The Current State of Ohio State Basketball

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Zimmy07's picture

I asked a Florida fan and they told me this is all Urban's fault.

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jamesrbrown322's picture

#FireReuben

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing." - Abraham Lincoln

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Icouldnotgofor3's picture

#firethud....

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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jamesrbrown322's picture

#firepoolus
 

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing." - Abraham Lincoln

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Icouldnotgofor3's picture

#firethemall

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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jamesrbrown322's picture

Which mall? They're not all bad.

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing." - Abraham Lincoln

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Ferox's picture

I wonder how he, the staff and the players will deal with the black cloud of pressure and uncertainty that's coming next season. Given Thad's comments after the Rutgers game, he may not handle these questions/distractions well. Given his players' effort over this season, I'm suspect that they'll be able to handle the additional pressure of playing for their coach's job.

I hope I'm wrong but I only see a program in a tail-spin with no sign of coming out of it. It'll only getting tougher next season.

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JCam061588's picture

He is the only coach that has enabled OSU to compete at the level even (if briefly) that OSU fans inexplicably expect. He deserves more respect than what he's being given, regardless of the current state of the program (which we all desire to be better) or his faults as a coach. 

"Because I couldn't go for three"

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cdub4's picture

Fred Taylor had OSU compete in 3 straight NCAA finals. The one year they were undefeated going into the championship game.

Matta deserves respect, but his win total has gone down 6 or 7 straight seasons, and he get's paid 3 million. That is a hefty salary for someone whose teams haven't been one of the 68 best in the nation the last 2 years. This year is make or break.

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Buck95's picture

I'll echo the Fred Taylor love.  He was - pre-Minnesota assualt - a better coach than Matta in all respects.  In his first 13 years, he had 7 B1G titles, four Final Fours (a title, 2 more champ games) and an Elite Eight,  He had four more seasons where his teams would have made the 64 team tournament and several that would have made deep runs.

In his 14th season, his team was primed to win another title, make another tourney, and likely make another deep run, until those thug Gophers attacked his team.  His team (having lost a couple key players) faded down the stretch, finished 2nd in the conference and missed the tourney.  Taylor was never the same afterwards, the program spiraled downwards, and he resigned three years later.

Had Minnesota not assaulted the Bucks, Taylor (relatively young at 52 when he resigned) likely would have continued to build the program into what what we wish it was today.  I respectfully disagree that Matta is the best coach that OSU has ever had.  Winningest, yes, but in my book he ranks second to Taylor and probably always will.

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Shayla39's picture

So well said, 95.  Taylor also taught basic BB skills that is so lacking these days in the game.

I really like Thad and think he is a class guy but there have been some issues that are always present with his teams.

Strength program needs to be overhauled, free throws & rebounding/boxing out/spacing never seems to get fixed.

Coaches just seem to get set in their ways and won't change even if there are declining returns.  That is on Thad and he needs some shake-up in coaching staff to address these reoccurring issues.

The last 2 years are not acceptable for TOSU.  Yes, TOSU is not a blue blood but has been just a notch below and I for one am sick of seeing talented Ohio guys playing on other teams.  Players see the lack of development.

Has not been the same since Sully and Craft left and that is not acceptable.

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Icouldnotgofor3's picture

I watched Allen Hornyak play in high school. He was on that team when Winfield and company assaulted Witte. Taylor was never the same because the BIG 10 p****** out and would not do the right thing. 

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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CincyBuck's picture

Fred Taylor had OSU compete in 3 straight NCAA finals.

I think I agree with your assessment of Matta.  But I wouldn't say your point about Taylor is very significant.  That was 40-ish years ago (I admit, I had to Google it).  A lot has changed in those 40 years -- including the legalization of dunking and implementation of the 3-point line.  

Let's not live in the distant past.  We're not Michigan fans, after all...

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Buck95's picture

Ok, from a historical perspective, in Taylor's day it was easier to get to a FF or E8 if you actually got into the tournament because you played fewer games.  However, only conference champs got in, so it was a lot harder to actually make the tournament.  Taylor had two split conference titles, two seconds and a third place finish during his first 14 years where he didn't make the tourney.  In this era, he would have made it then.  Maybe he wins another title somewhere along the line.

