Prior to this season, Ohio State was one of the favorites to win the National Championship this year. They had the trio of sophomores returning, and a great core to support them.
Many believed Ohio State would run away with the Big 10 title and cruise to a No. 1 seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
This was all coming true for the Buckeyes up until a few weeks ago. Ohio State has struggled to close out games, and haven’t played very smart. They are now tied with Michigan State for the conference lead in the standings, and their once guaranteed spot of a No. 1 seed is slipping away.
The Buckeyes have a 22-4 record and rank 10th in the RPI and 31st in strength of schedule. That’s a successful season for most other teams, but not for this Buckeyes team with dreams of chasing that elusive national title.
We all know that we can pretty much pencil in Kentucky and Syracuse as No. 1 seeds for the tournament next month. Both teams have a combined 51-2 record and currently sit No.1 and 2 in all the polls and the RPI.
That leaves two spots left for a No. 1 seed in next month’s big dance. These are the five teams that can steal two of those spots from Ohio State.
Duke has been hanging around the Top 10 all season, and with their recent win at North Carolina, I think they’re one of the favorites for a top seed in March.
Duke currently is 21-4 overall and has the ninth ranked scoring offense in the nation. The Blue Devils are 10-2 on the road including 5-1 on neutral court sites.
Duke is tied for second in the RPI and has the third ranked strength of schedule.
I think if Duke wins the ACC Tournament, they will take a No.1 seed in the tournament.
Michigan State has been one of the most surprising teams in the season. Tom Izzo has done a great job coaching up such a young team. The Spartans are currently 20-5 on the season and share the conference lead with Ohio State right now. If you take out the first two brutal games of the season against North Carolina and Duke, they’re 20-3 since then.
Michigan State is a perfect 15-0 at home in the Breslin Center so far. They have the third ranked strength of schedule and are fourth in the RPI.
If Michigan State can stay with Ohio State for the regular season conference title, and win the conference tournament, I think they will steal a No. 1 seed from the Buckeyes.
Kansas is like Michigan State in that they’re surprising everyone with such a young team. Many thought Kansas would have a bit of a down year, but they’re right in the race once again for a No. 1 seed in March.
The Jayhawks are currently 20-5 and have the fifth toughest strength of schedule and rank fifth in the RPI.
Kansas is a perfect 13-0 in Allen Fieldhouse and 7-5 away from there.
Kansas is 7-4 against foes in the Top 50 in the RPI, and if they can steal the Big 12 Conference Tournament, then they can surely earn a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.
North Carolina will be battling Duke for not just the ACC Championship, but for a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. Usually, the winner of the ACC Conference Tournament gets a top seed in March.
I actually think both Carolina and Duke are good enough to each earn a top seed. If they both do, then pencil down Ohio State for a two seed.
Carolina is currently 21-4 including 15-1 at home and 6-3 away from the Dean Dome.
The Tar Heels have the top ranked scoring offense and top rebounding team in America. They rank seventh in the RPI and have the 10th toughest schedule.
I think that resume alone can nab Carolina a top seed in March.
Missouri is becoming a real threat to not just earn a No. 1 seed in March, but a threat for the National title.
The Tigers are 23-2 on the season including a perfect 14-0 at home. They’re only two losses came on the road, as they’re 4-0 in neutral site games.
Missouri wins with tough defense and has improved their offense to ninth in the nation.
The Tigers rank eighth in the RPI, and I feel if they win the Big 12 Tournament they will earn one of the No. 1 seeds as well.
With Missouri taking a one seed and realistically the winner of the ACC Tournament if it’s Duke or Carolina, then Ohio State will be on the two seed line come March.