Whether we want to admit it or not, Coach Matta is a victim of his own success. He has taken this program to heights and a level of consistency not seen since the 1960's under Fred Taylor. While Fred Taylor was an amazing coach, the reality is the game eventually passed him by, and this was accelerated by the Minnesota fight. Its not politically correct to say, but Taylor recruited very few African American players. His last four years his teams won 14, 9, 14, and 6 games. His last year he was 2-16 in the B1G.
Eldon Miller recruited some great talent, yet was a poor bench coach and never won more than 21 games in 11 years. People remember Gary Williams positively as his teams were fun to watch, but his best record in the B1G was 9-9, never finishing higher than 6th.
Randy Ayers had a good start with Williams' recruits, but couldn't sustain success winning 13, 6, 10, 10 games in his final four seasons and leaving the program a mess. Jim O'Brien had a couple good years including a Final Four, but ultimately recruited poorly and left the program on probation and with little talent.
We all know Matta is the winningest OSU basketball coach of all time, multiple final fours, multiple B1G titles, etc. While this year's team had its deficiencies, the reality is it beat 5 tournament teams (Wisky, TSUN, Minny, Sparty, Providence) and was within two points of 3 others (Purdue, Virginia, Northwestern). With the exception of David Bell, there are no players on the roster who aren't B1G quality players. With a healthy Bates Diop, this team is in the NCAA tournament.
I'm relatively optimistic about the talent coming in over the next two years. And, with Jeremiah Francis and Dominiq Penn, there are two terrific rising point guards in Columbus with strong ties to Ohio State.
The program has clearly regressed from the amazing heights Matta lifted it too. He needs to show strong progress next year, including a trip to the NCAA's. But be careful what you wish for, as history would suggest no coach has had the sustained basketball success at OSU that Thad Matta has.