Looking Back at Ohio State Basketball's 11 Trips to the Final Four

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IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

Amir Williams played nine competent minutes in his absence giving fans false hope for the future

My gut told me he was never going to duplicate that game and it was right. Amir was solid. For one night anyway.

"You're the patron saint of the totally effed" - Hot Tub Time Machine

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Crumb's picture

Thank you for counting 1999. When the NCAA reinstated Penn State's football records they made all vacated records in their history null and void.
I know it won't happen, but I'd love to see Ohio State stand up to them and count the 99 Final Four amd the 2010 football season, because anyone with a brain does.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

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Sanantonefan's picture

I guess the NCAA would have to have a brain to do this then. Not holding my breath. ;)

You Got Barbecue Back There!?!?!?!

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bucksfan92's picture

Take a look at the team pictures they take every year in the practice facility.  There is always a picture under the banner that lists the final fours.  There is a gap between 1968 and 2007 where 1999 used to be.  They left the gap there on purpose. I love it. I'd love it more if they left the 1999 but I do love the fact that it's at least a little bit of an FU to the NCAA's comical fake eraser.

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raiderred's picture

I mean the Greg oden team has to be the best team I saw not to win a national championship in the 2000s. They just ran into a buzzsaw and played perhaps the national championship team of the 2000s. Sucked that year of oden had to coincide with a team that returned practically everyone back and won a national title the previous year.

The biggest killer was the Brandon knight shot in the sweet sixteen. I think we were clearly the best team in the country that year. Bufford basically shot us out of the game that year. That was the most painful buckeye game I’ve seen because that should have been our year and to lose it on a game winning shot on a crappy player like Brandon knight made my soul leave my body that day.

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Wyandot Buckeye Fan's picture

William should of passed the ball to Jon, if you remember right Jon made the 3 to tie it.

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PRO8's picture

Against Florida all the Buckeyes had to do that night to win the NC was to hit the season average in 3 pointers . We had plenty of wide open threes that night but they were not going down. IOW that Florida team was good but they were not that special compared to the Buckeyes.

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BeatMeechigun's picture

2011 was the worst tournament draw in history.

Last year's Michigan team faced one ranked team (#21 Houston) before the finals.  Ohio State in 2011 would have needed to defeat 3 straight top 11 teams (#11 Kentucky who somehow was only a 4-seed, #7 UNC, and #9 UConn JUST to reach the finals.

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

IIRC, the biggest reason we fell behind Florida early was a couple of questionable foul calls on Conley that sent him to the bench as Florida built its lead. We were never able to fully recover from that.

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Hovenaut's picture

Nice look back on hoops history...I keep forgetting about the '68 team and the run they had, as well as beating a game Houston program and Elgin Baylor (who had upset mighty UCLA in the Game of the Century just a few months prior). What a year for the revenue sports in Columbus.

Here's to the Buckeyes adding to this history under Coach Holtmann soon.

Got M...igan gossip? Bang it here.

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allinosu's picture

I remember Elvin Hayes on the Houston team as their star.

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Hovenaut's picture

Yep, got my hoops stars/decade/schools all mixed up there.

Got M...igan gossip? Bang it here.

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allinosu's picture

I probably would have also but it was the first big time game I ever seen. I still remember the announcer yelling "guess who" after Elvin beat Alcinder (Jabbar) again. 

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

Jabbar played the game in the Astrodome with a patch over one eye. UCLA got revenge in the tourney though.

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NewPhilaFan's picture

IIRC, Elgin Baylor played for the University of Seattle.

Let's Go Bucks

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Monclovabuckeye's picture

Elgin Baylor played his college ball at Seattle University.

I don't give a damn for the whole state of Xichigan.

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Hovenaut's picture

Thanks, MB.

Got M...igan gossip? Bang it here.

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Monclovabuckeye's picture

You're welcome. The sad thing is I'm so old I remember Baylor very well.

I don't give a damn for the whole state of Xichigan.

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GoBuckeyes1020's picture

Still remember the opportunities that got away......like 2013 when the Buckeyes had an amazing season behind the outstanding play of Oleh Onopriienko only to have it fall apart in an Elite 8 loss to Wichita State

The pain of discipline or the pain of regret, take your pick

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GareBear's picture

Perfect post 

Michigan sucks

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IGotAWoody's picture

It's easy to forget about Oleh...

