Last night in Indianapolis just before 6:00 p.m. local time, the 10-member NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Committee that’s responsible for selecting and seeding the NCAA Tournament released its pairings, and Buckeye fans didn’t have to wait long.
Ohio State was the very first team announced on the Selection Sunday Show that aired on CBS. The Buckeyes were sent to the South Region and received a No. 6-seed to face No. 11-seed Dayton in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Tip-off at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y., is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Though Ohio State’s Value City Arena and Dayton’s UD Arena are just 75 miles apart, these two schools have met on the hardwood only nine times in the history of both programs. The Buckeyes lead the series 6-3 with the last time coming in 2008. But that wasn’t a regular season meeting when Ohio State defeated Dayton, 74-63, in the quarterfinals of the National Invitational Tournament as Kosta Koufos scored 21 points and Jamar Butler added 12 for the Buckeyes, who went on to New York to claim the NIT title.
The last time Ohio State and Dayton played a regular season game was on Dec. 19, 1987, as five Flyers scored in double figures to defeat the Buckeyes, 81-80, at St. John Arena in Columbus.
Too bad these two schools can’t play each other more often.
Dayton enters Thursday’s second round match-up with an overall mark of 23-10 and finished tied for fifth in the Atlantic 10 at 10-6. The Flyers are 42nd in the latest Rating Percentage Index (RPI) with a record of 4-6 against teams in the RPI top 50, and are 10-7 versus squads in the RPI top 100.
Leading the way for Dayton is 6-foot-4 junior guard Jordan Sibert. He’s averaging 12.5 points per game while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 43.9 percent from beyond the arc.
If that name sounds familiar, it should. Sibert was part of the 2010 recruiting class at Ohio State that included Aaron Craft, Jared Sullinger, Lenzelle Smith Jr., Deshaun Thomas and J.D. Weatherspoon. While Sullinger and Thomas left early for professional careers, both Weatherspoon and Sibert transferred out after their sophomore years. That season, Sibert saw plenty of action during the non-conference portion of the schedule, but he saw his playing time diminished significantly once the Big Ten began. Sibert didn’t leave the bench in nine of Ohio State’s final 11 games that season and only logged four minutes court time time during that span.
Dayton head coach Archie Miller is another familiar name. Miller, who’s in his third year leading the Flyer basketball program, spent two seasons as an assistant under Thad Matta at Ohio State and is the younger brother of Arizona head coach, Sean Miller.
The winner of the Ohio State-Dayton game will take on either No. 3-seed Syracuse or No. 15-seed Western Michigan on Saturday.
For the rest of the brackets, Florida (South), Wichita State (Midwest), Arizona (West) and Virginia (East) were each given top seeds The Gators, who captured the SEC title over Kentucky, earned the No. 1 overall seed.
The No. 2 seeds in the field are Kansas (South), Wisconsin (West), Michigan (Midwest) and Villanova (East). Syracuse (South), Creighton (West), Iowa State (East) and Duke (Midwest) comprise the No. 3 seeds, while UCLA (South), San Diego State (West), Louisville (Midwest) and Michigan State (East) round out the top four seeds in each region.
Madison Square Garden will host the East Regional semifinals and final on March 28 and 30, the same days the Midwest Regional is decided at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The West’s Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games will be played at Honda Center in Anaheim on March 27 and 29, while the South’s Friday-Sunday scenario takes place at FedExForum in Memphis.
The Final Four will be April 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington with the championship game two nights later.