Ohio State Earns a Two Seed in West Region, Will Open with No. 15 Iona Friday in Dayton

By 11W Staff on March 17, 2013 at 6:37p
Thad Matta's team opens with Iona Friday in Dayton

CHICAGO – Ohio State stood triumphantly on the United Center court, confetti falling, nets flailing. The Buckeyes had just won their third Big Ten Tournament in the past four years, fourth in the Thad Matta era and fifth overall.

But that conquest quickly took a backseat to a massive flat screen TV in the victorious Ohio State locker room. The NCAA Tournament Selection Show is a must-see event in the United States, and it doesn’t just stop with fans.

Huddled together with the Big Ten Tournament championship trophy close by, the Buckeyes found out they’d be playing the first weekend of the tournament in Dayton, a mere 78 miles from Value City Arena.

Ohio State, a 2 seed in the West Region, will play No. 15 seed Iona in the first round on Friday. If the Buckeyes win, they’ll play the winner of No. 7 seed Notre Dame and No. 10 seed Iowa State on Sunday.

Game times will be announced late tonight.

“Hopefully we hit our stride at the right time,” Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said. “We have to go back to work. We’ve learned the past two years one bad half of basketball can end your season.”

Potential regional semifinal matchups at Staples Center in Los Angeles include No. 6 seed Arizona, No. 11 Belmont, No. 3 New Mexico and No. 14 Harvard. The regional final and path to the Final Four includes No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 16 Southern, No. 8 Pittsburgh, No. 9 Wichita State, No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 12 Ole Miss, No. 4 Kansas State, No. 13 Boise State and No. 13 La Salle.

But the Buckeyes first must take care of business at UD Arena, which might be close to home but hasn’t exactly acted as a kind host in recent years. Ohio State is 1-2 in the last three games in the venerable gym, losing as a 2 seed in the second round to No. 7 Georgetown in 2006 and as an 8 seed to No. 9 Siena in double overtime in 2009.

“The fun is just about to begin,” said Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft. “We need to take it one game at a time, and hopefully there’s more than one game we can play.”

Ohio State drew a favorable road to the Final Four. The highest-ranked competition are both so-called mid-major programs – Gonzaga and New Mexico – and the rest of the higher seeds are arguably the weakest in the entire tournament.

First comes the Iona Gaels, 20-13 and champions of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. But don’t let that number in the loss column fool you; Iona can pose problems for major programs. The Gaels beat Wake Forest and Georgia this season and lost to Rutgers by two.

Iona possesses the country’s second-highest scoring offense, averaging 80.7 points per game. Point guard Momo Jones, a transfer that led Arizona to the brink of the Final Four in 2010, is the nation’s third-leading scorer at 23 points per game. The Jones-Craft duel will be one of the most talked about first-round storylines. Count Craft among the excited parties.

“Absolutely,” he said. “They’re a great team. Obviously there’s no bad teams left in the tournament. They like to get up and push the ball up and down a lot. This is going to be a keep-your-poise game. We’re going to see if we can have some fun with it.”

One month ago to the day, Ohio State lost by 22 at Wisconsin. On Sunday, the Buckeyes defeated the Badgers by seven, a 29-point swing. Madness in Madison morphed into elation at the Madhouse on Madison for Ohio State.

The Buckeyes enter the NCAA Tournament on an eight-game win streak, with four wins coming against ranked opponents. Every team strives to play its best basketball in March, and Ohio State more often than not has been able to accomplish that under Matta. He is now 50-12 during college basketball’s most competitive time of year.

High expectations were levied at this season’s team, mostly due to the end result a year ago – the Final Four. But most saw a No. 4 national ranking a bit much in the preseason. The February swoon – three losses in four games capped by the blowout at Wisconsin – seemed to reinforce those thoughts. This hasn’t been your normal year, though, and maybe Ohio State is just following the strange script in an unusual season. 

“I’ve loved this team the whole way through,” Matta said. “I didn’t know how talented we were going to be or how many games we could win. But I love going to practice with them, watching film and doing all those things.”

