Underachievers? Disappointment? Both? Neither?

Chris Lauderback's picture
March 26, 2011 at 10:00a

So, I've caught a little bit of feedback for labeling this team an "underachieving disappointment" in the game recap.

I feel I tried to clarify how I feel about this team and I truly don't feel the comment was an emotional knee-jerk response as I tried to summarize the game that ended hopes of a national title. Clearly, I'm aware of what this team accomplished by winning the regular and postseason conference titles. In no way am I trying to diminish the accomplishments of this team. I have stated on a few occassions that they are my favorite collection of players in hoops ever since I started following the Buckeyes. I'm 37.

For me, I guess maybe I get too caught up in the end result of sport. I stand behind my comment, though it was beyond without malice, because I felt early in the year this team was capable of winning it all. Then as the season unfolded, it became clear they were the best team in the land. Finally, they were awarded the #1 overall seed by the committee and nobody in America questioned that distinction.

So, the question is, considering what the team accomplished versus what they didn't - failing to get out of the Sweet 16 as the #1 overall seed - do you feel this team underachieved? Do you feel the end result was a disappointment? Do you think both? Do you think neither?

Why do you feel the way you do? I'm extremely curious to see what some well thought out responses to this look like.

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johnblairgobucks's picture

I think OSU lost.  They have ended the season in a loss ever year they have played basket ball, except years the won the NIT or NCAA......How many is that?  OSU had potential. 

It was fun to watch, it is sport.  From the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat (plagerized ha!)  Out of the 150+ division 1 men's basketball schools out there, only one ends the years as true champ, and with OSU playing only 6 guys a game, it would have been a stretch for them to win it all.  1 of the six guys had a bad shooting night, and another of the six played about 10 minutes.  So OSU was playing about 66% last night(4/6 giving).  They should have lost and did.  That said, they only lost by a few......so potential, yeah they had it, but they couldn't hold it.



Joe Beale's picture

I woke up this morning and still couldn't believe we lost to a team as mediocre as Kentucky.  I thought more highly of them before the game than after.

Danny - Inside The Shoe's picture

Ohio State destroyed an Elite Eight team (Florida) on the road, and another Sweet 16 team (FSU) on the road. They blew out Purdue and Wisconsin by epic amounts at home.  They clearly had the talent to go farther than they did.  They underachieved in the tournament, and I am disappointed.

Chris Lauderback's picture

This whole thing painfully reminds me of the 1998 football team which was by far the most talented OSU football team in my lifetime. Very difficult to see this hoops team join the 98 team as juggernauts without a title to show for their supreme talent.

Bucks's picture

I will never have any issue with any game, in any sport where my team gives it their all and loses. I am disappointed b/c in our worst performance of a beautiful season, the other team could only beat us by 2 points. This was not a game Kentucky showed how much better they were. We helped them win, which will sting for a while.

If we are to lose, let it be to the team that wins the championship. That will absolutely not be Kentucky.

This team has been something very special all season long. I have enjoyed them and while we lost in a poor fashion, this is a grouping of guys I will think of fondly. Not just *Threebler* or any of the fun monikers, but how they were with one another.


KenK's picture

Your final paragraph sums it up nicely. To cast it in Chris' terms, I'm 60, and this far and away, has been the most enjoyable season of OSU basketball I've seen. Their fine play had something to do with it, but really it was a treat to watch this team play and interact with one another. Really a special team and a special season.

Last night was absolutely disappointing to me, because I felt this team was better than the way they played. It was just a bad night to have a bad night. The sun still rose this morning.


Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

slippy's picture

2/16 is the very definition of underachieve.  I give UK credit with their lane defense.  You don't get double digit blocks without doing something right.  Having said that, they didn't make WB take all those terrible shots and miss the open ones.  It seemed Sully and WB were both too worried about having the ref call a foul than they were trying to score and get back on defense.  60 points?  


The face that we had our worst shooting game of the year and only lost by 2 in the sweet sixteen shows that this team was way better than that.  I wasn't worried watching the game as it went on because, as we were shooting I think 27% at one point, all it was going to take to change the game was to hit a few more shots.

