NCAA Tournament 2012: 4 Ohio College Basketball Teams in Sweet 16

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NCAA Tournament 2012: 4 Ohio College Basketball Teams in Sweet 16
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Cincinnati Bearcats advanced to Sweet Sixteen by beating Florida State.

It's suddenly chic to talk about Ohio sports!

No, I'm not referring to Ohio State's anticipated resurrection to BCS prominence under new coach Urban Meyer.

Nor am I alluding to any news pertaining to the state's professional football, basketball, soccer or baseball teams.

However, I am enthusiastically reporting on the buzz that the NCAA college basketball tournament has brought to the Buckeye State.

Sports talk on every media outlet across the country now centers on the state of Ohio, a state that surprisingly supplies one-fourth of the participants in the 2012 Sweet 16. So, from Cincinnati to Sandusky, Athens to Akron, Dayton to Toledo and Cleveland to Columbus, the Buckeye State is beaming with pride.

By this weekend, expect American sports fans to become better acquainted with Ohio geography and become fast familiar with four of the country's best basketball teams.

The Big Ten's Buckeyes from Columbus, the Big East's Bearcats from Cincinnati, the Atlantic 10's Musketeers also from the Queen City and the MAC's upstart Bobcats from Athens are all competing in the field of 16 later this week. They will force casual sports fans to quickly forget about last year's "Decision" by LeBron James in Cleveland, this year's brawl in Cincinnati and decades of unfulfilled finishes with the NFL's Browns and Bengals.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Ohio Bobacts beat the University of South Florida Bulls to earn a spot in the Sweet Sixteen.

NCAA college basketball has the state brimming with excitement.

Why again will all eyes be on Ohio this week? Ohio boasts four teams while rival states like Kentucky count two, neighboring states like Indiana tally one, Wisconsin tallies two, Michigan posts one and Pennsylvania none. Even the country's most populated states like New York, Florida and Texas can only muster a single entrant and California can't supply one.

So, whether you like to float your boat on Lake Erie in the state's north or simply glide down the Ohio River in the south, the tide of fan sentiment has universally turned to the Ohio—where it's now chic to talk about Ohio sports!

Mike Raffone on Facebook.

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