A coach with equally impressive credentials as Matta is Gonzaga’s Mark Few. For 15 seasons, the Bulldogs have been trying to beat down the door occupied by major programs. They finally did it this season, earning a No. 1 seed.

“Gonzaga gets everybody’s best shot when they show up,” selection committee chairman Mike Bobinski said during the selection show on CBS. “In our judgment that’s a very complete and very strong basketball team, and in our collective estimation they deserve to be on that 1 line.”

Few has gone to the NCAA Tournament in all 14 seasons at the Spokane, Wash., school. But he’s never been able to guide Gonzaga to the regional final and has only reached the Sweet 16 three times.

One of those short stays was last season, when Ohio State beat Gonzaga in the second round, 73-66. A rematch would be for the Final Four.

Tournament success for the Buckeyes has been at every level except national champion during Matta’s tenure. There has been a trip to the national championship game and a first-round loss.

One common denominator in the good years was playing well all of March. But anyone who believes there is a plan for March Madness is mistaken. The only thing known is that it’s a three-week stretch of the unknown.

“It’s all business,” senior forward Evan Ravenel said.


Here's a look at Ohio State's group:

Ohio State's group in the West Region

Finally, we want your bracket. If you come out on top, you'll take home a signed Jared Sullinger ball.


Comments Show All Comments

spqr2008's picture

Whose baby was being passed around the team?

Bucks43201's picture

...not mine

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

The Braden's picture

It looks lika lil' Matta!

Nick's picture

Don't think it is anyone's. Looks like a make a wish type of deal going on.

House804's picture

I thought it was Aaron Craft sitting on Lenzelle's lap...I don't see him anywhere! Haha...

We talkin' bout practice?!  Not the game I love...the game I die for.  Practice?!

Baroclinicity's picture

Go Bucks!

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Tough draw for the 7 / 10 - two very good teams.  Arizona is an underrated 6.  Better play at a high level.

Read my entire screen name....

dan_isaacs's picture

OB, off topic question for you:  where did you get the image of the Neon Block O?  

Dan Isaacs

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

??  I googled Ohio state images.

Read my entire screen name....

ArizonaBuckeye's picture

Watch out for New Mexico in that bracket. Very solid basketball team.

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." -Woody Hayes-

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Yea, we got a tough draw.  I would rather be GT or Miami as the #2.  

Read my entire screen name....

Bucks43201's picture

Vitale says OSU to the Final 4.

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

M Man's picture

I'll be even more foolishly/arrogantly specific; OSU meets Wisconsin in the West regional finals.  And yes; OSU to the Final Four.

d5k's picture

My homer bracket has the top 4 B1G teams in the final four with Wisconsin in the regional final.  OSU over Indiana for the title.  Honestly though, I feel we deserved a 2 but no way Michigan and Wisconsin are 4 and 5 seeds this year.  Wisconsin should've been a 4 at worst and Michigan a solid 3.

Wobble in our Shoes's picture

Anybody know when the session lineups are announced? The full ticket is going for like $1000+, but individual sessions are much cheaper.

Baroclinicity's picture

What's the methodology behind deciding the play-in matchups...anyone know?

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

cplunk's picture

Four of the playin games are the lowest eight teams. They play the 1 seeds.
the other playin games go to the lowest seeded at large teams. (the bubble teams that made it). That is to reward some of the small conference winners rather than rewarding, for example, the number 6 or 7 team in from a power conference. The small conference team won their way in. The at large didn't.

Baroclinicity's picture

Awesome.  Thanks.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

awwwwwwop's picture

I think this is a really stupid system.  In my opinion, the teams that won conf. tourneys should get to play right out and the 8 worst at-larges should play the play-in games.  Alternatively, all the 16 seeds could be forced to play a play in game.  But to me splitting them up is dumb.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

cplunk's picture

I don't like it much either.
if it were up to me, it'd be conference regular season champs and conference tournie champs only. Can't win? Not in. Forget at larges entirely.