I look at Taylor as two different coaches - one before the Minnesota assault and a different one after,  And Taylor was CLEARLY a different coach after his team was assaulted.

Taylor made or would have made the tournament 9 of his first 13 years (10 of 14 including the assault year), compared to Matta making it 9 of 13 years,  Taylor has the only title (would have had a second if Lucas hadn't gotten hurt in the semifinal) and twice as many Final Fours than Matta, in fewer tourney appearances.  Matta has 5 B1G titles in 13 years - Taylor had 6 in his first 13 seasons.

I'm not living in the past - I was barely alive when Taylor was in is prime.  I have vague memories of the 68 Final Four team, and remember when the Minnesota assault happened.  I still contend that Taylor was a better coach than Matta - and was in the process of turning OSU into a basketball power when Gopher thuggery got the better of him.  Who knows where we would be now if that hadn't happened.

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CincyBuck's picture

That's definitely impressive (Taylor's resume).  To be honest, I didn't know who he was until you brought him up.  I'm only mid-30s, and I'm not a student of OSU basketball as much as football. 

I'd be interested to know more about the Minnesota thing.  That sounds pretty unbelievable.

I just think that college basketball, especially recruiting, has changed so much in the past decade -- much less 3-4 decades.  That's not to say one of those two coaches is better than the other. 

In fact, I get the impression the times have passed-by Matta, too.  I guess we'll see within the next year or two.  Let's just say that a lot of his success has been built on the back of excellent recruiting classes -- his player development has never stood out as an asset -- and I don't see another "Thad 5" coming in the door anytime soon.  But I guess we'll see within the next year or two.

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Buck61's picture

I put the whole Minnesota situation on the AD at the time Ed Weaver, he didn't stand up for Fred and the program and it effected Fred greatly. It would have been interesting to see how a Taylor -Knight rivalry would have played out had they coached against each other more than just a few years. It would have been fun to see what he could have done with the second coming of his early 60's team with Kelvin Ransey, Herb Williams, Clark Kellogg era. The starting five on the 1980 was comparable to the 1960-1962 team. The knock on Fred was he didn't recruit enough of the city players especially when the guys from Columbus East went out west to play.
 

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Nutty's picture

 A lot has changed in those 40 years -- including the legalization of dunking and implementation of the 3-point line.  

There were as many opportunities to dunk "back in the day" and many long outside shots where the team only got 2 pts.  The rules changed for everyone. The athletes have gotten bigger, stronger, faster, That doesn't explain the difference in coaching. Coaching is about doing the most with what you have. Can't get much more basic than that. Even 40 plus years later. 

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CincyBuck's picture

That doesn't explain the difference in coaching. Coaching is about doing the most with what you have. Can't get much more basic than that. Even 40 plus years later. 

Respectfully disagree.  I just think the game -- and really the world -- has changed so much that it's impossible to compare the relative success of two coaches, 40 years apart, in any meaningful way. 

John Wooden won, what, 10 national championships in 12 years?  In my opinion, that could never be remotely replicated in the modern day -- even by the best coach in the history of coaching.  And the presence of scholarship limits in the modern era (and the lack thereof during Wooden's streak of success) suggests that "what you have" as a coach may very well differ between those two timeframes.  To me, there are simply too many differences to create an apples-to-apples comparison.

But who knows.  Determining whether a coach from 40 years ago would succeed in the modern day requires constructing a counterfactual that could never exist.  So there's no wrong answer. 

For now, I think Matta's earned some leeway.  And I hope he turns it around next year.

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cdub4's picture

My point was really that it happened. The post I responded to I didn't think was accurate. Wasn't trying to get that deep into it. Jerry Lucas was SI athlete of the year as a college student. OSU was one of two teams in NCAA history to enter the title game undefeated and not run the table as an undefeated champion (other was Indiana State in '79)

I am 40 years old, I didn't see any of this stuff but I appreciate history as an OSU sports fan.

Also, it's not like they don't hang banners at arenas and honor history. St John has tons of pictures of past athletes.

Every Buckeye fan should know about those Buckeye basketball teams with Lucas and Havlicek.

How many basketball ball recruiting classes had 2 NBA Hall of Famers in it? Not sure even Duke or Kentucky can claim that.

