The Ohio State basketball team knows the two opponents they must beat to make March Madness

In order for the Ohio State basketball team to finish their magical run to the NCAA Tournament, they must beat these two teams in. front of them.

Mar 10, 2024; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes forward Zed Key (23) battles Rutgers
Mar 10, 2024; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes forward Zed Key (23) battles Rutgers / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

If someone had told me a month ago that the Ohio State basketball team would have a realistic shot at making the NCAA Tournament, I would have told them they were crazy. Yet, that's exactly where we stand as we head into the week of the Big Ten Tournament.

Jake Diebler has done a wonderful job getting the Buckeyes to play hard for him. His team ended the regular season on a four-game winning streak. He won two out of the three road games he coached, which is two road games more than Chris Holtmann won in the final 13 months he coached Ohio State.

Now, the Buckeyes know who their next two opponents could be. Ohio State is the 10-seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will take on 7th-seeded Iowa. That game will be played on Thursday at 6:30 pm. The winner of that game will take on second-seeded Illinois on Friday.

The opportunity is right in front of them. If they can beat Iowa, they have a massive resume-boosting opportunity to take on the Illini. Beating those two teams should be enough to put them on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament and it might put them on the right side of it.

Iowa already beat the Buckeyes earlier in the season in Iowa City by just two points. That was when the Buckeyes still had Holtmann though and were in the midst of a five-game losing streak. This is a different Buckeye team. It's a team that is playing with much more confidence on the defensive side of the ball.

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If Diebler does end up winning these next two games, he should get the head coaching job. Right now, Dusty May is still the favorite. But if this Ohio State basketball team makes the NCAA Tournament after what they went through earlier this year, it needs to be Diebler's job.