ATXbucknut's picture

Jay Williams is a douche.  Why did he have to take that dig at Craft on national TV? Crap face.  AC gets no respect I tell ya.

Squirrel Master's picture

all the guy does is win and lead a very talented team to final fours and tourney championships. They just don't know!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

What did he say?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

ATXbucknut's picture

Dickie V made a rhetorical comment that "You would lose sleep if you knew Aaron Craft was going to be guarding the next day."  Jay Williams then chimed in awkwardly, "You are incorrect. I would not lose sleep if Aaron Craft were going to guard me."  Something along those lines.

Powers's picture

FWIW Jason Williams was the most unguardable PG off the dribble that i have seen since 2000

Baroclinicity's picture

I put this in the forum, but Jay Williams picked Ohio State to win it all...

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

SilverBulletNYC's picture

Yep. And he points to Craft as the reason why. 

The South will NOT rise again!

andyb's picture

I would take it as less of a dig on Craft and more of an Ego statement from an old point guard. Like "he couldn't guard me, do you know who I am??" They all do it..more of an "I still got it" statement.

dytbuckeye's picture

when will we know what time they will play? Trying to get tickets and there is a choice between 12:00 and 6:00, and I don't want to watch Indiana...

Wobble in our Shoes's picture

I tried to find out: http://www.ncaa.com/game/basketball-men/d1/2013/03/22/iona-ohio-st?ncaa_...
This NCAA site says 11:00 AM, so maybe the first session?
DISREGARD THIS! It appears to be a placeholder time.

Bucks43201's picture

MoMo Jones has never faced an on-the-ball-defender like Aaron Craft. We know this!
Go Bucks!

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

dubjayfootball90's picture

Love Thad just chillin' with a big ole smirk on his face

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

bhartman13's picture

I love this bracket for the Buckeyes.  The matchups favor their style of play and if they continue to play with confidence then Atlanta is a likely possibility.  New Mexico is a tough team but I think tOSU's defense will be too much for anyone in this bracket.

1stYrBuckIClub's picture

I was ecstatic when we got in Gonzaga's region... and then my dreams were crushed when I realized we were in the Lobos region.  They'll be the team going to the final four.

Poison nuts's picture

No they won't.
edit: I didn't DV you 1styr -- I just think OSU is headed to the final four...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

OSU can definitely go to the Final Four out of this draw.  New Mexico is a little overhyped IMO.  Gonzaga is the most beatable 1 seed, Kansas State doesn't scare me at 4, and of course this team has beaten Wisconsin twice already.  Arizona is an interesting 6, but OSU should be able to take down anybody from 7 on down.  Watch out for Notre Dame?  Maybe if they wear those fugly lime green jerseys again...lol...

Class of 2010.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

Arizona got off to that hot start this season, but if they were any decent they would have won that conference.
New Mexico is plenty good, but you know, they tend to seed good teams third. I don't really know why everyone on TV and online needs to say "Watch out for New Mexico!" I'm in the habit of watching out for top 10 teams, thanks!
Like I said in the selection thread, I think we're the favorites in this region. Anyone who complained about the draw two years ago (always a bad excuse IMO) has to feel pleased about this season's edition.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Agreed.  I'm not saying New Mexico is bad, but Final Four?  Sheesh. 

Class of 2010.

Indy_Buck87's picture

The  CBS crew totally showed no respect for the big ten.  OSU was not mentioned at all and they even said Notre Dame could beat the buckeyes. For clarity.  The team that just won the toughest conference tourney in the nation and 8 straight games, 6 over tourney teams will lose in the 2nd  round???? pleasseee. I rarely agree with Pat Forde but I agree with his tweet that the  buckeyes could win it all.  I love the bracket the buckeyes are in as well. Going into the dance with a lot of positive momentum.   I see a rematch with whiskey for a final 4 trip on the horizon. 