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bucksfan92's picture

No, he is not.  His predecessor won 2 regular season titles, a B1GT title and got to a Final Four.  The guy before him won back to back B1G titles and got to the S16 and E8. 

It is correct that Thad had attained a level of consistency we hadn't seen since the Fred Taylor days, but OSU has won more B1G titles than any other school except Purdue, who just passed us this season.  OSU has always been a premier program in basketball at least in the B1G, and honestly if we look back Eldon Miller - who really is the genesis behind this "OSU isn't a basketball school" BS is the square peg as he is the only coach that didn't win a B1G title (I attach Gary Williams to Ayers as he was certainly the catalyst for Ayers's success in the early years).  It's unfortunate that Miller was given 10 years while delivering nothing, but I think that is a direct result of the athletic department's fear of backlash after they fired Earle Bruce - they were too gun shy to get rid of a high profile coach who had a winning record until it got so bad they had no other choice.

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Beat Michigan's picture

Not true. Miller departed in March 1986, about a year-and-a-half before Earle Bruce (who departed in November 1987).

Beat Michigan

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BeatTTUN's picture

Nice Username 

Go Buckeyes

Beat Michigan 

I saw Ryan Day hang 62 on Michigan...His hair was perfect.

Go Buckeyes Beat Michigan

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bucksfan92's picture

You're right I got my years mixed up.  So then I attribute it to Rick Bay being a pussy and not wanting to fire anyone, which ultimately led to his ouster.

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GR8TBUCKS's picture

Must not be your day, you are wrong again. Bay resigned in protest over the Earle Bruce firing. Hardly a pussy move to stick to your guns over principle. Bay also fired Eldon Miller, after Miller WON the NIT championship, that's right after winning 5 straight games to win the NIT. Bay fired him three days later. It seems he stood a lot taller than you are giving him credit for. 

MY BUTT'S SO BIG, I SPLIT MY PJ BOTTOMS

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aerobuck's picture

I expect that OSU competes at a level that results in finishes in the top half of the B10 every year, with an NCAA invite almost every year.

Every coach at OSU since Taylor left has had a brief level of success... Miller, Williams, Ayers, O'Brien, and Matta.  Eldon had some unbelievable talent (mostly in-state), but he didn't maximize it.  Nevertheless we were in the top half of the league until the year he was fired.  If Gary Williams had stayed we would have been a perennial sweet 16 team.  Ayers success was the result of Williams laying the foundation (led by in-state stud Jimmy Jackson).  O'Brien got us to the Final Four, and after he finished in the lower half of the B10 in back-to-back seasons, he was fired.

Matta is more the rule than the exception.  Back to back lower half of B10 finishes, and he's gonzo, like the rest were.

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Steve Earle Bruce Springsteen's picture

Not firing Thad after last season reeks of Notre Dame not firing Charlie Weis after 3-9. It'll take another year of worse-than-mediocrity to end this travesty. 

The North remembers.

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RubixTube's picture

I'm just here for the #hottakes

#FireRueben

#FireChad

Never before in the history of man have lives less lived been more chronicled. - Dennis Miller

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mh277907's picture

Recruit smart basketball players. And winners. We currently don't have any. 

buckeyebobcat

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CptBuckeye24's picture

Or anybody who plays with heart and wants to be on the court.

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bsk33's picture

The Wesson brothers. Smart basketball players and state champs last season. Braxton Beverly and Derek Funderburk played on a nationally ranked team together. Beverly is known for his basketball IQ, as is Dane Goodwin (18'). And Goodwin is the most competitive kid I have seen in person.

It is trending in the right direction. Not sure if Thad will be here when it comes to fruition though.

I play, coach stays. He goes, I go.

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BuckeyeLurker0509's picture

Smart but not good

Known for basketball iq = non athletic and undersized

Most competitive = tries hard but just not good enough

All these incoming recruits suck, except Bazely

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jamesrbrown322's picture

If I may, LeBron is known for his basketball IQ, and Bird, Magic, Jordan, Kobe, and even Aaron Craft were known for how competitive they were. I get it, being smart and having drive while lacking talent doesn't mean much, but let's give these kids a shot first. I mean damn dude, they're 16-18 years old. I'm not saying that they'll end being HOFers, but to say that they all suck before seeing them play at this level seems a bit unfair. It's not like no one else is recruiting these kids. I mean, c'mon dude, you would have been pissed at OSU signing guys like Rodney Carney or Steph Curry coming out of HS because they "all suck," but they turned out pretty damn good because of their basketball IQ and competetive drive.

