Ohio State Earns No. 3 Seed in NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament

By Dan Hope on March 12, 2023 at 8:27 pm
Ohio State women’s basketball celebrates its Big Ten Tournament win over Indiana
Matt Krohn – USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State is a No. 3 seed in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.

As one of the top 16 teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament, the Buckeyes will host first- and second-round games in Columbus for the first time since 2018. Ohio State will face No. 14 seed James Madison in the first round on Saturday (1:30 p.m., ESPN2) and play either No. 6 seed North Carolina or the winner of a First Four game between Purdue and St. John’s in the second round on Monday.

Ohio State is the third-seeded team in Seattle Regional 3 behind No. 1 seed Virginia Tech and No. 2 seed UConn, setting up a potential matchup between the Buckeyes and Huskies in the Sweet 16 in Seattle if both teams advance out of the first weekend.

The Buckeyes earned their highest March Madness seed in five years by going 23-6 in the regular season and making a run to the final of the Big Ten Tournament. Ohio State won its first 19 consecutive games to start the season – a school record – before ultimately finishing fourth in the regular-season Big Ten standings. The Buckeyes cemented their position as a high seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament by upsetting No. 1 seed Indiana in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament before losing to Iowa in the final.

James Madison, Ohio State’s first-round opponent, will bring a 26-7 record to Columbus as the champion of the Sun Belt Conference.

North Carolina, Ohio State’s most likely potential second-round opponent, brings a 21-10 record to Columbus after finishing sixth in the ACC this season. Ohio State could potentially face a rematch against a conference opponent in the second round if Purdue – who handed the Buckeyes a 73-65 loss in their only regular-season matchup – can beat St. John’s in a First Four game Thursday (which will also be played in Columbus) and upset UNC in an 11-6 game Saturday.

Tickets for all of the NCAA Tournament games at the Schottenstein Center on Thursday, Saturday and Monday are available for purchase on Ticketmaster.

After making the Sweet 16 as a No. 6 seed last year, Ohio State will look to take advantage of its higher seed and make a deeper run this year. While the Buckeyes have made it to the Sweet 16 three times since 2016, they haven’t advanced to the Elite Eight since 1993, when they went all the way to the national championship game as a No. 1 seed before losing to Texas Tech.

Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff says the Buckeyes have to focus on beating James Madison first, as the Dukes are capable of giving Ohio State a test.

“I think we got a really difficult game in round one,” McGuff said. “James Madison's a great program. Always well-coached. I haven't watched them a lot this year, but they're a team that's used to being in the tournament, so this is familiar territory for them and I know they'll be well-prepared. And that'll be a very difficult challenge for us in the first game.”

That said, McGuff is confident his team is capable of making a deep tournament run this year.

“I think that we've played well enough at times this year, when we can be the best version of ourselves, and we’ve got a little healthier down the stretch,” McGuff said. “If we can be the best version of ourselves, which is what we'll try to prepare this week to be, then I feel confident in our ability to compete with the best teams in the country for sure.

The Buckeyes will be looking for better results than the last time they hosted NCAA Tournament games as a No. 3 seed in 2018, when they were upset by No. 11 seed Central Michigan in the second round.

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