I know of only two things that are infinite, space and human stupidity.....and I'm not sure about space". Albert Einstein.

RedStorm45's picture

IU is 27-6. We're 26-7. They're 3-3 in their last 6. We're on an 8 game win streak. Split the season series and won the conference tourney.  Why so much love for IU?  Analysts are saying they should have been #1 overall! Wtf?

theOHIOSTATE21's picture

agreed mostly but to play devil's advocate, they did post non conference wins over UNC and Georgetown while we lost out marquee games non conf games vs Duke and Kansas (Marquette was canceled which could have helped assuming we won) Similarly they dont have any 'bad' losses just like OSU.

zbd's picture

OSU can beat or lose to anyone. Just give 100%.  CBS showed the game, Matta won, and they interviewed Crean.  I don't like Crean more every time I hear him talk.

Squirrel Master's picture

It is blowing my mind how all these pundits are praising MSU, Indy, UM. 
OSU beat all of them and pretty handly with a few of them. They just talked about Nix and how no one can stop MSU with him. Uh, TWICE!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

buckeye4life050233's picture

this is probably a better draw than any we have had in previous years......it always seems that when we draw the east or midwest bracket and play close to home the committee decides to load up our bracket......i prefer the western bracket bc it is not loaded like the east and midwest bracket with multiple teams that could make the final 4

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Top to bottom, this year the west is the most competitive. Weakest one seed, but seeds 2-8 are all very good teams.  In addition to OSU and Wisconsin, Indiana, UM, and MSU are in the toughest half brackets with GT, Louisville, and Miami in the easiest. 

Read my entire screen name....

d5k's picture

New Mexico is the weakest 3 other than Marquette don't believe Doug Gottlieb.  See kenpom.com.  RPI greatly overrated the Mountain West this year.  Wisconsin is by far the toughest 5 but Kansas State is a complete joke 4 seed.  Gonzaga and Kansas are the weaker 1 seeds but Gonzaga is no pushover.  Notre Dame plays Wisconsaball but they aren't even on the same planet in terms of defense.

milesdavis's picture

The best draw we could have hoped for.
The easiest region with a weak 1 3 4. My only fear is wischumpster

RedStorm45's picture

Eff these analysts.  8 overall seed?? We're the hottest or 2nd hottest team in the country.  8 game win streak.  ONE game worse than IU (27-6 vs 26-7) and just won the toughest conference tourney.  If IU had won the tourney everyone would be crowning them.  It's fine. I like being overlooked.

kr66osu's picture

pretty much just like last year where everyone was picking Florida State and Vanderbilt to make the final four from our bracket. They never learn

slippy's picture

Guys what about this team is any good?  We have the easiest bracket by far.

Gametime's picture

You guys have it all wrong - we're EXACTLY where we want to be media wise. We're low key after proving  we have what it takes to beat the best teams in the best league. Our team is peaking right now - Q has essentially had his coming out party in the BIG Tourney & could solidify himself as the #2 go-to scorer behind Thomas. Aaron Craft has his swagger back on offense (and has since he went off on Sparty & beating the Hoosiers in Bloomington). 

And what better angle to play from than the "we get no respect" role? Everyone is buying in & contributing. IMO as long as we don't run into a team who's true strength is inside game/bigs, we have the length & hustle on the perimeter to frustrate any backcourt in the nation. 
For what it's worth, as long as Lenzelle Smith stays on the bench, and we ATTACK with our offense - we'll be good. I think Thad has to realize that he has a team full of slashers, Sam Thompson, Q, Scott, Craft, need to go AT guys, and we need to play above the rim. Thomas & maybe Q are the only consistent Inside-Out threats.

We couldn't have gotten a better draw for us - the path is set, we just have continue to play our best D & attack on offense, & even as a 2 seed, I see us getting that "team of destiny" feel ala the '11 UConn team.

