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ONU could be considered as at-large bid to NCAA Tournament, analysts say

ONU (19-9, 12-6 OAC) fell to John Carroll in the OAC Tournament championship on Saturday. (photo/ ONU Sports Information)

The Ohio Northern men’s basketball team (19-9) could have a shot at being an at-large bid to this year’s NCAA Tournament, Div. III basketball analysts from D3hoops.com said on their live Hoopsville mock selection show on Sunday night.

The analysts predicted that Ohio Northern would be one of the final eight teams in the discussion for who would receive the final at-large bid to the tournament. Among those eight, however, ONU was one of the first teams that the analysts ruled out for the spot.

While the analysts originally said that Ohio Wesleyan would be the final member of the discussion from the Great Lakes Region, they ultimately decided that Ohio Northern had the slightly stronger resume and put the Polar Bears into the discussion instead.

Ohio Northern and Ohio Wesleyan have eerily similar strength of schedule ratings, win-loss records and in-region win percentages, but the experts said that they changed their minds and took Ohio Northern because of some of their in-region wins over ranked opponents.

ONU won road games at 25th-ranked Baldwin Wallace on Jan. 10 and at 24th-ranked Marietta in the OAC Tournament semifinals on Thursday.

While Ohio Northern was inserted into the discussion, however, the analysts seemed to believe that they would likely not be in serious contention for the final at-large bid.

Ohio Northern finished the regular season third in the OAC (12-6), falling to John Carroll in the OAC Tournament championship game on Saturday night.

The D3hoops.com analysts predicted that two other OAC schools would qualify for the NCAA Tournament: John Carroll, who took the automatic bid, and Marietta, who they believe will get in as an at-large. The other Great Lakes Region schools to qualify for the mock selection were Hanover, Hope, Thomas More, Wittenberg and Wooster.

D3hoops.com is known as the authoritative national source for information and analysis of Div. III basketball. Their analysts noted that while they are typically within one or two picks of predicting the tournament field, there seems to be more parity in this year’s field, which could lead to a less accurate mock selection show.

The official men’s NCAA Tournament selection show will be on Monday at 12:30 p.m.