When the brackets were announced last Sunday, many Buckeye fans were a bit unsettled by their Round of 64 matchup with Dayton. Not only were the Flyers a solid team, but they were an in-state school looking to beat up on the big brother. Considering OSU's seeding, winning the game also would be no benefit for the Buckeyes. It's a classic no win situation and that's exactly what happened on Thursday afternoon. Dayton pulled off the upset 60-59.
Dayton got off to a fast start and actually looked like they had seized control early. However, they faded down the stretch and OSU took control. In the final minutes, it looked like the Buckeye defense would be able to hold off any Dayton run and close out the game. Then 2 key fouls by Ohio State allowed Dayton to get to the free throw line and win the game. Without a doubt, those fouls and the ensuing free throws decided the game. The Buckeyes avoid those and maybe they're still in this thing.
For the Buckeyes, this was one of the most frustrating seasons in recent memory. They started the season 15-0 and were easily ranked in the Top 5 nationally. People were talking about their odds to win the Big Ten and win the NCAA title. They then followed it up by going 10-10 in their final 20 games. Among that stretch, OSU was swept by Michigan and Penn State, lost a heartbreaker to end the Big Ten Tournament, and now lost to in-state school Dayton. They still did make the NCAA Tournament, but boy has the perspective on things changed.
The big story in the next few weeks will be Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith, Jr. who both graduate. Both have been mainstays in the last few years and fans are genuinely going to miss seeing them out there. Also, the speculation about an NBA decision for LaQuinton Ross will be a big story for the next month or so. Next year's Buckeye squad could look much different than this one.
Clearly, this is a devastating loss and way to end this season. Still though, there were some positives to this season and the way the team came back time after time was encouraging. Ohio State has a great recruitiing class coming in next season and they hope that will mean they go further.