With the First Four tipping off in Dayton in eight days, BetOhio.com took a break from Ohio sports betting sites to determine how often teams from each state qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
Utilizing CollegeBasketballReference.com, we compiled the total number of tournament appearances for every Division I program within a given state, and then divided by the number of schools in that state to equate for states with fewer teams.
Here is how the Buckeye State’s 13 D1 schools measured up. Keep it here at BetOhio ahead of March Madness for the best sports betting apps in Ohio.
States With Most March Madness Appearances Per School
A Trip Down History Lane
Despite placing 13th overall on this list, Ohio stands out among states with a large concentration of colleges. Of the 14 states with at least 10 D1 schools, only Pennsylvania and Indiana rank ahead of Ohio and both of those states feature more power conference programs than the Buckeye State, allowing for an easier path to bids.
A trio of headliners account for over 50% of the state’s tournament berths, along with most of its extended postseason success. At the front of the pack, Ohio State has earned 35 NCAA appearances, reaching 11 Final Fours and winning the 1960 national championship in the process.
With 33 bids, the University of Cincinnati registers just below the Buckeyes in terms of tournament appearances, however the Bearcats own an additional title compared to Ohio State.
Cincinnati is deadlocked with Temple for the most NCAA berths among teams residing in a non-power conference, although the Bearcats will join the Big 12 effective July 1.
Their crosstown rival Xavier rounds out the triumvirate of top programs in Ohio, and while the Musketeers lack the history of Ohio State and Cincinnati, they have appeared in the tournament more frequently than either of them over the past 40 years. Approximately 27 of Xavier’s 28 NCAA bids have come since 1983, whereas the Buckeyes and Bearcats have both made 23 tournaments since then.
Nonetheless, Ohio boasts more schools with at least 28 total NCAA appearances than any other state.
Among the state’s mid-major programs, the University of Dayton leads the way with 18 bids, including seven that resulted in a trip to at least the Sweet 16. Dayton currently has +4000 odds at the DraftKings Ohio app to make this year's Final Four.
Miami University sits right behind the Flyers with 17 berths, the most of any school in the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
Lean Year For The Buckeye State
Ohio’s five other MAC schools have a mixed history when it comes to basketball. Ohio University’s 14 tournament appearances rate second among teams in the league, but the rest of the conference has fallen victim to parity in its quest for bids to the point that Kent State’s six selections stand fourth overall among the league’s 12 members. The Golden Flashes also this week enter their conference tourney as favorites at BetMGM Sportsbook Ohio at +150.
Akron’s five bids rank fifth in the MAC, then six of the conference’s remaining seven teams, including Bowling Green and Toledo, claim exactly four NCAA appearances.
The last three D1 programs in the Buckeye State all reside in the Horizon League and have been infrequent players on the national stage. However, last season Wright State earned their fourth berth in school history by winning the conference tournament, a year after Cleveland State claimed its third NCAA appearance after taking the event.
Meanwhile, Youngstown State has never reached the tournament in its 43rd year history at the D1 level. The Penguins have a great opportunity to change that this year though, as they won their first ever Horizon League regular season title and enter the conference tournament as +110 favorites according to this FanDuel Ohio promo.
Additionally, several other Ohio schools will spend this week vying for bids. Toledo, Kent State and Akron finished in the top three spots in the MAC, while Ohio finished fifth in the conference but sports better odds to win the league tournament than fourth-place Ball State per DraftKings.
And in the Atlantic 10, FanDuel favors Dayton to emerge victorious from the Barclay’s Center this weekend at +130, despite the fact the Flyers ended the regular season tied for second in the conference by three games behind VCU. But as of now, 19th-ranked Xavier remains the only Ohio based program that can feel confident penciling its name in the bracket before the reveal happens Sunday.
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Author’s note – Data includes tournament appearances later vacated by the NCAA.