By virtue of their last-second, double-overtime win against Indiana on Friday night, the No. 16 Ohio State Buckeyes secured themselves one of the top two seeds in next week’s Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. From there, all eyes of Buckeye Nation turned to Sunday’s matchup between No. 2 Michigan State and Wisconsin.
If the Badgers could upset the Spartans, Ohio State would earn the tournament’s No. 1 seed and a share of the B1G regular season title. If Sparty were to win, the Buckeyes would officially be the tourney’s No. 2 team— still pretty incredible given the preseason expectations.
However, with MSU’s 68-63 victory this afternoon, Tom Izzo and company are again the Big Ten’s top-team heading into the conference tournament. That means that the Buckeyes will open up their postseason run on Friday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. ET from Madison Square Garden in New York City. They will take on the winner of Thursday’s No. 7 vs. No. 10 game. The contest will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
Currently Penn State is slotted in as the seventh-seed, and Northwestern at 10. However, that could change depending on the outcome of the Nittany Lions’ game against Nebraska later this afternoon.
Should things remain unchanged by the end of the day, I won’t need to tell you that two of Ohio State’s three conference losses this season came at the hands of Penn State. However, they did beat Northwestern in a hard-fought mid-January matchup, 71-65. The Buckeyes could also have a rematch against Indiana, should Nebraska beat PSU.
As the rest of the Big Ten Tournament seedings solidify themselves throughout the afternoon, we will keep you updated on how they impact the Buckeyes’ Big Ten Tournament plans.
No matter how the Buckeyes fare at the world’s most famous arena, they are guaranteed at least a week and a half of rest before they return to the NCAA Tournament. Since the Big Ten saw fit to move the men’s basketball tournament up a week to hold it at MSG— the schedule change came so that the arena could host the Big East Tournament during the normal window— all Big Ten teams will be recuperating as other schools battle for their conference crowns.
However, late last week, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany admitted that the condensing of the schedule to accommodate the move to Madison Square Garden “wasn’t healthy” for the players, and it is not something that the conference will do again.
The wear and tear of the compacted season has seemingly hit the already thin and inexperienced Ohio State squad hard coming down the stretch. Even though they won their final two games— following a two-game skid against PSU and Michigan—, the Buckeyes have looked tired for nearly a month, especially with their Big Ten Player of the Year frontrunner, Keita Bates-Diop.
KBD appears to have been the most impacted by the schedule, as he has had to carry so much of the team on both ends of the floor. However, the nearly week-long break before the B1G Tournament, and then the ensuing week and a half off before the Big Dance, could get the Buckeyes back to the energized style of play that was their calling card when they were playing their best ball of the season.