March 11, 2012
ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University men's basketball team is headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years and will begin play on Friday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The Bobcats are the No. 13 seed in the Midwest Region and they open with No. 4 Michigan.
The Michigan-Ohio winner will advance to the third round to face the winner of No. 5 seed and No. 12 seed California/South Florida on Sunday (March 18) for a spot in the Midwest Region semifinals in St. Louis, Mo. Game times are TBA.
This will be the 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament for Ohio. The Bobcats have a 5-13 all-time record (lost a Regional Third Place Game in 1960) and will be making their second trip to the tournament under Groce. The last time it played in the NCAA Tournament, the Bobcats upset No. 3-seed Georgetown in the first round before falling to No. 6 Tennessee in the second round.
Ohio is 27-7 overall and posted a 11-5 record in Mid-American Conference play, finishing third overall in league play. The 27 wins are the most all-time for any Bobcat club, surpassing the previous mark of 25 wins set by the 1993-94 team. Ohio's 12-1 start to the season matched the best start in program history, matching the 1920-21 and 1939-40 squads. This year's team also became the fastest Bobcat squad to win 20 games.
The Bobcats recently won the MAC Tournament in Cleveland by defeating No. 7 Toledo 65-57 in the quarterfinals, No. 2 Buffalo in the semifinals, 77-74, and regular-season champion Akron in the finals, 64-63.
Ohio has never beaten the Wolverines in three total contests. The last meeting was in the 1971 Michigan Invitational at Crisler Arena. The two programs have some NCAA history as well with Michigan earning a 69-57 win in the 1964 Midwest Regional finals.
Michigan is 24-9 overall and posted a 13-5 record in Big Ten Conference play to claim a share of its first Big Ten title since 1986, a span of 26 years. The Wolverines' 24-9 record continues to be the best start for Michigan under fifth-year head coach John Beilein and marks the third 20-win season in the last four years. It marks the first time Michigan has earned back-to-back tournament berths since 1995 and '96.