Rooster Buckburn's picture

Unfortunately for us, Kentucky wasn't the team playing 'mediocre' last night. At this point in the season you have some teams peaking/improving and KY played probably it's best all-around game last night - they got great inside play, hit key shots, great defense (blocked, what, 11 shots?).

Just one of those 'any given nights' thing - sucks, but it is what it is. I'd bet the farm that OSU beats KY 9 out of 10 times - unfortunately last night wasn't one of the nine.

Ian_InsideTheShoe's picture

Kentucky wasn't as talented, and wasn't better coached. It's frustrating to go out the same way we did when we only had 1 really good player last year in Evan Turner. Now with Sullinger, Buford matured, Craft, Light, and Threebler, this was one of the best squads I've seen in a long while. That's what it means. Frustration, and disbelief. 

Luke's picture

Sorry, but not as talented? UK had the consensus best class in the country essentially everywhere, even without Kanter. They didn't play up to those expectations much in the same sense that Harrison Barnes failed to come on until late, but talent doesn't always correlate directly to results. I'd also say the defensive clinic the Wildcats put on plus the game put forth by Harrellson, a guy who averaged 1.3 points per game last year, is a testament to Calipari's coaching acumen. Believe me, I'm absolutely heart broken because of *who* these players were -- their character, their drive, their carrying of themselves as diplomats for their university. And while the "better" team may not have carried the evening, I think it's a pretty tough task to dismiss Kentucky as a lesser foe stealing a win.

Ian_InsideTheShoe's picture

I beleive that Kentucky is more of a team that has NBA ready, solid players. Ohio State has a couple of players that are "Stars" if you call them. I don't think they stole a game from us, they had consitently better play than us during the game, and I tip my hat to them. I'm simply saying we had a more talented team, but that's my opinion, so it's going to be fact. I think this was a team that Ohio State should have beat. 

Bobcat04's picture

Chris, I'm 33.  The first years that I really watched OSU basketball were the '90-'92 years with JJ and everyone else from Chris Jent to Perry Carter.  I've talked on here with BuckeyeChief about how one of the best moments I had when I was a kid was getting all of their autographs after a home game.  When that team in '92 lost to scUM in the Elite 8 after beating them twice already that year, I was just crushed.  It was in the middle of the Cooper scUM football futility, and it sucked so bad.

  Yesterday's loss was right up there.  I think that if we played UK out of 10 times, we would win 8 or so.  I agree with you that we were unquestionably the #1 team all of the regular season, and played like it frequently.  It was a HORRIBLE time to play your worst game.  Buford was literally a shade of himself out there.  I feared that maybe not getting tested in the tourney up to this point would come back to bite us. 

  I also agree that after a regular season like that, and all the accolades afforded, anything short of the Final Four is a disappointment.  Is the whole season a disappointment?  No.  But the tourney sure as hell is.  Up until yesterday I am in agreement that this was the best basketball team I had ever personally witnessed OSU put on the floor, and to go out in the Sweet 16 is ungodly disappointing.  Also, with the exception of the Oden/Conley team, Matta has been overall disappointing in the tourney.  B1G Champs with the POY in Dials in '05-'06 and losing to GTown in the second round.  Losing to Siena in the first round.  Losing to Tennessee in the Sweet 16.  This year.  All higher seeds upset.  I'm in NO WAY calling for his head, I think that he's done a great job, and if a couple folks stay, we should again be one of, if not THE, most talented team in the B1G.  He is building a record of underachievement in the tourney though, save one year.  Izzo has taken far less talented teams to the Final Four.

We were lucky to enjoy this team, though, and that adds to the sadness that it's over.  I'll miss it.   

Buckeye Chuck's picture

It's interesting you mentioned the '92 team, because while I was confident going into the Kentucky game (despite a lifetime of learning that being confident about any Buckeye team in a game with national title implications is usually a setup for a hard fall), the one thing that gave me pause was the superficial similiarity between Kentucky and the "Fab Five" team that beat us 19 years ago.

I'm not sure that not getting tested hurt us going into the game Friday--it's not uncommon for top seeds to have runaways in their first two tournament games--but I do think that Matta's philosophy of the short bench leaves the Buckeyes with few options when a Buford has a miserable game. Tom Izzo believes in playing more guys, even if it means a few more losses in November and December. And Izzo's team is the only one that consistently represents in March for the Big Ten. Food for thought.

I suppose "underachieiving" struck some readers as too harsh, but isn't it true by definition? For the top seed in the tournament to go out prior to the Elite 8 is pretty unusual (though it's now happened 2 straight seasons). And as pointed out above, fans' reactions to these things can't be seen in isolation. Disappointments in the tournament are becoming the norm here (even the women's team, which has been the most upset-prone in the entire country where the NCAAs are concerned, at least lived up to their seed in 2011, something the men have done only once in their last 8 tournaments). I'm sure Kansas fans feel snakebit after what happened Sunday and what happened vs. Northern Iowa last year, but they still have a very recent national championship to look back on. Middle-aged and younger Buckeyes don't have those memories.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

Bucksfan's picture

It's a little disappointing, but c'mon it was also one of the hardest fought games in a long, long time.  It was a classic.  Yeah, OSU was on the losing end, but whatever that's life, and it's March Madness.

What's most disappointing is the sulking of so many OSU fans.  GET OVER IT!  It's just a basketball game.  Ohio State is not the first team to lose heartbreakers in the tourney, but for some reason a lot of people are acting like it's such a travesty that has befallen them.  The Fab-5 didn't win a title and they were one of, if not THE, most impressive assemblage of college talent ever.  Can you name a single person on that UNC team that beat them?  Yeah, me neither.

Look, people from all over Ohio grow up fans of many different college basketball teams.  It's a pretty rich region of the country.  Cincinnati, Xavier, Miami, Dayton, Ohio State, Toledo, Akron, Wright State, hell throw Kentucky and Louisville in there, too, Pitt, Indiana...lots of D-1 schools.  Growing up a Bearcats fan, you know what heartbreak is.  March 2000, K-mart and the Bearcats were going to win it all, there was no question who the #1 team was.  THIS WAS THE YEAR.  K-mart breaks his leg in the Conf-USA tourney and loses to a St. Louis team that they had just beaten a couple weeks earlier 84-41.  UC settles for a 2-seed, doesn't come close to sniffing the final 4, out in the 2nd round.  I went to high school with kids that were not afraid to admit they cried like babies when they saw K-mart go down.  The year before that, UC basketball team beat #1 Duke in the regular season, arguably Coach-K's best team ever, got a 3-seed in the tourney and went on to lose to Temple in the 2nd round.  Hell, just getting to the Sweet 16 became THE major accomplishment for those Huggins teams, and I have no doubt that any of them would have waxed the floor with any Ohio State team from the same era.  Oh, and that unreal Duke team?  Lost a heartbreaker to up-and-coming UConn in the final.

13 straight years of Tournament appearances for UC under Huggy Bear, five straight years of top-3 seeds from 1996-2000 yielding only one Elite 8 appearance...1 Final Four, and it was the 1991-1992 season.  That's a lot of downed expectations.  Xavier is no slouch program either, and how many Final Fours do they have?

My point is that Ohio State fans need to start understanding that March Madness applies to them, too.  As an OSU alumnus, I'm allowed to call everyone out on their perspective.  No one is immune to the Madness.  Embrace it.  The Sweet 16 is a big deal.  Getting past the Sweet 16 is HARD.  And don't take the losses personally.  One final loss doesn't mean the season was a loss.  If Ohio State's basketball team ever wins a national championship again, AWESOME.  But, remember that the last time they won an NCAA tournament, there were only 25 teams and OSU had a first round bye.  It's harder to do it these days.  The odds are not in anyone's favor, although I cannot say I'm surprised to see Butler (in last year's title game), UConn (probably the team of the last 15 years), and Kentucky (one of the best college basketball programs of all-time) as Final Four teams.