Projections have Buckeyes traveling cross country

Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann and the Buckeyes are up to 18th in the RPI rankings.
Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann and the Buckeyes are up to 18th in the RPI rankings.

COLUMBUS — Ohio State went 2-0 last week to secure the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament and finish 15-3 in the conference, but the Buckeyes still have work to do to improve their seeding in the NCAA tournament.

Despite the surprising finish, the polls remain higher on the Buckeyes – who moved up to No. 13 in the Associated Press top 25 this week – than the data-based metrics like RPI (18th) or (15th). OSU is 8-7 against the RPI top 100, and a potentially good showing in the Big Ten tournament away from being a top-three seed.

In this year’s NCAA tournament, moving up could be a huge difference for the Buckeyes. There are regionals in Detroit and Pittsburgh, and even Charlotte and Nashville, but OSU is too far down in the pecking order, and currently slated to travel across the country.

Here is where OSU is projected to play 11 days before selection Sunday:

ESPN: No. 4 going to Boise. The NCAA tournament is all about matchups, and this would be a tough draw Ohio State. ESPN's projection has the Buckeyes playing Buffalo, which will be one of the most dangerous midmajor teams in the field if it wins the MAC tournament next week.

CBS: No. 5 going to San Diego. This model has the Buckeyes playing the winner of a play-in game, which is a toss up. The teams barely in the tournament and barely out will be changing by the day up until March 11.

SB Nation: No. 4 going to Boise. Vermont is OSU's projected opponent here, and the Catamounts have dominated the America East this season. Vermont came close to beating Kentucky on the road in November.

USA Today: No. 5 going to Boise. Of all the scenarios, this is the most preferable for the Buckeyes. The Jackrabbits are good – they hung 94 points on Buffalo in a November win – but don't have favorable defensive matchups for Ohio State's two best players, Keita Bates-Diop and Jae'Sean Tate. The 5/12 game is notorious for upsets, though this would be a tough one for South Dakota State.

Ohio State can improve its standing in the Big Ten tournament, which will begin Friday. OSU will play the winner of Penn State and Northwestern in the quarterfinals.

Contact Nicholas Piotrowicz at, 419-724-6110 or on Twitter @NickPiotrowicz