After not qualifying for the men’s NCAA basketball tournament the past two years, expectations were not very high this season under first year head coach Chris Holtmann. So when the Buckeyes won 8 straight Big Ten games, climbed as high as number #7 in the polls, finished conference play in 2nd place with a 15-3 mark and went 24-8 overall, it’s safe to say Ohio State has everyones expectations to this point. Well you can add an invite to the “Big Dance” as a number #5 seed to that list of accomplishments for the overachieving 2017-18 Bucks.
5th seeded OSU will take on #12th seeded South Dakota State in the West region in Boise, Idaho on Thursday, March 14th at 4pm eastern on 1480 WHBC and on TNT-TV. Should the Buckeyes win their first round game, they would take on the winner of #4th seeded Gonzaga and #13th seeded UNC Greensboro on Saturday in Boise.
Holtmann, the Big Ten coach of the year, will rely on the Big Ten’s player of the year, Keita Bates-Diop to lead his surprising Buckeyes on Thursday against S.D. St. who finished 28-6. Bates-Diop averaged 19.4ppg and 8.8rpg to lead OSU in both categories. The Jackrabbits are led by junior guard Mike Daum who averages 23.8ppg.
Vegas has the Buckeyes listed as an 8 point favorite over the Jackrabbits.