Big Ten: Buckeyes NIT Bound? Wildcats Close To NCAA Tournament Bid

Things have changed in the Big Ten, Ohio State and Northwestern switched roles.

Have things turned around in the Big Ten this year or what? For years Ohio State usually was pretty much assured of making the NCAA Tournament at this point of the season. Northwestern was playing for an NIT bid instead. This season it’s the other way around.

It’s not that the Buckeyes have no chance at making “The Dance”, it’s just that it’s highly unlikely. They may just be playing for a good seed in the NIT.

To make the NCAA Tournament, Ohio State will almost certainly have to do something they haven’t done since the Big Ten Conference schedule began. The Buckeyes will have to win three games in a row at some point.   

Ohio State may need a win tomorrow on the road at 7-5 Michigan State to have any chance at all of making the tournament. Defeating a Tom Izzo coached team in East Lansing late in the season isn’t an easy task. If the Buckeyes were to pull off the upset, they should win their second game in a row Saturday when they play Nebraska at home.

The following game could then be a make or break situation for Ohio State. A win over Big Ten leader Wisconsin at home would make an impression on the tournament committee. A loss and they would have to get hot the rest of the way.

Wins at Penn State and at home to Indiana in the final two games of the Big Ten season are achievable. However, they would not only have to get a third straight win in the conference tournament, but a fourth and probably even a fifth as well.

The Buckeyes still have an outside chance at making the NCAA Tournament but it’s looking more like they are playing for a high seed in the NIT at this late date. Northwestern on the other hand is probably going dancing.

After defeating Wisconsin, the Wildcats are 9-4 in the conference and 19-6 overall. Three more wins and they should be a lock to be included in the NCAA tourney.

My money is on Northwestern winning at least three more times. Four of the last six games are at home where the Wildcats have a 12-2 record on the season. They are also 7-3 in their last 10 games.

It’s been another rough basketball season for Ohio State fans, that’s for sure. I am still holding out hope that the Buckeyes can get their act together and somehow make it into the NCAA Tournament.

But I have to admit, I’m rooting for Northwestern as well. Just think, the first NCAA Final Four was held on their campus in 1939 and yet the Wildcats have never made the tournament. I hope this is the year they finally do.

Imagine what the celebration on campus will be like if Northwestern’s is called on Selection Sunday. I will be ecstatic for all of those fans who have waited so long for the Wildcats to finally make it to “The Dance”. However, I will draw the line on wearing those ugly colors of theirs that day.

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