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Scarlet Sunrise: Ohio State avoids First Four, will face Iowa State in NCAA Tournament

Ohio State-Chris Holtmann-Ohio State basketball-Buckeyes
Ohio State is in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Scarlet Sunrise

Scarlet Sunrise: Ohio State avoids First Four, will face Iowa State in NCAA Tournament

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise! Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Ohio State going dancing

Ohio State heard its name on Selection Sunday for the second year in a row, being chosen as a No. 11 seed. The Buckeyes will face No. 6 Iowa State in the first round.

The selection caps off what was — despite some rocky portions — a season that appears to have exceeded expectations. Over his two seasons, Chris Holtmann has taken a roster that was gutted by recruiting failures during the Thad Matta era and bandaged it well enough to turn the Buckeyes back into a tournament team after missing in 2016 and 2017. This year the task was especially tough, as Ohio State lost Big Ten player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop and a big senior class. Furthermore, the five recruits from the highly rated 2015 recruiting class would have been the seniors (or redshirt juniors) on this year’s team had any of them managed to last more than two seasons.

Here’s the info on when you can watch the Buckeyes take on the Cyclones.

No. 11 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Iowa State

Date: Friday, March 22

Location: Tulsa, Okla.

Time: 9:50 p.m. ET

Channel: TBS

Potential next opponent: No. 3 Houston/No. 14 Georgia State

Buckeyes open as underdogs

Ohio State opened as a 6-point underdog to Iowa State. The Cyclones had a strong year and won the Big 12 Tournament, but prior to that they’d ended the regular season on a skid that included three straight losses and defeats in six of their last eight contests.

Success in conference tournaments isn’t the great predictor of NCAA success people often treat it as. (For example, in one region alone last year, ACC tournament champ Virginia (a No. 1 seed) lost in the first round, American tournament champ Cincinnati (a No. 2 seed) lost in the second round and Pac-12 tournament champ Arizona (a No. 4 seed) lost in the first round. Not great! As such, it’ll be interesting to see if Iowa State has shaken off its late-season slump or just got hot over three consecutive days.

Chris Holtmann, Ohio State players react

Ohio State basketball coach Chris Holtmann as well as C.J. Jackson and Keyshawn Woods met with the media following Selection Sunday and the announcement of the Buckeyes making the NCAA Tournament as an 11 seed.

Ohio State is scheduled to open play against No. 6 seed Iowa State on Friday in Tulsa. Full press conference video can be found here.

What’s up with Paris Johnson?

Paris Johnson, the one-time leader of Ohio State’s 2020 recruiting class, visited Tennessee over the weekend and posted photos of himself in Tennessee’s uniform. While that obviously didn’t thrill Ohio State’s coaches or players — some of whom made that clear on Twitter — it’s the reality at the moment. The coach Johnson committed to at Ohio State is gone, and the visits will probably keep coming until he has a reason to shut it down.

Here’s Lettermen Row recruiting czar Birm on what’s what with Johnson:

It’s not comfortable for Ohio State to watch its prized commitment, a class leader, posting photos of himself at SEC schools like Tennessee with cheesy taglines for retweets and likes. But that is the situation right now as Johnson and his close friends, Darrion Henry and Jaheim Thomas, make a southern road swing.

Ohio State would love for Paris Johnson to stop the online shenanigans. I don’t think it takes a brain surgeon to figure that out, but when dealing with a player of this profile, the leverage is with the player. That means there will be more and more of these trips from even the most solidly committed kids and families.

To repeat: It doesn’t feel good, and there’s no doubt Ryan Day and the Buckeyes would prefer it stop. But this is the new era of recruiting, and players have every right to visit where ever they want, whenever they want. The Buckeyes will continue to hope that honest, real relationships are built by Day and his staff, and eventually that will give Johnson the confidence that he has everything he needs in Columbus — still.

For more on Ohio State recruiting, check out Sunday’s edition of Dotting the ‘Eyes.

Potential breakout Buckeyes

OK, back to happier things.

Ohio State football returns from spring break this week, which means it’s back to talking about football. Lettermen Row senior writer Austin Ward put together a list of 5 up-and-coming players to watch as spring practice heats up. These five Buckeyes have already caught the eye so far, and they’re going to be worth monitoring moving forward in a push for more significant playing time. Let’s break them down and get set for another week of spring football.

Counting down

  • Ohio State hoops vs. Iowa State: 4 days
  • Oho State spring game: 26 days

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Ryan Ginn

Ryan Ginn has covered Ohio State football and recruiting since 2013, having done so previously for Buckeye Sports Bulletin and He is currently a student at Tulane Law School and resides in New Orleans, La.

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