Ohio State can’t duck Dayton. Not this time.

Despite the campuses being only one hour apart, Ohio State and Dayton have played only six times, and not since the 2008 NIT. It’s not that Dayton is unwilling to test itself against the dominant team in the state, it’s that Ohio State, as the top dog, sees no reason to schedule a non-conference game against a regional opponent that would like nothing better than to beat down the Buckeyes.

“I can’t speak for Ohio State’s scheduling philosophy,’’ Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “You’d have to talk to the big guy about that one.’’

The big guy is Ohio State coach Thad Matta, who admitted “I wish we weren’t playing’’ Dayton. The NCAA Tournament selection committee set up an intriguing South Regional game on Thursday, with this one being billed as the Battle of Ohio.

Miller knows all about Ohio State. He was an assistant coach at the school for Matta. Jordan Sibert, a junior guard and Dayton’s leading scorer, also knows all about Ohio State. He played 49 games in two years with the Buckeyes before transferring to Dayton.

“Every transfer would love to get a chance to go against their old school,’’ Sibert said. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hyped about this game. Playing against your friends and going against people you’ve grown up with is definitely something to get excited about.’’

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim always has a handle on who’s hot and who’s not and he has got his eye on a few teams to make a run in the tournament.

“I’d pick Louisville and Michigan State because they’re playing the best right now,’’ Boeheim said. “Or Florida and Arizona, those are the four best teams going into the tournament. That doesn’t mean they’re all going to get there. I would bet they won’t all get there, but those are the most likely teams to get there.’’