After losing a brusing contest against Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament championship game, Ohio State will head to the NCAA East Region as a number 2 seed. The Buckeyes will play Thursday against Loyola (Maryland).
Before we get too wrapped up in March Madness, I hope all Ohio State fans take a moment to recognize what a fine season the Buckeyes had. The team beat Duke and Florida early in the season, played in the toughest conference in the country, overcame some mid-season struggles, and won its last two regular season games to win a share of the Big Ten regular season title. Winning the Big Ten regular season title is an accomplishment worth savoring, and Coach Thad Matta is making it seem routine. What a fabulous hire he has been! The Buckeyes then played two excellent games in the Big Ten Tournament before falling to the Spartans in a classic, physical slugfest. Congratulations to Michigan State for winning a very tough game between two evenly matched teams.
Now that we’ve taken a moment to appreciate the season so far, let’s turn to the Big Dance. I don’t want to hear any whining from Ohio State fans about being put in the toughest regional, or drawing unfavorable match-ups, or having to deal with different styles of officiating. If you want to be a champion, you need to suck it up and find a way to overcome the obstacles in your path. The last week of the regular season and the Big Ten Tournament suggested that Ohio State may be starting to gel as a very good team. We’ll find out soon enough — starting Thursday, against the Loyola Greyhounds — whether this year’s version of the Buckeyes is made of championship stuff.