The Ohio State men’s basketball team is hoping good things truly do come to those who wait.
For the first time in three years, the Buckeyes are headed to the NCAA Tournament, where they’ll take on South Dakota State in the first round on Thursday in Boise, Idaho.
Ohio State is the fifth seed in the tournament’s West region.
The Sunday selection show followed a surprising season for the Buckeyes (24-8), who rose to the ranking of 13th nationally during the first season for new head coach Chris Holtmann.
“I think our guys have great appreciation and understanding for how well you need to play in this thing. You’re playing a very good opponent in South Dakota State,” Holtmann told reporters on Sunday.
The matchup with South Dakota State is Ohio State’s first tournament game since 2015, when they were one of the last at-large teams picked by the selection committee.
In 2016, the Buckeyes declined an invitation to the less-prestigious NIT Tournament. They couldn’t even earn an invite to the NIT last season.
Due to the early start of the Big Ten tournament this season, the Buckeyes will have a 12-day gap between games before facing the Summit League-champion Jackrabbits. Ohio State also must find a way to stop South Dakota State's 6-foot-9 forward Mike Daum, the conference player of the year after averaging 23.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
If the Buckeyes can prevail on Thursday, they will likely face the perennial power and fourth-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs in the second round on Saturday.
Top-ranked Virginia has received the first overall seed in the tournament, which begins with “play-in” games Tuesday in Dayton.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this story