It's been a couple of days since the title game loss to Florida and Buckeye fans have had a chance to reflect on what could have been. Oden, of course, brought it with a monster game, but 17% from downtown while your opponent is bombing to the tune of 50% does not help your chances.
Unlike the embarrassment we all felt after the BCS Championship game, the basketball team and Buckeye fans can hold their heads up. 35 wins, Big Ten regular season and tournament championships and an amazing 22-game winning streak were the perfect tonic for a legion of fans reeling from an unexpected rout just three months ago.
A wonderful mix of upperclassmen and freshman brought it every single night and gave us all so many wonderful basketball memories. A national television audience (although near a record low for an NCAA Championship game) got to witness what a foul-free Greg Oden is capable of and in the end, the young Bucks lost to a team that the pundits are now considering one of the better squads of the past 30 years. No shame there.
There are some questions heading into the off-season and beyond to next season, for sure. Will Oden, Conley Jr. or Cook bolt early? Will two of them? Will all of them? Chris seems to think the whole crew will be back and I pray he's correct. I'm just conditioning myself to the fact that Oden will leave and there's a good possibility that Conley will leave as well. I'm not saying this will happen, but if I condition myself to accept this, it's a bonus if one or both returns. Cook needs to come back, but his decision-making isn't exactly his strong suit, so who knows.
The 2007-08 squad will have to replace seniors Ron Lewis and Ivan Harris. Lewis stepped up during the postseason and filled a leadership void that will need filled again next season, while the "Microwave" and his big shots will be missed as well.
We'd like to thank the 2006-07 Basketball Buckeyes for making this season so damn fun to watch (and cover). You came along at the right time and lifted the psyche of Buckeye nation at a time when it was desperately needed.
And Buckeye fans, don't listen to any smack from fans of any other school besides Florida. It smarts to lose the two big ones, but there are hundreds of other schools and millions of other fans that would have killed to have been in the position Buckeye fans were in this past school year.