CINCINNATI (AP) The Big Ten. The Big East. The American Athletic Conference. The Atlantic 10. Ohio's entries into the NCAA Tournament this year are going to run the gamut.
There might even be one from the Mid-American Conference, too.
Ohio is set to get at least four and maybe five teams into the NCAA Tournament, extending its run as one of March's marquee states. Ohio has sent 11 teams to the tournament in the last three years, trailing only North Carolina (14) and California (13), according to STATS.
Ohio State, Xavier, Cincinnati and Dayton are poised to make it as the same foursome from last year. Dayton pulled off one of the most notable upsets in last season's tournament by beating Ohio State to reach the Sweet 16.
Their conference tournaments will have a lot to say about where their NCAA seeds and their chances of turning into a big story in a couple of weeks.
''Our bags are packed, we're ready to get on the bus and get on the plane,'' Xavier center Matt Stainbrook said, before heading to Madison Square Garden for the Big East tournament. ''Everybody is excited to get the process started.''
How they stack up heading into conference tournament week:
CINCINNATI: The Bearcats (22-9, 13-5) won their last five games to get the No. 3 seed in the AAC and position themselves for an NCAA Tournament berth. Their biggest shortcoming all season has been offense, and it got better in the last few weeks.
''I told our guys we've been training for the tournament over the last five games,'' said assistant coach Larry Davis, running the team on game day while Mick Cronin recovers from a problem with a blood vessel. ''In the tournament, you've got to win and survive and advance. That's where we've been the last five games. In my mind, we couldn't lose any of those five and feel real good about getting in the tournament.''
DAYTON: A 55-53 loss at La Salle in the final regular season game left the Flyers (23-7, 13-5) a game behind Davidson for the Atlantic 10 title. Their undersized lineup - no player over 6-foot-6 - is looking at the conference tournament as a chance to regain a good feeling.
''It's a fresh start and you move on,'' coach Archie Miller said. ''We were very, very close to doing something that we've talked about for a long time here and came up just short. Now there's another opportunity. It takes one win to get the juices flowing again in the postseason.''
OHIO STATE: The erratic Buckeyes (22-9, 11-7) are built around spectacular freshman point guard D'Angelo Russell, but haven't been able to develop a consistent threat to complement him. Russell is averaging 19.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists, but frequently leads the way in all three categories for his team.
Coach Thad Matta has taken the Buckeyes to the NCAA Tournament nine of the last 10 years, but he's unsure what to expect from his latest team at tournament time. ''I don't know,'' he said. ''I'll be interested to see how they come out and play. I want them to feel the heat.''
XAVIER: The youthful Musketeers (19-12, 9-9) set a school record by winning four games against ranked teams during the regular season, going 4-2 overall against the Top 25. Playing in a conference with the second-best RPI in the nation, they got better in February and March.
''There's no doubt we are a tournament team,'' coach Chris Mack said. ''We're in the second-best conference in the country. We've done our job, but our job isn't complete in the sense we want to win some games in Madison Square Garden.''
THE REST: Kent State got the No. 3 seed and Toledo the No. 4 seed in the Mid-American Conference tournament, with the winner going to the NCAA Tournament.
AP Sports Writer Rusty Miller in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.
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