Ohio State not stressing its brutal region

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Ohio State landed in the toughest region of the 2011 NCAA tournament. Nice gift for the No. 1 overall seed.

The Buckeyes (32-2) will face the winner of the George Mason-Villanova game, then probably see Kentucky in the Sweet 16. Those are two games more suited for a regional final and Final Four. After that it could be North Carolina, Syracuse or Washington for a Final Four berth. All three are in the top 15 in kenpom.com’s ratings.

Making matters worse is Ohio State’s record when playing in the state of Ohio during recent NCAA tournaments. It was 1-1 in 2006 and 0-1 in 2009, both times in Dayton.

But there’s some good news for the Buckeyes. They’re not in Dayton this time around. They’ll play in Cleveland, where they beat Cleveland State in front of what coach Thad Matta called “13,000” fans earlier this season.

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Then again, most of that’s just talk.

Ohio State’s the favorite to it all. It’s got talent, great guards, shooters, a player of the year candidate in center Jared Sullinger and a coach who’s been to the Final Four. Yes, they got a tough region. But it’s all tough.

“There’s no easy path,” Buckeyes shooting guard Jon Diebler said. “To get to the Final Four, you’ve got to beat great teams. We’re looking forward to the challenges we have.”

Did I mention Ohio State also doesn’t get rattled?

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