Late on Sunday night, after the final Big Ten regular-season game concluded, the Ohio State Buckeyes found themselves in an unexpected position. Thanks to a remarkable late-season surge, they secured the 10th seed in the Big Ten Tournament, earning them a coveted opening-round bye. As they eagerly await their second-round matchup, the Buckeyes are focused on a redemption opportunity against Iowa, a team they lost to earlier in the season.

“I told our guys last night I was really proud of them. A few weeks ago, I don’t think really anybody anticipated us positioning ourselves with a bye. And they deserve the credit for that.”

Interim Head Coach Jake Diebler

Diebler, leading the team into a postseason tournament for the first time, has been instrumental in Ohio State’s turnaround. The Buckeyes closed out the regular season on a high note, winning five of their final six games. Their surge has positioned them as one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten as they head into the tournament at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The opening-round bye not only provides Ohio State with a well-deserved rest but also sets the stage for a crucial matchup against Iowa in the second round. The game, scheduled to tip off at 6:30 pm on Thursday, carries added significance as Ohio State aims to avenge their earlier loss to the Hawkeyes.

Ohio State faced Iowa on February 2 in Iowa City and suffered a narrow defeat with a final score of 77-79. Diebler and his team are eager for a chance to prove how much they’ve grown since that mid-season setback. With Diebler emphasizing the team’s resilience and determination, the Buckeyes are gearing up for a hard-fought battle against a formidable opponent.

A victory over Iowa and a potential clash with the #2 seeded Illinois in the following round could significantly bolster Ohio State’s case for an NCAA tournament bid. Diebler and the Buckeyes understand the importance of making a statement in the postseason, and they are determined to continue their impressive run in the Big Ten Tournament.

In a press conference on Monday, Diebler addressed the media, acknowledging the team’s impressive late-season performance, when asked is he believes Ohio State deserves to make the NCAA tournament, he responded emphatically.

“I’m no expert on all the metrics that go into making that decision, but I would think a couple of our top wins would stack up against anyone in the country. We now have stacked together some road wins. Also, the momentum we have, and the way we have been playing lately, there are a lot of positives that would help our case.”


As Thursday’s matchup approaches, Ohio State fans eagerly anticipate the team’s performance, hopeful that this late-season surge will not only secure them a spot in the NCAA tournament but also establish them as a force to be reckoned with on the national stage. Can Diebler and the Buckeyes continue this late-season magic and make the NCAA tournament? They will need at least two wins this week to do so.