'Ohio kids have been successful in Sparty's program, and that is neither coincidence nor accident.'
Let's not be naive and act like all of these kids are home runs:
Javon Bess (Gahanna)- averaged 2.9 pts a game, transferred to St.Louis after two years
Kenny Kaminski (Medina)- averaged 4.9 pts a game, suspended from the team twice, transferred to Ohio University
Kyle Ahrens (Versailles)- current sophomore, averages 3.1 pts a game
I am sure I could come up with plenty more if I wanted to spend the time. Those 3 were on the top of my head. And there are plenty of highly successful Ohio kids that have come through or are in Matta's program: Lighty, Diebler, Buford, Sully, Craft, Tate, etc.. It is a much bigger list than the bust list: Sibert, Weatherspoon, Harris, etc.
My biggest knock on Matta is not the Ohio kids he landed and developed. He has done an excellent job in that area. It is that he has not recruited Ohio enough. The huge recruiting blunders by Matta were 2011 (Thompson, Scott, Williams, Ross, McDonald) and last year (Mitchell, Grandstaff, Giddens, Harris, and Lyle). 8 of those 9 players either did not play to their recruiting ranking (in some cases not even close) or they transferred out of the program (and in some cases transferred again, ha ha). The jury is still out on Jaquan Lyle. Only one of those 9 players came from the state of Ohio: AJ Harris.
Some might say the success rate of Ohio kids versus out of state kids is purely coincidental. I do not. And I am starting to think maybe Thad doesn't as well. 3 of the 4 kids in this year's class are from Ohio (Potter, Wesson, and Funderburk). And 4 of the 5 commits (verbal or signed) are from Ohio (Wesson, Goodwin, Bazley, Ahrens). I like that trend. We'll see if it pays off.
This post is incredible. Well done, Bolt.
You think they did not play with effort to comeback from an 18 pt deficit and cut it to three? Plus outrebound a team (by 7) that has one of the best interiors in the game.
The only game where they flat out gave a bad effort was the Wisconsin game. And you could argue the first half against Illinois and the second half against FAU.
If you thought they did not give effort against Minnesota, you were watching a different game than I was.
I would be thrilled with 10-8 in the conference and we get in the NCAA tourney somehow. And next season KBD hopefully comes back healthy, Funderburk and Kaleb Wesson possibly join the rotation, and possibly your only loss is Loving. And let's be honest, Loving isn't going to be a huge loss.
I know some fans had us pegged as a bottom feeder in the Big Ten after Thursday's debacle. And that may end up being true. There are no gimmies in the Big Ten this year. The top is weaker than most years, but the depth is much stronger than last year. But if this team plays with the same passion they did against Purdue and Michigan State, they could do it.
Wednesday's game @ Nebraska becomes a must win. We cannot dig a bigger hole than we already have and we need to build on the confidence we gained from yesterday. But let's say we somehow pull out a victory in Lincoln. We would need 8 more wins to get to 10. We would have 5 more road games (Iowa, Michigan, Maryland, MSU, PSU). We would need to at least get 2 wins in those 5. MSU is nearly a guarantee loss on the road, but I think they could get 2 of the 4. It would not be easy, but we could do it.
Now let's look at the 7 home games (Northwestern, Minney, Maryland, Rutgers, Neb, Wisky, and Ind). Rutgers is probably the only lock win. And we are probably looking at a split at best with Wisky and IU. But could we win the other 4 games? It would not be easy, but we absolutely could. No gimmies, but it's not like (NW, Minney, Mary, Neb) is a murderer's row.
And say we get to 10-8. You are looking at a team that won 10 of their last 14 games. With a coach that has had a crazy amount of success in the Big Ten tourney (4 titles and a runner-up).
I know this post is just a bunch of 'what ifs.' And we may very well tank it and Sunday end up being the only bright spot in a terrible year. But I have seen sicker dogs get well. There is still hope.