The good news is, Ohio State is going to the Big Dance, having secured another bid in the NCAA tournament. The Buckeyes were given a 10 seed, their lowest during Thad Matta's tenure in Columbus (and reportedly ever), and will face VCU in the first round. But what about all the other teams in the region? It's early, but here's the skinny on the other squads that Ohio State might have to play in their quest for a cinderella deep tournament run.
No. 1 Wisconsin, 31-3, Big Ten regular season, tournament champion
KenPom: No. 3
Best Wins: Georgetown, Michigan State (twice), Ohio State, Iowa (twice)
Worst Losses: Rutgers. This really happened.
The Skinny: You saw how Wisconsin left Ohio State in a smoldering heap of wreckage, and that was in Columbus, and a game that the Buckeyes badly needed. Wisconsin is big, terrifyingly efficient, and can shoot at every position, led by Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky. Wisconsin may not be invincible, but they are likely one of the very few teams in this tournament that could legitimately beat Kentucky.
No. 2 Arizona, 31-3, Pac-12 regular season, tournament champion
KenPom: No. 2
Best Wins: Gonzaga, Utah (twice), San Diego State
Worst Losses: at UNLV, at Oregon State, at Arizona State
The Skinny: Not a great matchup for anybody, and especially not Ohio State in a potential second round game. The Wildcats, led by Sean Miller, are exceptionally coached, led by crazy athletic, do-it-all forward, Stanley Johnson, who can score in multiple ways, get steals, and clean the glass. They're not going to score a billion points, but they always take good shots.
No. 3 Baylor, 24-9, Big 12
KenPom: No. 15
Best Wins: West Virginia (three times), Iowa State (twice)
Worst Losses: Illinois, Kansas State
The Skinny: Another really efficient team offensively, Baylor picked up some huge wins in arguably the toughest conference this season. The Bears have some serious size and athleticism, paced by Rico Gathers, who averages 11 and 11 a game.
No. 4 North Carolina, 24-11, ACC
KenPom: No. 16
Best Wins: Virginia, Louisville (twice), Ohio State, Davidson
Worst Losses: Pitt, Iowa, NC State
The Skinny: Ohio State fans know all too well what North Carolina is capable of, having watched them vaporize the Buckeyes earlier in the season in Chicago. The Tar Heels have not been the most consistent team this season, but if Marcus Paige is feeling it, and Kennedy Meeks is cleaning the glass, they could beat anybody in this region.
No. 5 Arkansas, 26-8, SEC
KenPom: No. 29
Best Wins: SMU, Dayton, Georgia (twice), Ole Miss
Worst Losses: Clemson, at Tennessee, at Florida
The Skinny: Arkansas wants to push the tempo, share the basketball, and get tons of possessions, a very different style than say, a Wisconsin, which could lead to some interesting matchups this year. Arkansas has mostly managed to avoid bad losses, and Bobby Portis is a huge handful down low (17.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg).
No. 6 Xavier, 21-13, Big East
KenPom: No. 26
Best Wins: Georgetown (twice), Providence, Butler (twice), Cincinnati
Worst Losses: UTEP, Long Beach State, Auburn
The Skinny: It was a little surprising to see Xavier get seeded so highly, given their number of losses, but the Musketeers have a bunch of Top 100 wins, a dependable 6'10 big man in Matt Stainbrook (12 points, 6.8 rebounds), and according to KenPom, are a particularly unlucky team. If the bounces start finally going their way, who knows what might happen?
No. 7 VCU, 26-9, A10 Tournament champions
KenPom: No. 30
Best Wins: Northern Iowa, Oregon, Dayton, Cincinnati
Worst Losses: Old Dominion, St. Bonaventure
The Skinny: VCU would have been a scarier team earlier in the season, before Briante Weber was lost for the season with an injury, but the Rams still know how to force turnovers, push the tempo, and generally make things difficult for their opponents. Plus, their Kenyon-educated coach, Shaka Smart, is one of the best in the game. VCU is a better matchup for Ohio State since they don't have the size that some 7 or 8-seeds do, but Ohio State will need to shoot well and take care of the basketball if they want to spring the upset.
