A little more than a week ago, three Ohio-born student-athletes were tearing up the Big Ten Basketball Tournament, and I wrote a very quick blog about Ohio, despite having the reputation of being a football state, being pretty good at the roundball as well. It shouldn’t come as a huge shock that the state in which arguably the best basketball talent/overall athlete in the world grew up (don’t worry fellow Cleveland fans, I won’t mention his LeName) has a reputation for good hoops, and yet most people still do not consider Ohio to be on the same level as other states.
In the brief time since I wrote about three great individual performances by Ohioans, teams from all over our great state have taken my words much, much further. In fact, for the first time in NCAA Tournament history, one state, has produced FOUR of the teams in the Sweet Sixteen. For my friends and family that have not taken a math course in quite some time, that is one quarter (or 25%) of the entire field. Not bad for a football state…
The following is from USA Today’s article describing this interesting scenario that is playing out in Ohio and a couple of bordering states…
If you want to gauge the state of basketball, check out the state of Ohio. For at least this week, the Buckeye State will be the center of the college basketball world. Ohio becomes the first state with four schools in the Division I men’s Sweet 16, according to the NCAA. The research dates to 1985 when the bracket was expanded and every team needed to win twice to reach the regional semifinals.
Cincinnati, seeded sixth in the East, became the fourth team from the state to advance when just after midnight Sunday ET, the Bearcats knocked off East No. 3 seed Florida State. The Bearcats join Xavier (10th seed in the South), Ohio University (13 seed in the Midwest) and Ohio State (second seed in the East) for round of 16 play Thursday and Friday.
Though unlikely, it’s possible for Cincinnati and Xavier, heated cross-town rivals who engaged in an ugly brawl earlier this season, to meet for the national championship in New Orleans on April 2.
Four states have had three teams in the Sweet 16:
- North Carolina – 1986, 1989, 2005
- Kentucky – 1993
- California – 1997, 2001
- Tennessee – 2007
As for Ohio, it touches on three other states with teams in the Sweet 16: Kentucky (Kentucky, Louisville), Indiana (Indiana) and Michigan (Michigan State), putting half the field in a relatively small area.
Congratulations to the Xavier Musketeers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Ohio Bobcats, and Ohio State Buckeyes for pulling off a feat that even states that pride themselves on basketball prowess (Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina) have been unable to do!