It's also quite hilarious that everyone complains about Marta not bringing in enough of Ohio's top players, and want to turn around and whine when he lands 3 of the top 5 players in state for 2018.

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing." - Abraham Lincoln

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KevinJ's picture

Don't confuse him facts. 

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EasyEMoney5's picture

I guarantee you have never even seen these recruits play. It's so easy for you to say they all suck isn't it? I have SEEN Kaleb Wesson dominate Sterling Manley(I'm sure you have no idea who that is) who plays at Pick Central and is committed to UNC. I have SEEN Kaleb Wesson dominate Nick Ward who plays at MSU and was arguably the best freshman in the B1G. Westerville South played a very, very difficult schedule this year and the kid dominated throughout. Saying something like, "They all suck" is a little lazy but its mostly just ignorant.

E

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Ohio'sPraise's picture

You could have easily been describing Aaron Craft, who is arguably the greatest winner in OSU basketball history

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IronPastor's picture

Unless you have coached HS basketball, or have recruited/coached College Basketball....your opinion on "level of talent" is the same as the grandma buying a lottery ticket at the 7/11....and for you to jab at players who haven't even walked in the door yet...that's low bro.

Andre Wesson...Arguably the best defender we had late in the season (while the bar might not be set high by the other players, it speaks to his intensity and willingness to work)

Kaleb Wesson (lost weight to become more athletic and agile...POY this year, can score and play defense...hope he is good, but who knows.) 

Beverly....Have you seen any of his tape...unathletic is not a word I would use to describe it...he drives to the hoop a ton and moves without the ball.  He may be undersized but has a quick release which results in less blocked shots and put up 70 against one of the top teams in the county...but think what you will.  Also I think Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics would argue that being undersized doesn't mean much...

Darius Bazely is ranked 48th...Dane is 54th...yes, because a kid who has started for a major columbus school since he was a freshman and who according to people who are in the know...makes others around him better...I will take him without question.

Whether it was Lincoln or Twain, the saying is true...Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool then to open your mouth(type on the keys) and remove all doubt...

GEAUX BUCKEYES

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Ohio'sPraise's picture

Thad's system needs an elite point guard and a team that can lock-in defensively whenever/wherever. 

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Max's picture

I always felt like he built around one big post player and the point shooter(s). But it worked well with Evan Turner and then DeShaun Thomas, so who knows.

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OldColumbusTown's picture

Agree with Ohio's Praise - and the crazy thing is Matta has not had more elite PG recruits beating down his door for their chance to run his team.

Mike Conley - #4 overall pick
Evan Turner - #2 overall pick
D'Angelo Russell - #2 overall pick

I've written this before on this site, but if you are an elite high school PG, Matta's system is built for you to be a star.  He puts the ball in his star guard's hands and allows him to go do his thing.  Other than Kentucky lately, there is not another offensive system in college that allows a PG to showcase himself better than Thad Matta's system.

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I_Run_The_Dave's picture

And, to be fair, Matta probably deserves one more shot at fixing it. After all, he is the winningest coach in Ohio State basketball history. 

We all said that last year, and they did not improve.  How many shots does he get?  

I honestly believe that the state of his health is preventing him from coaching the way that he used to and it makes it near impossible to get the same results.  I still don't think he should be shown the door after all he has accomplished, but he needs to see that the longer he stays, the more damage he does to the program at this point.  He needs to retire and get healthy.  But he seems to be in denial about it, and doesn't believe that it makes a difference.  But we can all see that difference as the regression has been steady for 6 years straight now.  He needs to come to grips with his limitations and step down.

Your signature will be publicly displayed at the end of your comments.

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CptBuckeye24's picture

Matta doesn't seem like he is his intense self lately and that is reflected through the effort on the court.

Matta looks drained and beat up.

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BuckminsterFullback's picture

Matta looks drained and beat up.

We have watched the Buckeye Basketball team for 4 hours a week. Matta has to watch them at practice, too; no wonder he looks drained.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

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stxbuck's picture

Yes, he should voluntarily give up $5 million or whatever to make you happy.....roll eyes......

