Ohio State held off Indiana in a crucial Big Ten tournament quarterfinal game Thursday afternoon in Chicago.
Here are some of the potential ramifications for the Buckeyes and Hoosiers:
1. Ohio State likely secured more than a chance to play again Friday.
At the start of the day, coach Chris Holtmann’s Buckeyes generally were projected as a 10, 11 or 12 seed according to bracketmatrix.com, leaving little margin for error when it comes to securing an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
The victory against another team on the bubble should help their cause while a defeat would have been devastating to their hopes.
The Buckeyes can further strengthen their case by knocking off No. 1 seed Michigan State in the tournament quarterfinals. That game tips at 12:30 Friday afternoon at the United Center in Chicago.
2. Indiana’s hopes of making the NCAA tournament dimmed considerably.
The Hoosiers, in their second season under former Dayton coach Archie Miller, have been one of the focal points of bubble discussions recently as they made a late-season surge.
Prior to the game, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had the Buckeyes as his last team in and the Hoosiers as his first team out, though he told reporters on a conference call previewing championship week, “I wouldn't vote for Indiana or Ohio State, but I think the committee will.”
He was referring to an ongoing debate about whether or not the Hoosiers, who have multiple high-quality wins but 15 losses overall and a sub-.500 conference record, deserve a spot over a team such as Belmont, the 26-5 regular season co-champions of the Ohio Valley Conference who lost to Murray State in the OVC tournament championship.
“It’s the classic how do we handle the middling major versus the Belmonts of the world?” Lunardi said.
3. The Buckeyes should be fans of favorites in the remaining conference tournaments.
While Ohio State might be in the Big Dance as of this writing, their spot is far from guaranteed.
The field of 68 could and likely will evolve over the next three-plus days as conference tournaments play out.
The Pacific 12 and Mountain West provide just two examples of leagues in which a surprise could be bad news for the Buckeyes.
Both conferences are viewed as having two teams deserving of at-large bids, so Ohio State will want Washington or Arizona State to win the Pac-12 tournament and Nevada or Utah State to emerge from the Mountain West. If someone else wins either of those tournaments, that could mean one less spot for Ohio State.
4. Ohio State fans have reason to keep an eye on the Atlantic 10 tournament, too.
The Atlantic 10 often sends multiple teams to the NCAA tournament, but only VCU is viewed as a lock at this point.
If the Rams are upset by Dayton, Davidson or somebody else in Brooklyn this weekend — an outcome that would not come as a shock — that is another at-large spot that won’t be available to the Buckeyes.
» RELATED: ‘Do or die’ for Dayton in A-10 tournament
» TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: VCU the favorite but UD a contender
Things could also get dicey in the American Athletic Conference and the Big East, where four teams apiece are projected to be in the field by Lunardi.
5. A trip to Dayton could be in Ohio State’s future.
If Lunardi is correct, the Buckeyes are First Four-bound should they hang onto an at-large bid.
He projects the last four in to be OSU, Florida, N.C. State and Texas.
That would mean those teams will play at UD Arena next Tuesday or Wednesday.
Ohio State last played in the Gem City in the 2013 NCAA tournament when they beat Iona and Iowa State to advance to the Sweet 16.
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