No. 8 Oregon, 25-9, Pac-12
KenPom: No. 46
Best Wins: Utah (twice), UCLA, Illinois
Worst Losses: Michigan, Washington State, Washington
The Skinny: The Ducks can get up and down the court, and they can score, led by Joseph Young (20.2 ppg), but this isn't a great defensive team, and they weren't tested in conference play like some of their peers in their region. They're going to need to shoot the daylights out of the ball if they want to spring an upset over Wisconsin.
No. 9 Oklahoma State, 18-13, Big 12
KenPom: No. 37
Best Wins: Kansas, Baylor (twice)
Worst Losses: South Carolina, Texas Tech, TCU
The Skinny: The Cowboys get some respect for playing in such a rugged conference, and they do boast the electric Le'Bryan Nash, but the Cowboys have one of the most underwhelming profiles of an at-large team, and they've lost six of their last seven. Their NCAA stay is unlikely to be an especially long one.
No. 11a, BYU, 25-9, WCC
KenPom: No. 31
Best Wins: at Gonzaga, Stanford, UMass
Worst Losses: Pepperdine (twice), San Diego
The Skinny: BYU pushes the pace more than almost anybody, and their power packed duo of Tyler Haws and Kyle Collinsworth can fill up a box score in a hurry. The Cougars struggle with their interior defense, but they're playing some of their best basketball at the right time.
No. 11b, Ole Miss, 20-12, SEC
The Skinny:: Ole Miss doesn't like to play nearly as fast as BYU, but they're a reasonably efficient offense, and Stefan Moody is a fun player who can score quickly. The Rebel's chances of sticking around will depend on their ability to control the glass against BYU.
No. 12 Wofford, 28-6, Southern regular season, tournament champions
KenPom: No. 90
Best Wins: Iona, NC State, Charleston Southern
Worst Losses: The Citadel
The Skinny: The Terriers dominated the Southern Conference, thanks to a deep team that can defend well, led by Karl Cochran, who averages 14.1 ppg and an impressive 5.8 boards for a player only a shade over six feet. Wofford's run during the regular season was very impressive (ask NC State), and they're capable of making anybody work all game long.
No. 13 Harvard, 22-7, Ivy League champions
KenPom: No. 78
Best Wins: UMass, Northeastern, Yale
Worst Losses: Dartmouth, Holy Cross, Cornell
The Skinny: Harvard is back in the dance, thanks to Yale falling apart down the stretch. The Crimson have a higher talent level than your typical Ivy team, and they're excellently coached, even if they might not quite be as good as they were last season. Wesley Saunders is good enough to play for lots of other bigger name schools though, and can bomb away from downtown. Harvard might not be able to pull the upset, but don't feel too bad for them. They're Harvard, after all.
No. 14 Georgia State, 22-9, Sun Belt regular season, tournament champions
KenPom: No. 71
Best Wins: Georgia Southern (twice), Oakland, Green Bay
Worst Losses: Texas State, Arkansas Little Rock
The Skinny: You may have gotten the wrong idea from watching the Sun Belt championship game, but Georgia State is fully capable of scoring the basketball. R.J Hunter is an excellent player (20.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg), and former Louisville Cardinal Kevin Ware has resurfaced here as a quality rotational player. The Panthers probably won't beat Baylor, but they're more than capable of being fun.
No. 15 Texas Southern, 22-12, SWAC regular season, tournament champions
KenPom: No. 207
Best Wins: Michigan State (!!!), Kansas State, Alabama State
Worst Losses: Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Prairie View
The Skinny: It's a little unusual for a SWAC team to escape the 16 line, but when you beat Michigan State and Kansas State, and battle teams like Eastern Washington, Tennessee and New Mexico State, you're going to be more than well prepared, and deserve the bump. The Tigers are going to be in for a hell of a battle, but after their nonconference schedule, there is nothing Arizona can throw at them that they'll be afraid of.
No. 16 Coastal Carolina 24-9, Big South Tournament champions
KenPom: No. 148
Best Wins: Auburn, High Point, Charleston Southern
Worst Losses: Liberty, Gardner-Webb (twice), UNC-Asheville
The Skinny: Congrats, and welcome to the Big Dance! Your reward is the flying death machine that is Wisconsin. The Chanticleers is a cool mascot, and teal is a unique color, and Warren Gills is a fun Big South player, but this is a pretty unlikely candidate for the first 16 over a 1 upset.