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Run_Fido_Run's picture

Well, it's either that, or he should have been fired. You might not agree that Thad should be replaced, but if/when he is replaced, those are the two likely ways for Thad to leave: resign or get fired. Do you have any other options that don't involve the mafia or UFOs or something?

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stxbuck's picture

Not get his contract renewed when it runs out next year-and no, that is not firing.

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cdub4's picture

I think the health issues are way,way overblown. The guy is healthy. He just has drop foot and a bad back. There are hundreds of basketball coaches with bad backs. Dropfoot doesn't mean you aren't "healthy" I just read where Jaylon Smith, the LB from ND who got hurt vs OSU has dropfoot from his injury. He is still healthy overall in the big picture.

Coach K just turned 70, has had two leave of absences due to back surgeries in his lifetime, and had a knee replacement. He still had the energy to coach USA basketball. I wouldn't say Coach K is healthier than Matta.

It's more about the talent on the roster than anything else. It's not like you have to run suicides, reverse dunk, or look like Brad Stevens at Butler to lead a team to a Sweet 16.

EDIT-Coach K has also had hip replacement. He has osteoarthritis.

The key is talent. Matta would look a lot more "healthy" if Jared Sullinger, Greg Oden or Mike Conley were on the roster.

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Run_Fido_Run's picture

I'm not sure how much Thad's health problems have contributed to the decline of this program, but I do know the program is on life support. 

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Nutty's picture

Why does Matta seem to be showing up for press conferences in a sweaty sweatshirt with a towel? I don't remember him ever doing that and in last 3 (not post game) he has. Appears to me he is trying to show he is still active and working out? 

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bsk33's picture

Maybe because he is way more active and working out.

His health has actually dramatically improved the last 2-3 years. He still can't run (he used to run on campus all the time before his back issues) and play golf. But from what I have heard (Thad and I actually share the same barber), OSU brought in a physical therapist a 2 or 3 years ago to work with Thad and it has helped dramatically.

I play, coach stays. He goes, I go.

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Hovenaut's picture

I'm not seeing an exponential change (for the better) next season - not saying it can't be done, but what are the realistic expectations for 2017-18?

A return to 20 wins? A return to the NCAA's? Or is Thad talking conference and national contention (which I don't see)?

Hindsight is, and in, 2020

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CptBuckeye24's picture

20 wins might be possible but a tourney appearance might be as deep as they go.

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Hovenaut's picture

That's where I'm thinking - best case scenario, and that still may not be enough for some (me). 

Hey, Matta's earned the right, but we're awfully close to assessing what really is needed for the future of the program. 

If I'm wrong, I'll gladly post otherwise. 

Hindsight is, and in, 2020

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CptBuckeye24's picture

I need to see a team that hustles, plays defense, plays with toughness, and heart. Those types of things are often reflective of the coaching staff.

When effort is a constant problem, that's when the evaluation is due.

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jamesrbrown322's picture

Minnesota was able to go from 8 to 24 wins in one year, so it can be done. With all due respect to the current roster, I'm hoping that Funderberk explodes into the scene and shows us all that he shouldn't have been redshirted. I have similar unrealistic optimism for the Wessons. 

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing." - Abraham Lincoln

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Hovenaut's picture

Minnesota is a fair parallel, JB - and I don't think anyone would mind improvement along those lines.

Hindsight is, and in, 2020

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CoachKJ15's picture

He needed the Redshirt year, Matta said so! But if he would've played him & didn't perform to the liking of the fans then he would've been crucified! 

Matta made the comment that Funderburk does things and brings to the table what we lacked this year! All of this came about due to him redshirting & focusing on his game 

What you plant now, you will harvest later.

