Action starts in the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday evening with the first two games of the ‘First Four’, but the Buckeyes have a couple of days to rest and recuperate before their first game of the tournament on Friday afternoon against Loyola-Chicago.

Buckeye Scoop will be in Pittsburgh starting on Thursday for coverage of Ohio State’s tournament run, hopefully not a one-and-done like many people are predicting but it all starts with the first game and there is no reason to think beyond that until the Buckeyes face up against the Ramblers.

It got us thinking about some odds-and-ends leading into this tournament, about Ohio State’s tournament history, as well as venue history. Have the Buckeyes ever been a No. 7 seed before in the NCAA Tournament? How many times have they been slotted lower and what is their record in those instances?

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What about Loyola-Chicago, have they faced the Big Ten much in postseason play and if so, how have things gone?

All of that and more as we bring you some quick hitters leading up to the Big Dance.

Seed History

Ohio State’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament goes back to 1939 but don’t go looking for a number next to the name as the tourney did not start listing seeds until the 1979 tourney. That means that 10 of Ohio State’s appearances in the NCAA Basketball Tournament were without seeds with 1980 marking the first time that seed lines were known.

Ohio State has never been ranked below a No. 11 seed, that was back in the 2019 season when Ohio State barely made the field.

Prior to this season, Ohio State had held a seed line from 11 on up to one, outside of just one, the seven line. That all changes now with the Buckeyes being installed as the No. 7 in the South Regional.

1.1991, 1992, 2007, 20114
2.2010, 2012, 2013, 20214
3.1983, 20062
4.1980, 19852
8.1982, 1990, 20093

It is never a bad thing when your most common seed lines are the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds as Ohio State has been a top-two seed in eight tournaments. The next most common seed line has been the No. 8 seed, where the Buckeyes have found themselves three times.

Then against, it is not about where you start but rather where you finish and regardless of seeding, the Buckeyes have not been able to break through and add another National Championship banner to Value City Arena as the team has come up short a few times.

Lower Seed, Lower Expectation?

From the chart above, you can see that Ohio State has been a seven seed or lower six previous times and this year marking the 7th time that Ohio State has entered the dance below a top-six seed.

With the current field of 68 teams, you get to wear your home uniforms in the first round as long as you are an eight or better, but once you get beyond the No. 6 seed, you are considered just part of the field by many and not a real contender.

Ohio State has not made it to the second weekend in the previous six tournaments with a No. 6 seed or lower but that does not mean that Ohio State has not been able to win a few games along the way. Ohio State still holds a 4-2 record in opening round action as a No. 7 or lower, dating back to the 1982 season.

Ohio State has only failed to reach the second round twice, after losing to James Madison in the 1982 season and then a 2009 loss to Sienna.

The Buckeyes hold wins over teams like Providence, Kentucky, VCU and most recently Iowa State back in the 2019 season.

Winning a game is great as is prolonging the season but many people only start paying attention once you reach the Sweet 16, something that has been elusive as of late for the Buckeyes.

How Sweet It Is

The Buckeyes have made the Sweet 16 a total of 15 times in program history, regardless of what the NCAA may say about the 1999 season.

It has been a minute since Ohio State has made it into the second weekend of the Big Dance, going back to the 2013 season where Thad Matta’s team would defeat Iona and Iowa State in the first weekend and then go on to beat Arizona in the Sweet 16 and then see his team come up short against Wichita State in Los Angeles with a spot in the final four on the table.

That 2013 season would mark the end of a four-year run where the Buckeyes would make it to at least the Sweet 16, dating back to the 2010 season.

Ohio State would lose in the Sweet 16 in both that 2010 and the following 2011 season before breaking through in 2012 and advancing all the way to the Final Four against Kansas. The Buckeyes would play another team with Loyola on the front of their uniforms, rather from the state of Maryland.

‘Steel’ A Couple Wins?

Men’s NCAA Tournament with a pair of years at Civic Arena (1997, 2002) and three at PPG Paints Arena (2012, 2015, 2018).

The Buckeyes have only taken part in one of those regionals, the 2012 season.

As we mentioned before, Ohio State would go on to defeat Loyola (Md.) in a 78-59 rout before going on to take down Gonzaga in a 73-66 decision.

That year would see the Buckeyes go on to Boston for the Regional Semis and Finals before the tournament would reach the Final Four in New Orleans.

The path would be a little different this year with the South Region going through San Antonio before the Final Four once again will find itself in New Orleans.

Loyola Has Played Big Games

The Ramblers of Loyola-Chicago call the Missouri Valley Conference home but are on their way to the Atlantic 10 after this season. The Buckeyes have never played a current member of the MVC in the Big Dance, but Loyola has played against current members of the Big Ten through the years.

The first game of note will be the win over top-seeded Illinois in the 2021 tournament, a game that Loyola-Chicago had in hand much of the way in a 71-58 rout. That Illinois team was Big Ten Tournament Champion and defeated Ohio State in the league tourney finals.

You don’t have to go back much further to see the next most recent time that Loyola-Chicago took on a Big Ten team, going back to the 2018 tournament, a game where every Ohio State assuredly was rooting for the Ramblers as they took on Michigan in the Final Four. The Ramblers came up short in that one but so did Michigan in the finals.

Michigan and Loyola-Chicago would play again, this time back in the Sweet 16 in 1964, another Michigan win. The year prior Loyola and Illinois would face off again in the 1963 Elite Eight, another win by Loyola.

And just before you go thinking that Loyola owns the Illini, the team from Champaign (Ill.) does have a post season win, a first-round win in the 1980 NIT.

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