Sometimes it's as if he never even played for the Bucks!

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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PRO8's picture

No doubt the Buckeyes have a solid history of basketball. Unfortunately probably the biggest reason fans don't appreciate it is because they only have that one NCAA championship so long ago.  The over 30 years of purgatory that tOSU suffered between  Taylor and Matta does not help either.

Of course we kept average coaches like John Cooper in football also for far to long also but you will notice that in football the Buckeyes also had a purgatory of over 30 years of not winning a football title, in what we fans claim to be a football school. Thus the only distinguishing feature between BB and football for the Buckeyes is really the number of championships that football can swag about and why BB is held to a little brother level.

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PRO8's picture

I left out that the Buckeyes also have 4 National players of the year in BB as compared to the 7 Heisman trophy winners in football.The most recent of any being Evan Turner. Of course in my mind Zeke should have been the Heisman trophy winner in 2014, they just don't vote for it at the right time as it should include the whole football season especially now with the playoff like BB player of the year .

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Lighteyes's picture

In addition to the lack of titles, the other big historical difference why fans/media consider Ohio State a football school is simply how those 'purgatory' periods were. The years between 1968 and 2002 might not have produced national title banners, but still won plenty of conference titles (15 if Wikipedia is correct) while being in the top 10-15 teams in the country almost every single years, pumping out pro talent, etc. Even if they weren't quite winning titles, there was still plenty of other success to draw eyeballs.

By comparison, the basketball team went almost three decades (1971 to 1999) with two fantastic Jim Jackson years, two other Sweet 16 appearances, and then not a ton else that jumps off the page.

That said, I'm looking forward to Holtmann continuing to develop the roster. That stretch from 2005 to 2012 when Ohio State won 5 B1G regular season championships, 4 B1G tourney championships, was a fixture in the NCAA tourney, and stood toe-to-toe with Kansas, Kentucky, etc in heads-up matchups? Not a fluke, that's a legitimate level that Ohio State can absolutely get back to...and everything Holtmann has done since walking in the door has made me believe that he's got the coaching and recruiting acumen to get there.

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BeatMeechigun's picture

Agree.

Winning the tournament takes some luck obviously, and our best teams have faced some bad luck - running into Cincinnati (a program that was in the middle of 5-straight final fours) in 61 and 62, facing the damn Fab Five for a third time in 92, facing Florida in 07 instead of most of the other finalists from that decade, and getting an awful draw in 2011 (even had we beaten Kentucky, winning two more top 10 games against UNC and UConn just to reach the finals wasn't going to be a gimme).

UConn and MSU on the other hand have had a ton of fortune.  Neither has ever finished #1 at the end of the regular season poll, but both have multiple titles.

The season ending AP poll shows a much more favorable perspective on our program than NCs and one that aligns with our 11 final fours.  Most times finishing atop the AP poll or precursor since the dance began in 1939:

1. Kentucky 12x

2. UCLA 8x

3. Duke 8x

4. UNC 6x

5. (Tie) Indiana and Ohio State 4x each

7. Kansas 3x

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

Well, we are a football school, after all. If you want to cheer for a basketball school...cheer for TTUN.

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2morrow's picture

Right on PRO! However...

THE FIRST EVER...

Ohio State's first Final Four came in 1939 which also served as the first ever version of the NCAA Tournament. 

This timing about coincides with um's last national championship in football and ushered in the "face mask" era. LOL

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mrspray's picture

Man, that 2012 team perplexes me. I had built up for the tournament all year the previous year only for the team to get dropped in the sweet sixteen, then comes out and makes it to the final four in 2012. I vividly remember Amir Williams' performance and how surprised I was that they beat Syracuse.

Honestly though, even if they had pulled out the W against Kansas, there was no way they were beating UK in the championship...

In case you're curious, it's Mr. Spray

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Blackcoffee's picture

I was 11 when Sorenson Hoskett played. Used to go to the games. Keep score in the program. Howell could've doubled as a dline football player. Just a bruiser in the middle. Sorenson had such a sweet shot. This is the type of stuff that hooks you forever.

