State of Ohio sends four teams to Sweet 16, 1st time ever

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If British Prime Minister David Cameron reflects back on his time at the First Four games in Dayton, Ohio, then glances at the 2012 NCAA bracket, he will have thought that he took a trip to the country’s most fertile basketball grounds.

As it stands now, four teams from Ohio are dancing in the Sweet 16, the first time in history that one state has sent four teams this far into the NCAA tournament.

Ohio, Ohio State, Xavier, and Cincinnati are still alive, each for different reasons.

Xavier had to mildly upset Notre Dame in a 10/7 game, and was helped by a Lehigh upset of Duke to advance.

Ohio State has taken care of business, as they were expected to, having beaten Loyola (Md.) and Gonzaga.

Cincinnati survived Florida State on Sunday night, after beating Texas in the Round of 64.

And the upset special and Cinderella of the tournament, Ohio, took down co-Big Ten champion Michigan, then South Florida.

Though many expected Ohio State to advance, just over 4% of brackets submitted to ESPN chose Ohio to make the Sweet 16, and just 5% chose Xavier. Almost 18% chose Cincinnati, which isn’t surprising, considering their run in the Big East tournament.

Who has the best chance of advancing?

Ohio State takes on Cincinnati, which means a matchup of Yancy Gates and Jared Sullinger on the block. Gates has been praised for his increased production lately, and will meet an all-conference selection and lottery pick in Sullinger.

Some are holding out for the more-than-unlikely Xavier-Cincinnati rematch in the national championship game, which would dig up some video clips that both teams would rather not watch again.

A lot would have to happen for that to come about, including Xavier getting through ultra-athletic Baylor, then likely No. 1 Kentucky.

Ohio might be feeling a bit better about their matchup with North Carolina, now that it is doubtful Kendall Marshall will play, having fractured his wrist against Creighton.

When was the last time Ohio got this much attention? It’ll probably come front and center again in November, as a swing state in the election but, until then, why don’t you kick back and check out the state’s official rock song?

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_