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Men’s Basketball: Ohio State returns to NCAA Tournament, selected as No. 5 seed in west regional

Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann claps after a Buckeye defensive stop in the first half in the game against Radford on Nov. 12. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

Ohio State will dance again.

For the first time since the 2014-15 season, the Buckeyes will play in the NCAA Tournament. They are the No. 5 seed in the west regional, hosted by No. 4-overall seed Xavier. Ohio State will face No. 12 South Dakota St. in the first round of the tournament in Boise, Idaho.

The remaining top four seeds in the west regional are No. 2 North Carolina, No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 Gonzaga.

Should the Buckeyes advance past South Dakota St., they will face the winner of the Gonzaga-UNC Greensboro matchup in the Round of 32.

Ohio State is joined throughout the bracket by Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan. Purdue is the No. 2 seed in the east regional and Michigan State represents the No. 3 seed in the midwest regional.

The appearance in the March Madness tournament represents a major turnaround for a program that failed to reach the NIT a season ago. In the first year of the Chris Holtmann-era, the head coach led the Buckeyes to their best regular-season finish at 24-7 since Ohio State went 25-6 in the 2011-12 season.

Though the season was a major turnaround, Penn State was able to get the better of the Buckeyes in all three meetings, including the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. The Nittany Lions seemed to have the answer for the Buckeyes every time, relying on guards Tony Carr and Shep Garner for point production.

Given the struggles of Ohio State to defend against guards with a size advantage, the Buckeyes will hope to avoid playing any teams that lean heavily on guard play for scoring.

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