing to Purdue 60-58 after A.J Hammons seemingly blocked every single Buckeye shot. The setback prevented Ohio State from gaining any separation in the Big Ten, and plopped them right back in the mushy middle of the conference. Losing second leading scorer Marc Loving for an undetermined amount of time due to a suspension doesn't help either. When it comes to March Madness though, where are the Buckeyes now?
RPI Ranking: 40
Ohio State's RPI, weirdly enough, remains unchanged from the last time we checked in on the Buckeyes. A win over Maryland and a loss at Purdue essentially canceled each other out. The Buckeyes are behind Indiana and Michigan State in the RPI, and improving on their 2-4 record away from Columbus would do wonders to help boost a somewhat lagging computer profile. While a 40 RPI isn't likely to lead to a particularly impressive seed, it does bode well for Ohio State being safely in the NCAA tournament.
Most recent ESPN projection: 7 seed against Texas A&M
Nobody really wants to be in the 7-10 seed range, since the first game will be pretty evenly matched, and should you win, a second round matchup against a likely powerhouse awaits you. In this particular scenario, Ohio State would be slotted to face Kansas should they beat Texas A&M. Sure, that's better than Kentucky, but still a scenario the Buckeyes would love to avoid. The Aggies aren't invincible though, at least.
Most recent CBS projection: 8 seed against Seton Hall
The CBS projections have been a little more pessimistic about the Buckeyes as of late, but at least they still have them soundly in the NCAAs. Here, the Buckeyes would be stuck playing Kentucky if they were able to get passed the Pirates. Seton Hall has a nice win over Villanova, but they've struggled in Big East play over the last few weeks, and have fallen to 5-5, having just lost to DePaul.
Most recent SB Nation projection: 6 seed against Miami (FL)
Our friends at SBNation.com have the most optimistic projection for Ohio State right now, and one that I personally think is around what could be reasonably expected for Ohio State should they finish strong in the Big Ten. Avoiding Kentucky or a high powered 2 seed would be critical, and while Utah would be a very tough matchup in the next round (assuming Ohio State could beat the Hurricanes), the Utes would be a much better opponent than say, Duke. If the Buckeyes take care of business and have a nice Big Ten tourney, they can at least get here.
Bracket Matrix Projection: Ohio State a 7 seed.
The wisdom of the crowds is probably a better projection tool than any single bracketology prediction, even though the database isn't always updated at the same time, but they have the Buckeyes as the top rated seven seed at the moment, more in line with what SB Nation is thinking than say, CBS. Across their panel, Ohio State is everywhere from a 5 seed to a 9 seed.
Big Ten Tournament Projection: 5 seed, to face Penn State/Rutgers winner
This is the seeding that will vary the most from update to update, since basically the second through tenth seeds are all bunched up with each other. The Buckeyes will badly want to crack the top four to get a double bye, as either Penn State or Rutgers could potentially upset the Buckeyes if D'Angelo Russell has a bad day. Should Ohio State win, they'd face Michigan State, as things are current constructed.
Ohio State's next two games are at Rutgers, and home for Penn State. Marc Loving won't play at Rutgers, but Ohio State should be able to beat both of those teams, even without him. Doing so would give Ohio State an 8-4 Big Ten record, and a 19-6 overall record, giving them a little breathing room in the standings. Getting tripped up, however, would undo the breathing room the Buckeyes gave themselves by beating Maryland and Indiana.
Buckle up, since the rest of the Big Ten season is going to be a wild ride