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

Smanpoint10's picture

We have beaten several teams this year whose strength was the inside game. I don't see why everyone thinks we couldn't beat one if we played one

Nick's picture

We can but not with our bigs. I think Thad figured it out and that "small" lineup is the strongest because of the quickness, length and scoring between Thomas, Thompson, Ross and Craft. Scott is a liability on offense but makes up for it with his defense. 

RollBucks's picture

I disagree with you about Scott being a liability on offense. He does not do a lot of scoring himself, but he can break down a defense and help his more offensive minded teammates. You have to respect his incredible quickness.
Can I just say that Ross played like a man today. The offensive production was obvious but the defense was pretty good and he was a monster on the boards. I think he is strong enough to get down low and get dirty enough to help the serious rebounding disadvantage that is expected when we go small. 

Roll with it.

d5k's picture

And you can't ignore the fact that he is a penetrator who never turns it over and has one of the best assist rates in the country.

Squirrel Master's picture

hold on there, never turns it over? He has gotten a lot better lately but he still coughs the ball up sometimes when he drives. His handles are the worst part of his game, even worst than his defense which is getting really better.
I like Ross and see a real talent blossoming but he still has some quirks to work out and lots of growing to do. I also do like his 3 stroke. Silky!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

yrro's picture

I think it's a factor of finding how this team plays together. We struggle against a team like that playing them straight up - that's what we learned against Duke, Kansas, Indiana, and Michigan State the first time.
Given how we have done against similar competition at the end of the season I am still worried, but much less so.

Knarcisi's picture

We go as Craft goes. Nice to also get big contributions from Slam and Q. Will be nice for Tank to get his outside stroke going. We need to remember 3rd game in 3 days and he played all 40 minutes yesterday. Would love to see something available from the post if we were to need it. If not too much of a defensive liability, would love to see Slam and Q on the floor with Tank. Would allow Tank to Flex into the post and gives us a real perimeter threat. 

ih8rolltyde's picture

With Craft/Scott and ravs, or hell Craft and Scott and go small, but quick and long. Love the idea.

Slam and LaQ comin along at the right time.

****igan smells like old water that hot dogs were boiled in.  FACT

nightmuse's picture

Luckily, I already had 5 tickets to Dayton:) Go Bucks!!!!! 

Jbuck's picture

I am a buckeye at heart and also a recent lobo alumnus. I watched a couple lobo games in the pit this past season and they are a legitimate 3 seed. Tony Snell is their number one playmaker and he is much like a Q mold, tall and lanky, has great handles and can score from anywhere. They have not seen any defense near big ten caliber play and I think that will be a big advantage for the bucks. I hope they meet up, it should be a great game and I will be torn on who to cheer for. Lobos only lost by three points last year to Louisville in the tourny and we all now how they did.

theobi's picture

No disrespect to New Mexico, but what exactly is so great about them? .425 field goal percentage (218th in the nation), 127th in points per game, 142nd in rebounds, best wins are UNLV, Cincinnati and UConn with losses to to Air Force and SDSU. They've been played relatively close by Wyoming, New Mexico St, Fresno State and Nevada. I like OSU to the Elite Eight, at least.

headina's picture

2 things:
1. Why is everyone on new mexicos nuts so hard?
2. Amir Williams better play like a man if we expect a legit shot at a final four/title. I mean how have they not beat the living $&@! Out of him in practice for months allowing no foul calls on the defender.  bust out the blocking pads and toughen him up by clubbing him. Chin the fricken ball and dont dribble or bring it down low where craft wannabes are. I am at a loss at how poor he is on offense. His average stat line is 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block, 1 travel, 7 turnovers, 4 missed catches, 4 fouls, 1 jump ball, and 9 times with his hands on his head. 


