Expectations were mounting Sunday afternoon as roundball fans waited to find out where their favorite teams would be seeded during "March Madness"-the 2013 NCAA men's basketball championships. The association bracketed this year's 68 teams on Sunday evening.
Local favorites of course are the Ohio State Buckeyes who were seeded second in the West region after winning the Big 10 Tournament championship against the University of Wisconsin Sunday.
The Buckeyes will start the NCAA tournament in Dayton at 7:15 p.m. Friday against Iona College of New Rochelle, N.Y.
The Associated Press
Ohio State forward Evan Ravenel, right, takes the ball away from Wisconsin forward Ryan Evans (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Big Ten tournament Sunday in Chicago. At left is Ohio State guard Aaron Craft (4), and behind Evans is Ohio State forward Deshaun Thomas. Ohio State went on to win the Big Ten tournament title and later in the day earned a No. 2 seeding in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament West Regional.
Loyal OSU fan and alumnus Fred Engelhardt of Marietta said that match should be no problem for the Buckeyes
"I think they should go right through the first couple of games," he said. "And it helps that they're playing in Dayton."
Marietta firefighter Jim Wiblin, another avid Buckeyes fan, noted the team was ranked 10th nationally before winning Sunday's Big 10 tournament.
OSU vs. Iona
Coach: Thad Matta.
Conference: Big Ten. Bid: Big Ten champion.
Region: West. Seed: No. 2.
Tournament Record: 51-27, 28 years. Last appearance: 2012.
Scoring: Team (69.8); Deshaun Thomas 19.6; Aaron Craft 9.9; Lenzelle Smith Jr. 9.6.
Rebounds: Team (35.4); Deshaun Thomas 6.2; Lenzelle Smith Jr. 4.8.
Assists/Turnovers: Team (13.5/10.7); Aaron Craft 4.7/1.8; Shannon Scott 3.9/1.3.
3-pointers: Team (.359); Deshaun Thomas 64; Lenzelle Smith Jr. 44.
Last Ten: 9-1.
The Skinny: Buckeyes went to Final Four last season. Do-everything guard Aaron Craft could get them there again.
New Rochelle, N.Y., 20-13.
Nickname: Gaels. Coach: Tim Cluess.
Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic. Bid: MAAC champion.
Region: West. Seed: No. 15.
Tournament Record: 1-9, 9 years. Last appearance: 2012.
Scoring: Team (80.7); Lamont Jones 23.0; Sean Armand 16.6; David Laury 13.1.
Rebounds: Team (36.0); David Laury 10.4; Taaj Ridley 5.5; Sean Armand 5.1.
Assists/Turnovers: Team (15.5/12.2); Lamont Jones 3.5/3.3; Tavon Sledge 3.2/1/8.
3-pointers: Team (.373); Sean Armand 108; Lamont Jones 55; Tre Bowman 32.
Last Ten: 6-4.
The Skinny: MAAC champs play fast, shoot 3s and score in bunches. The key for the Gaels will be keeping the other team from scoring - they were 331st in scoring defense.
"I think OSU will go a long way in the NCAA tournament," he said.
Like many fans, Wiblin enjoys filling out a tournament bracket or two-trying to forecast how the March games will turn out.
"Some of us have a bracket pool at the firehouse, and there are a couple of buddies with a pool at the sheriff's office we can get in on," he said. "It's something I've done for about 15 to 20 years now. But just for fun-no one's going to get rich."
Wiblin said he does know some friends who have gone to Las Vegas and put a serious amount of money on high-priced March Madness tournament brackets there.
"But they're really into it," he said.
Washington State Community College freshman Bree Seevers of Marietta said she's been filling out March Madness brackets for the last three years.
"I wouldn't say I'm the best at picking winners," she admitted. "I started following the games back in high school where we always played the brackets just for fun. Not for any money."
Asked if she had a favorite team, Seevers said she, too, is a big Ohio State fan.
"They are looking at a number 2 seed," Seevers said. "So we'll just have to see where they go from here."
As the NCAA playoffs continue through the next three weekends, some local businesses can expect an uptick in customers, according to Tony Styer, owner of the Marietta Brewing Company on Front Street.
"The more local teams playing, the more people we see coming in to enjoy a drink or meal while watching the games on one of our four screens," he said. "Last year was really big because Ohio University had a spot in the playoffs."
Styer said in the past the MBC has also invited customers to take part in a tournament bracket pool through ESPN.
He said information about how to participate in the pool would be posted on the company's Facebook page.