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bucksfan92's picture

I'd say the program is in full on, red-sired crisis mode right now.  This year was expected to be a season that the team challenged for the B1G title, yet they finished 10th and didn't even make the NIT.  Even before Matta got here - that kind of season has ALWAYS been unacceptable at OSU. I agree that missing the NCAAT 2 years in a row is never acceptable either, and these guys need to wake the hell up and realize they have been run over by lesser teams and programs for 2 years in a row now.  Yes change needs to happen.  Maybe having Loving graduate will be the catalyst that this team needs to get some fire?  I've been reluctant to blame him because I do not believe 1 player can or should shoulder the blame for the actions of an entire team, but who knows, maybe more guys identified with his malaise than with Tate's fire?  Now that he's gone hopefully more of these guys will mirror Tate's his hustle and desire.  The problems here have nothing to do with talent and everything to do with hustle and desire.  If this team played like they actually cared about the game night in and night out they would have easily won 23 or 24 games. But we never really saw that kind of hustle and desire except for a game or part of a game here and there.  I am glad this team missed out on the NIT, that might be a wake up call.  It has to be pretty shocking for a group like this to realize that teams like Monmouth and Cal-Bakersfield were viewed as better teams than them.  If that doesn't light a fire in their bellies then absolutely nothing will.

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SensibleBuckeye's picture

Well said Bucksfan92.  I would also say that the style of play has morphed into something more like that of the NBA with half court sets by players who aren't named Diebler and lack the ability to attack the basket like Mike Conley.  Players coming out of high school like to run and with the benefit of young fresh legs that's exactly what they should do.  Expecting marginally talented athletes to out perform better athletes in half court sets has proven ineffective.  It's my opinion that this group of buckeyes best chances are to dramatically up tempo the game on offense and get back to the Matta defenses of years gone by and hopefully trigger some passion.

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DarrylJenks's picture

The departures and miss on the 2016 class has caused a total setback for the program in terms of having to re-build.  It will be interesting to see if Matta can bring back a certain type of energy this program is known for.  The worst part of the last 3-4 years has been the lack of focus, energy and intensity every game.  Appreciate what Loving has done and wish him well, but he appeared to be that black hole hovering over the program the past 4 years.  When the team needed it the most, he appeared to not have the makings of a 4-year veteran leader.  Scariest part is the B10 is young and only going to get better, we are in catch up mode.

Darr

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Seattle Linga's picture

Next season is the most important one in recent Ohio State history.

This can't be said loud enough !!!!!

The off season bites !!

It's not a rivalry .............. it's a wreckoning.

Seattle Sounders 2019 MLS Champions

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buckeyeinWI's picture

I can live with Thad one more year.  hopefully he can turn it around.  With the roster as such, we better hope KBD is ready to go, and that K Wesson can contribute from day one.  Here's hoping...

15-1 is SWEET!

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Seattle Linga's picture

I am with you WI - Even though it may not be a popular vote here I am also in support of giving Thad one more year. They need to have a clear leader on the floor at all times. Haven't had one for awhile - probably Craft.

The off season bites !!

It's not a rivalry .............. it's a wreckoning.

Seattle Sounders 2019 MLS Champions

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Knarcisi's picture

The roster won't change much, but you know what is in Thad's control immediately?  This team playing hard, with intensity and energy. All game, every game. 

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LouBuck35's picture

THEY.NEED.A.NEW.STRENGTH.AND.CONDITIONING.COACH.

Like, yesterday.

I want a fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium..

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buckeyeinWI's picture

they need to vastly improve their defensive play, and FT shooting.  To many games p*ssed away in the last 2-3 years because of poor effort in those two phases of the game.

15-1 is SWEET!

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LeftCoastBuckeye's picture

Seriously, Urban has the best in the country.  We should be able to leverage some of that talent for the bball team.

My aim, then, is to whip the Weasels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom.   - William Tecumseh Sherman (with apologies)

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stpetebuck's picture

i seem to recall Gary Williams and Randy Ayers allowing the players to work with coach Kennedy in the weight room. Those players (especially for Williams)  wore more skilled opponents down. They were fun to watch too. Would like to see our guys bulk the hell up. 

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jamesrbrown322's picture

I've defended Marta repeatedly, and I agree with this 100%. No heart, desire, motivation, and effort falls squarely on the head coach, who sets the tone for the entire program. 

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing." - Abraham Lincoln

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EnzoAmoresHairExtensions's picture

It sucks to think there is no hope for the team to get better unless it hits rock bottom first.  The feeling of hopelessness isn't going away with what is coming back or will be new on the roster next year.

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CptBuckeye24's picture

Would anybody on this roster be in the rotation on any of the tournament teams, particularly the ones that made a deep run?

