The Ohio State Buckeyes are the No. 1 seed in the East Region of the 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket. They've been the most consistent team in the country all season. After rattling off 24 consecutive wins to start the 2010-11 season, the Buckeyes continued to dominate their competition all year, finishing with a 16-2 record in Big Ten play and 29-2 overall heading in to the Big Ten tournament. OSU is led by freshman sensation, Jared Sullinger, who burst onto the national scene with 26 points and 10 rebounds in an early season matchup with Florida. Sullinger proved his breakout performance was no fluke by continuing to average 17.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game for the rest of the season. With such eye-popping numbers, it is no surprise that Sullinger was named first-team All-Big Ten as well as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Coach Thad Matta has assembled an impressive supporting cast, featuring the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year in Aaron Craft and senior David Lighty. Ohio State boasts a balanced offensive attack, with four players (William Buford, Sullinger, Lighty and Jon Diebler) averaging double figures. Combine such an offensive arsenal with a solid defense, anchored by two first-team All-Big Ten Defense selections in Lighty and Craft, and the Buckeyes have all the ingredients of a team that could make a deep NCAA Tournament run.
Record: 32-2, 19-2 in the Big Ten
Key wins: An early season 93-75 win over Florida on the road remains one of the more impressive out-of-conference wins for the Buckeyes. OSU took care of business outside of the Big Ten all season long, putting together a flawless 13-0 record.
Key losses: Ohio State's only two losses came on the road against fellow Big Ten powerhouses Purdue and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes' hopes of an undefeated regular season were dashed in a 71-67 loss against the Badgers at the Kohl Center on Feb. 12. OSU fell again a week later in a 73-63 loss to the Boilermakers on Feb. 20.
Key players: Jared Sullinger has been phenomenal. The freshmen star garners much of the hype, yet it is the depth and senior leadership that make Ohio State so dominating. Sullinger will undoubtedly earn his eye-popping stats, but do not be surprised if seniors Jon Diebler and David Lighty come up with the big-time, clutch plays to power the Buckeyes' quest for a national championship.
-- Conrad Kaczmarek of SB Nation Cleveland.
See our printable 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket.