Buckeyes Hoping History Repeats Itself

By Joe Beale on February 26, 2014 at 1:30p
Welcome to the Big Ten, John Beilein!

The Villain made the shot and Jon Diebler was ready to party.


This basketball season has been a rather unpredictable one, to say the least. For Ohio State fans, the ride was all uphill during the non-conference season only to face a steep plummet when faced with better competition inside the Big Ten.

Now, having recovered a bit from the depths of a 1-5 stretch in January, the Buckeyes are looking up and find themselves three games behind Michigan in the conference standings with three to play. Not only that, but losing to the boys in blue in their only meeting means that if a miracle did happen and the two teams ended up tied, UM wins the tie-breaker. A hopeless cause?

Ah, but that's where the beauty of basketball shines, as each team receives new life in the upcoming Big Ten tournament. Right now Ohio State has as many wins (22) as any team in the conference. If they win out (which is entirely possible) they will most likely end up as one of the top four seeds, and then the three wins it would take to win the tournament would make them 28-6 and a candidate for a #2 or #3 seed in the NCAA tourney.

So what gives me so much confidence in the idea of winning the conference tournament? In a word: history. In Thad Matta's nine previous seasons as OSU head coach the Buckeyes have won this tournament four times and finished runner-up three more times. Based on the Matta years alone, Ohio State has more tournament championships than any other team in the history of the tournament (dating back to 1998).

The following is a rundown of how OSU has fared in the tournament season-by-season during the Matta years. 


In his first season, Thad was trying to recover from the O'Brien scandal and no one expected much out of the team. Nevertheless, the Buckeyes put together an 8-8 conference season and defeated Penn State 72-69 in the opening game of the Big Ten tournament. However, they bowed out quietly against Wisconsin 60-49, thus ending the season with a 20-11 mark (no post-season due to probation).


The next season, Matta took what was basically the same crew as the previous season and led them to a regular season conference title. They went into the tournament as the #1 seed, but ultimately lost to a hot Iowa team in the title game by a score of 67-60. That Ohio State team finished 26-6, defeating Davidson in the 1st round of the NCAA tournament before bowing out against Georgetown 70-52. 


In his most successful season to date, Matta welcomed in freshmen Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Daequan Cook, and David Lighty in what was one of the top recruiting classes in the nation. The freshmen led OSU to a regular season record of 27-3 and 15-1 in the conference. The Buckeyes cruised through the tournament, defeating Wisconsin 66-49 in the final.


Three of the aforementioned freshmen left for the NBA after the 2007 season, thus depleting the roster. The Buckeyes were defeated in the first round of the Big Ten tournament by Michigan State, a team they had just beaten the week before, and that ended any chance they had for an NCAA tournament berth. OSU went to the NIT and played with an attitude, sailing through five games to win the title.


The Buckeyes were a respectable 10-8 in-conference during the regular season, but they had lost to Michigan State twice. The 7th ranked Spartans were 15-3 in the Big Ten and shooting for a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament if they could win the B1G tourney. Ohio State stopped them cold, winning 82-70. 

Ohio State had edged Wisconsin in the first round before facing Michigan State, and the win over the Spartans was their fourth straight. But they could not sustain the momentum, losing to Purdue in the tournament final 65-61. 


OSU won their last four games of the regular season to finish 14-4 in-conference and grab the #1 seed for the tournament, but it was a struggle from there. In the first game, the Buckeyes led Michigan 51-38 in the second half but let it all slip away and actually trailed 68-66 with 2.2 seconds left. And then this happened

After that heart-stopper, the team needed two overtimes to fend off a feisty Illinois team before crushing Minnesota in the tournament final. They carried their momentum into the NCAA tournament, where they defeated UC Santa Barbara and Georgia Tech to give Matta the first of what is now four straight sweet-sixteens before the magical run ended in a bitter loss against Tennessee.


Led by another outstanding freshman class (Sullinger, Thomas, Craft), OSU stormed out to a 24-0 record and ended up 29-2 heading into the Big Ten tournament. They needed overtime to fend off the pesky Northwestern Wildcats in the first round before beating Michigan (again) and upstart Penn State to take the title again.


The Buckeyes struggled with outside shooting (sound familiar?) throughout the season but still managed to grab a #3 seed going into the conference tournament. They accomplished this by defeating Michigan State at the Breslin Center on the last day of the regular season. In the tourney, OSU annihilated upstart Purdue 88-71 and humiliated B1G co-champion Michigan (again!) 77-55 before falling in the final to the same Spartans they had just beaten on the road a week earlier.


Last season OSU lost star center Jared Sullinger and so they were not expected to be as dominant as they had been the two previous seasons. A rough February stretch (where they lost three out of four) slowed Ohio State's title run, but they rebounded to win five straight and finish a strong second place behind Indiana. In the tournament, the Buckeyes crushed Nebraska and edged Michigan State and Wisconsin to win their third Big Ten title in four years. 

Enjoy this additional video of Evan Turner stealing Michigan's soul with commentary from both the OSU and UM radio teams. 



Comments Show All Comments

BuckeyeSki's picture

So what your saying is tOSU gets hot when it Matta's?

I'll show myself out....

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

+12 HS
buckeyeEddie27's picture


It's like Filet Mignon for my ears.

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

+4 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Still get goosebumps when I watch that highlight. You gotta love that TUN radio call - dude screaming Oh No

bkleppel's picture

I could watch that over and over again and it will never get old.

+1 HS
c92996p's picture

Same with me.  This and Braxton's throw vs Wisconsin give me goose bumps even now.

+1 HS
Waltbuck's picture

Evan was the man.  Hope he gets a ring with the Pacers.

+1 HS
Orangeslash's picture

Does anyone know who/what Matta was yelling at in the end of that clip?

Joe Beale's picture

At the time it seemed like he was taunting Beilein, but we may never know for sure.

jawnly211's picture

if memory serves me correctly...i believe the michigan coaches were asking the scorers' table to review and Matta "agreed" and was also telling them to look all they want....don't mess with Matta in March!

+1 HS
Joe Beale's picture

This guy listed two possibilities, and the reasons for each. 

bkleppel's picture

Matta was yelling at Beilein. As I recall, Evan Turner had won the Big Ten POY award, and the only coach that didn't vote for him was Beilein, so he was yelling "thats the player of the year". I'm not 100% sure though.

TossTrap's picture

I rooting for the Buckeyes to keep winning with Iowa getting another loss. I would love to see us with fresh legs in the B1G tourney.

And God, if Q and Sam both get hot in the NCAAs - look out!

First and goal at the five and Arch is getting the ball.

nburns18's picture

I think i watched that video 5 times. the past few years ohio state hits rock bottom in february then rebounds and ends up making a run in march. Wouldnt be surprised if it happened this year

"You win with people." -Woody Hayes

BuckeyeinToledo's picture

That shot for me goes along the same lines as Ron Lewis's beauty.


"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

-Woody Hayes

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

I would like Gus Johnson to officiate my funeral. Is that morbid?

+1 HS
BuckeyeinToledo's picture

Can I get him to officiate the birth of my child? If I could upvote you I would sir. 

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

-Woody Hayes

+1 HS
bucksfan92's picture

I was really against the B1GT when it started, and honestly I still would prefer a full double round robin over this event, but it has become an OSU dominated tourney.  I call it The Ohio State Invitational.  We have been in more than half of the finals and have won 6 of them.  MSU is next at 3.  I am sort of hypocritical since I have actually attended this for at least part (and generally all) of it for the last 7 years.  I highly recommend it, especially when it's in Indy.  It is a very fun event.  I am still on the fence about going this year though.

Seattle Linga's picture

So pissed that I missed ET's game winner - can't wait to see what happens this year,

JakeBuckeye's picture

I missed it too. It is by far one of my biggest regrets in life and a lesson to never miss a Buckeye game no matter the cost.

Seattle Linga's picture

I was at work at the ticker said we were down with 2 seconds to go - eventually it updated and we won - I couldn't find a TV anywhere - boy that was frustrating

JakeBuckeye's picture

Likewise, I was at school. And wow, that was my freshman year of high school. It feels like just yesterday. Its crazy how time flies.

Go1Bucks's picture

I wouldn't mind losing the tourney if it could just motivate us to win the friggin Dance.

Just imagine what could have been accomplished had we not lost so many, to early NBA exits.

Go Bucks!

-1 HS
JakeBuckeye's picture

I think we get to the Big Ten Championship game, at the very least. This team is going to surprise in March.

Nutinpa's picture

Optimism post of the year. No offense meant, really.

The only way this team will "surprise" in March...is if they win a game or two.

bucksfan92's picture

Well tonight's game made my decision very easy.  Won't be going to Indy this year.  For the first time in over 10 years we are going to have to play on Thursday.  Right now that game would be vs Penn St.  I don't like our chances of getting past them in a 3rd game either.