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Osufan19's picture

Probably Thompson and Kam on the final four team a couple years  ago they didn't have a deep bench

Osu fan

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jamesrbrown322's picture

unless it hits rock bottom first.

If we're not already there, I don't want to know what rock bottom is. Hopefully we're not talking Ayers type rock bottom.

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing." - Abraham Lincoln

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OSU_ALUM_05's picture

Landing elite one-and-done talents every year — or even every two years — isn't a realistic option for Ohio State

Isn't that an indictment of the coaching staff by itself?  

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CptBuckeye24's picture

But landing elite talent is an option. The roster has had it in the past. But they are getting out recruited as of late

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stxbuck's picture

What non-traditional blueblood program consistently lands one and dones? Just asking.

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OSU_ALUM_05's picture

How about Ohio State?

Oden, Conley, and Russell are your obvious answers.  Sullinger (sophomore), Koufos, and Mullens were all first rounders.  Evan Turner was a late blooming first rounder. Hell, even Daequan Cook was a first round pick.

The point is:  the OSU brand isn't what's keeping away first round NBA talent because Thad has brought it here in the past. 

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Jumar's picture

Isn't that an indictment of the coaching staff by itself?  

It's hard to recruit when the head coach is on his death bed.

If you continue to think what you always thought, you will continue to get what you always got. #AlumforStaff

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Nikkibucksfan's picture

There is no excitement or talent. No reason for fans to show up. Call me back when we have change...bye bb...

Nikki emmerson

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ATLBuckeye92's picture

I know you aren't looking for anyone's approval, but feel obligated to comment since I've been critical of the tone of the basketball articles.  This piece is well done and fair.  Reasonable people can disagree about if a change is warranted today, but there is a pretty nice history with this coach and there are people (me included) that believe he's earned another year to right the ship.

Hopefully the Rutgers loss can create the same reversal that being shut out against Clemson did for the football team.  Change is needed in some form or fashion.  No denying it after last week's egg.

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stxbuck's picture

I agree w/ your take-on the article, the tone of the EW staff this year and the program situation. The fact that it is the last year of Matta's contract is probably not coincidental.

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Barnsey69's picture

One of the issues contributing to the decline of the program is the lack of leadership on the court. There has been a vacuum since Craft left, and nobody wants to step into that role, and/or is capable. It's obviously a myriad of factors, and in the end Thad is going to be held accountable. It's not like a new coach is going to build a Natty Champ team in one season with what is currently in the cupboard, so giving Thad another season to stop the bleeding is warranted. It is pretty obvious that without improvement, or more regression, that his time is over.

Regardless...GO BUCKS!

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, the Uncomparable  Joe Burrow, and home of The Ohio State University Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

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LCT's picture

If this was in the forums everyone would forget that you don't have to read basketball stuff if you don't want to and do a bunch of Another 1 gifs.

Lifetime vs. UM: L 9-1, C 8-0, T 5-0
Ohio State University President Jim Tressel

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cproud's picture

For me, when you look at the program as a whole, there is just absolutely nothing they have going for them right now. I don't know how you can argue that the program is not in a freefall. 

-Poor attendance/arena atmosphere

-Poor recruiting

-Lack of player development

-No true identity as a program

-etc.

No one reasonable thinks they should or will be Kentucky, Duke, etc. year in and year out. But to be quite honest, making the tournament is not that hard these days, especially with the level of resources that are put into the basketball program. 

Sure, almost every program will miss the tournament occasionally (UNC did a few years ago, Syracuse has every so often, etc.), but not even making the NIT is a joke and when you combine that with the fact that there is no real reason to believe the fortunes are going to suddenly change. 

And I'm sure the powers that be will wonder why no one shows up next year. 

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O-H-I-Owe-U's picture

Here's are 3 big fixes, starting with the staff:

STAFF - Find our version of Coach Mic Marotti for strength and MENTAL conditioning. Our guys now are mentally weak and lacking confidence. As they get mentally stronger, free throw shooting and end-of-game performance will improve.

We also need a lead recruiter to spot great talent and sell recruits on the incredible opportunities here (like Coach Pantoni). C'mon down, Scoonie Penn. 