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allinosu's picture

Do you remember Jimmy Crumb saying "that one had Johnsons

&Johnsons baby powder all over" referring to Sorenson's soft hook . You're right about Steve Howell. He looked much more like a football player.

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Das Hufeisen's picture

99 was special for me.  Growing up in the 80's and seeing the near-misses of the early 90's, I never thought I'd see a Final Four team at OSU.

'92 was probably the most painful near-miss.  Would have loved to see them tangle with Duke.

AKA the Horseshoe, the Shoe, and the House That Harley Built

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GoBuckeyes1020's picture

Gotta love the non-HD highlight videos

The pain of discipline or the pain of regret, take your pick

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tcm1968's picture

Such a fine line between close/didn't happen and what ifs.... 

LeBron James is 2 years older and we probably get him for a year..

That Florida team had all those juniors that everyone thought were going to leave and they ALL came back..

And who knows how 2012 ends up if Sully and Thomas could have hit the broad side of a barn against Kansas.. 8 for 33 from Thomas and Sully and ZERO bench points and it was still a 2 point game. Would have loved to have faced Anthony Davis and Kentucky in the finals.. 

Go Bucks!

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BeatMeechigun's picture

I would have been shocked if Lebron hadn't taken his talents to Durham, NC.

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Monclovabuckeye's picture

With what we know now about college basketball, I'm not sure where Lebron would have played his college ball.

I don't give a damn for the whole state of Xichigan.

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

I remember reading years ago that LeBron would have gone to Duke had players been required to play one year in college. 

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gr8bucks's picture

It's been infered that he'd have gone to osu, but nobody really knows, probably not him either. But he did say a few months ago, he'd like his son to play for coach k. 

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

Only after Coach Meyer came on board. Before that, I don't recall LeBron being that involved in OSU football or other sports here. Could be wrong about that but that is what I recall. 

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Mark's picture

Me & my crew were in Vegas when Lewis hit that 3 to beat Xavier.  We all lost our bets for that game, but the huge win made up for it.  The whole sports book we were in were all rooting against the Buckeyes.  Everyone wanted to see the #1 seed go down, but then Lewis hit that huge shot.  We went nuts.  Nothing like being in Vegas for that first weekend of March Madness.

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ZeroDimension's picture

Very nice article, thank you. 

One Shoe

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ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I was only alive for '99, '07, and '12.  All were very special.  '12 was a nice redemption of sorts for '11, which is still the best OSU team I ever saw and should have won the whole damn thing (that loss to UK has to be the most bitter OSU basketball loss that I can recall).

I have to chuckle at the four Final Fours when there were eight teams in the tournament.  Only one win to get to the Final Four, lol, but hey - it was obviously, much tougher to get there, which in a way, was probably a better way to determine a champion than what we have now...though what we have now is far more exciting.  

Class of 2010.

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bucksfan92's picture

I agree 2011 and 1992 are both years where OSU was the best team in the country and should have won titles. 2007 is another year where, if we even shoot half our season average from 3 we win it. It's really hard to imagine that OSU has only 1 title with 11 Final Fours and 5 runner's up. 

Also, about that 1939 game.  I obviously wasn't around, but I remember reading up on it many years ago and I half wonder if Olsen didn't lose that game on purpose.  From what I have read he was one of the driving forces behind getting that tournament started and I wonder if he thought it might look bad if his team won it all?  Also, Jimmy Hull who was the MOP of the tournament said, when the team found out they were going to play in the tournament they didn't want to. They were looking forward to watching the OHSAA state championships in Columbus and really didn't want to play in some tournament their coach dreamed up. Times have changed just a bit!

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ibuck's picture

Havlicek and Nowell combined to shoot just 4-of-14.

Never saw Havlicek in college, but I read that the Boston Celtics drafted him as a defensive specialist, and that his offensive game developed in the NBA.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

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Chris Lauderback's picture

I think your statement is generally on point however he wasn't an offensive slouch in college. He averaged 12.2 ppg as a sophomore on 46% shooting, 14.5 ppg as a junior on 54% shooting and then 16.9 ppg as a senior on 52% shooting. Just thought I'd throw those numbers out there since I still had the tab up.

ibuck's picture

Thanks. Good data.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

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andretolstoy's picture

Matta’s flew by so fast for me. We’ve been blessed 

If you die before you die, then you won't die when you die. 

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