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Ohio State basketball still has a long road to a Big Ten title

But it could mean a better seed in the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“We know after Sunday that the Buckeyes are a top-16 team in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.”

-Bill Landis, Cleveland.com

The Ohio State men’s basketball team, which rose to No. 8 in the latest AP Poll released today, has not won an outright Big Ten title since 2011, when Aaron Craft and Jared Sullinger graced Value City Arena under the tutelage of Thad Matta. Now, under first-year head coach Chris Holtmann, the Buckeyes are a game ahead of Purdue and Michigan State and hold head-to-head wins against both teams. With four games remaining on the conference slate, Ohio State would seem to have the edge over the Boilermakers and Spartans in their quest for a regular-season title.

Unfortunately, Ohio State has the toughest remaining schedule of the trio of teams vying for a conference championship. The Buckeyes have to go on the road against Penn State--the only team to beat Ohio State in conference play--and No. 20 Michigan before heading back to Columbus for a breather against Rutgers. After the Scarlet Knights, OSU is then travelling to Bloomington, Ind., to face Indiana in the regular season finale. Even the Scarlet Knights, however, could give the Buckeyes a scare, as Rutgers lost to Purdue by just two points less than two weeks ago.

Purdue, meanwhile, goes on the road to a 4-10 Wisconsin squad, gets 8-6 Penn State at home, travels to 2-11 Illinois and finishes the season at home against 3-11 Minnesota. Michigan State plays three of its four remaining games on the road, including Minnesota, Northwestern (6-7) and Wisconsin. They will get Illinois in East Lansing, Mich., next week.

Given how things stand now in the college basketball world, Ohio State would likely garner a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, which is a far cry from their pre-season projection of missing the tourney altogether for the third-straight season. However, even that seeding could improve over the next couple weeks. The Buckeyes are one of the hottest teams in college basketball, having just slayed then-No. 3 Purdue, and, if they continue to play at the high level they have shown, could sweep their remaining conference schedule.

“He manages so much for me off the field as well as being one of the top defensive coordinators in America. And he’s a relationship person.”

-Urban Meyer, via Austin Ward, Land of 10

Greg Schiano is one of the best defensive minds in college football. While he brings that talent to bear on the football field, coaching one of the nation’s top defenses, Schiano’s skills as a former head coach make him nearly indispensable to Urban Meyer’s staff from an administrative perspective as associate head coach. Meyer credits Schiano as being one of the best, if not the best, recruiter on his staff. Now, with Alex Grinch joining the coaching staff from Washington State following the departure of Kerry Coombs for the Titans, Meyer’s defense could truly become Schiano’s as the latter could become the de facto head coach on that side of the ball.

Schiano has had a pretty rough offseason up to this point, having been considered the leading candidate for Tennessee’s head coaching spot before being nixed due to connections with Penn State. He also reportedly rejected overtures from the Patriots to join Bill Belichick’s staff as defensive coordinator following the departure of Matt Patricia for the Detroit Lions. At his current role, Schiano has a good thing going, with relative autonomy on defense without the pressure that comes with a head coaching role. He credits enjoying going to work, enjoying the people he works with and keeping his family in a good situation as his main reasons for staying in his current position. He could also become one of the highest paid assistant coaches in college football with his contract expiring this offseason.

While Schiano might aspire to a head coaching role again someday, he has a lot to look forward to at Ohio State this season and beyond. Despite losing the likes of Denzel Ward and Sam Hubbard, Schiano returns an absurd amount of talent on defense, including defensive end Nick Bosa and a host of cornerbacks to continue Ohio State’s defensive back lineage.

“Snyder had not lost in college since Iowa State’s Kyven Gadson beat him in the 2015 NCAA final at 197 pounds.”

-Skylar Rogers, The Ohio State University

No. 2 Ohio State wrestling dropped No. 4 Michigan in a tight, 18-15 match yesterday in Ann Arbor, Mich., but the story of the day was that senior heavyweight Kyle Snyder, the top wrestler in his weight class in the NCAA and widely considered the greatest wrestler in the world, lost his first collegiate wrestling match since 2015. Along with Snyder, Ohio State’s Luke Pletcher (133 pounds) Micah Jordan (157 pounds), and Bo Jordan (174 pounds) all fell in their respective matchups to lower-ranked opponents from Michigan. Along with Snyder, it was Pletcher’s first loss this season.

Snyder fell to Michigan’s Adam Coon, the No. 1 heavyweight in the NCAA, by a 3-1 score. Coon is listed as seven inches taller and 60 pounds heavier than his Ohio State counterpart, but Snyder was still considered the favorite heading into the match. Snyder is a two-time NCAA champion and an Olympic gold medalist as the youngest US wrestler in history to earn gold.

However, the rest of Snyder’s team was able to overtake Michigan. After their narrow loss to top-ranked Penn State on Feb. 3, the Buckeyes had another tightly-contested match against the Wolverines. Ohio State pulled out a victory on bonus points from Nathan Tomasello (125 pounds) and Kollin Moore (197 pounds). The two teams evenly split the matches 5-5, but the Buckeyes came out with the higher point total on wins from Joey McKenna (141 pounds), Ke-Shawn Hayes (149 pounds) and Myles Martin (184 pounds).

The Buckeyes head into their regular-season finale next week against No. 6 NC State in Raleigh. They will have a brief respite before the Big Ten Championships in East Lansing, scheduled for March 3-4, with the NCAA Championships coming up later in the month at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Despite losing to Penn State last weekend, the Buckeyes remain the No. 2 team in the nation.

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