Squirrel Master's picture

You must be prone to exaggeration. 7 turnovers a game? Come on. He had 27 turnovers for the whole season and the buckeyes played 33 games total. That is less than a turnover a game! oh and he is averaging 3.8 ppg and 4 rpg.
but keep talking because you sound very smart making up stats to prove your point.
Amir Williams should not be starting, period. He isn't ready and really was never supposed to be. Ravenel started the season as the starting center. His early failure forced Amir to start before he was supposed to, next year. So rail on Amir all you want but really you are "at a loss" over what truly is the backup center. Why don't you concentrate on the fact that this team is 8-0 in the last 8 games and the guys who are supposed to be carrying this team are doing their job.
and just to help you out, Amir Williams last night had 5 pts and 4 rbs in 16 minutes. He made at least 3 plays that I can point to that helped his team get a score, including an assist. If anything you should be harping on Thomas for his horrible shooting night. But you want to say all of that about a guy who is being asked to do what he can for a short period of time, less than a whole half of minutes, and gets the support of his team and his coaching staff. I have not once heard anything about Matta questioning Amir and what he is doing. Not once! Only jackasses like yourselves who don't even look at the off ball stuff. Only at what you want to see.
You must have missed the devastating pick he put on Bruiskoqskowitz (whatever his Fing name is) to allow Thomas to drive for a layup.
You must have missed the boxout that he did that opened up the lane for Craft to also get a layup.
You must have missed how he basically helped shut down Berggren who only scored 2 points even though he has eaten up teams like Indy. In the 3 games that Wisky played OSU, the 2 games Amir played more than 15 minutes, Berggren had below average games. The one that Amir got into foul trouble, Berggren beat up OSU with a typical 15 and 8.
Amir doesn't look good out there but what he can provide for probably 10-15 minutes helps this team a lot. He just isn't ready to play for a whole game and be a center piece to a team yet. But compared to how he was last year, he is getting much better.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

headina's picture

I'm not going to sit here and argue with you because as far as I know we are on the same team, however things like boxing out and setting screens are expected at the jv level in high school, especially as a 5 man in a motion offense with plenty of ball screens. His lack of contribution to this team, specifically on the offensive end is surprising. To attack my knowledge of the game is funny to do through an anonymous user name when you don't know my background in the game. All I was pointing out is that Amir is a liability to this team if he doesn't raise his level of play. I love Amir because he is a buckeye. Period. 


Squirrel Master's picture

But the point is that its those little things like properly boxing out and setting a proper pick that does help this team. You say high school, I say there are a lot of players in college that can't even do that.

No questioning your knowledge, questioning your evaluation. Anyone can see Amir has a long way to go. But what many don't see is the growth he IS doing. Simple box out and proper picks were even a struggle for him early on. Will he ever fix his stone hands? Probably not. But doesn't mean he isn't contributing the way he can. Even his presence on the court does affect opponents shooting.

But mostly, just enjoy this run because despite the faults of the individuals, the whole has become a fun show!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Michibuck's picture

Phony stats. These are lies. Pathetic.

allbucksallthetime's picture

What a thrilling game again today!  My hats off to the coaching staff and players for continuing to believe.  To win 8 in a row in the B1G at any point, let alone at the end of the season, is significant. 
It's a series of one game seasons now.  Let the good times roll and, as always, Go Bucks!

captain obvious's picture

We play UGLY and WIN ugly but you have to love this team.

I'm a friend of thunder is it any wonder lightning strikes me

Knarcisi's picture

Wisconsin dictates an ugly style.  They don't make mistakes, are patient, and squeeze the opponent.  We were able to sustain and pull away.  The truly ugly part was the poor outside shooting on both ends, but other than that, a hard fought, well played game.  Wisconsin gives anyone problems.  Again, we go as Craft goes, and are getting nice production from others.  Our defense allows us to play with anyone.  We are ready. 

ARMYBUCK's picture

Jay Williams has Ohio State winning it all, Digger has them in the championship game, Bilas and Vitale each have them in the final four.  When I look at Ohio States bracket I see the same thing,  I dont see an easier road to the final four.  If Craft remains aggressive and Q doesnt hesitate when he gets in the game I tend to agree with Jay Williams prediction.  Its gonna be a fun ride!  GO BUCKS!  Oh, and I cant stand Seth Greenberg.  Just saying.