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OSU, Michigan open NCAA tournament close to home

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Michigan forward Jon Horford, left, drives to the basket while defended by Ohio State center Amir Williams during their Feb. 5 game at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes are a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, while the Wolverines are a No. 4 seed. Both will open the tournament this week in their home states.

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Ohio State and Michigan will both open the NCAA tournament close to home.

The Buckeyes (26-7) earned a No. 2 seed and will open Friday against Iona in Dayton while the fourth-seeded Wolverines (26-7) will play Thursday in Auburn Hills, Mich., against South Dakota State. OSU is in the West Region, where Gonzaga is the top seed.

The rivals will enter the tournament barreling in opposite directions, with an eight-game winning streak and a Big Ten Tournament title pushing OSU to a No. 2 seed while a late-season slide dropped Michigan to a No. 4. The Wolverines were likely undermined by a non-conference schedule ranked 187th nationally, an untenable road loss at Penn State, and a 6-6 stretch run.

The Big Ten got seven tournament bids, including top-seeded Indiana, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. Louisville is the top overall seed.

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