Outside of Louisville — the top seed in the West Region — is there a trendier pick to crash the national semifinals than the Buckeyes? Nine out of ESPN's 13 analysts are that bullish on OSU, as are four out of five writers from Sports Illustrated, three of four analysts at Yahoo! Sports, even President Obama. At CBSSports.com, national columnist Gregg Doyel picks OSU to beat Michigan for the national title.
I must say, I tend to agree. With the Final Four buzz, not with the prediction of OSU over UM for everything. (I have the Buckeyes' road ending in the semifinals and the staggering Wolverines falling to fifth-seeded VCU in the second round). A pick that would have inspired laughter a month ago now seems the conservative one when you consider OSU's path. If the seeding holds true, the Buckeyes' biggest obstacles would be No. 3 New Mexico in the Sweet 16 and top-seeded Gonzaga in the Elite Eight. Both are good teams. But is either better than Indiana or Michigan State — top-10 Big Ten rivals OSU has beaten a combined three times during their eight-game winning streak? I would argue no. So while nothing surprises this time of year, it says here Ohio State has as good a shot as anybody to return to the season's final weekend.