IDENTITY - There are 2 big reasons we lack an on-floor identity: First) Playing guys who are lazy and selfish. It undermines everything you preach and ruins team chemistry. Next) Thad changes his schemes to the talent on his teams. Great when you have a D'Angelo or Evan Turner. Bad when you lack star players to flow through. Pick one system and stick with it so guys can get better at it year after year.

ATTENDANCE – This is more complicated than how the BBall team performs. I think a big factor is that many fans feel a Football hangover in November and December. They’ve just spent a ton of money on fball and have a hard time switching gears to hoops. Fix this by scheduling better opponents, and lower ticket prices drastically for preseason games so more families can afford to go. Make a statement with Value City Arena that OSU values the fans-- it's an early-season investment in the BBall team that will pay off later.

And here's a Bonus Fix - at every home game, bus over a dorm full of students for free. It will help expose more students to the BBall team, build excitement, and add a few hundred more voices to the student section. Give them a reason to get excited.

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Icouldnotgofor3's picture

"STAFF - Find our version of Coach Mic Marotti for strength and MENTAL conditioning. Our guys now are mentally weak and lacking confidence."

This is directly on the coach.

Your attendance tips are just fantastic but there's NO WAY Smith would do something like that, just no friggin way. 

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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OSU069's picture

He should if he wants to begin building up excitement again for the basketball program like it was 4-5 years ago. Winning would obviously be the number 1 factor there but Gene Smith can do his part as well it will not hurt his pocket that much. 

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IronPastor's picture

Hey, LSU gives free attendance to all sporting events for students except for football....they just have to scan their ID...why can't OSU do it...its not like it is effecting the revenue that much

GEAUX BUCKEYES

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Icouldnotgofor3's picture

".why can't OSU do it"

one word:  Smith..........

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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WC Buckeye's picture

Not to mention the fact that while it wouldn't help ticket revenue, it would help concession revenues...

Life is full of choices. Make good ones.

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O-H-I-Owe-U's picture

Yes, a lot of colleges go this route. Honestly, how cool would it be for a different dorm full of students to actually get a free ride and ticket to a game in this day and age when the University wants to tax them for every little thing. It might just be enough to turn some of this kids into actual fans and make them want to be a part of more games.

I mean it, do we want a home court atmosphere that rivals Duke and MSU? Then get more of the largest student body in the country in the damn building.

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BBQCharlie's picture

The basketball Buckeyes have endured three carcinogens: Loving, Lyle plus the Strength and Conditioning coach

BBQCharlie

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jamesrbrown322's picture

plus the Strength and Conditioning coach

In all seriousness, do they even have one?

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing." - Abraham Lincoln

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JoanieBuckeye's picture

The football team fell flat on its face against Clemson and changes to the assistant coaching staff were immediately made.  I think Thad needs to take a page out of Urban's book and do the same.  Let's hope we see some improvement next year.  Go Bucks!

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actionstanleyjackson's picture

Hoping for the best...expecting the same next season. This has been four years in the making...a steady bleed out. Recruiting has been average at best (other than Russell) and player development is almost nonexistent. Throw in a soft culture and a very poor hoops IQ...don't see much to look forward to. 

Not saying Beverly or Wesson won't help...but they are not program changing recruits. 

Stay golden, Ponyboy.

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wigmon's picture

Good points in this article.  It was evident even before last season began that issues within the program had started.  There was very little improvement from any of the guys in the '11 class.  In '13-'14, you could see in the body language of Craft and Smith that some of the younger guys just didn't get it (basketball IQ or effort required to compete).  YOu could see the same thing from DAR in '15 and then of course his now infamous comments about how hardly anyone on the team put in any extra work.  The issues we face in the program today have become more evident now that we've missed the NCAA tourney 2 years in a row, but they started several seasons earlier.

My thoughts headed into last season were that recruiting took a nose dive from '11-'13 (players not meeting expectations in '11 and not getting guys we targeted in the next 2 classes).  The '14 and '15 classes looked primed to potentially turn things around, so I figured Matta had earned some time to right the ship and should at least be able to see the '14 class through graduation.  This year brought more concerns though.  You had Matta essentially blame 3-4 guys in the '15 class and supposedly told them to leave.  He then admitted that he wasn't doing what he had done in the past to be successful.  I think both of those brought additional red flags about the state of the program especially since the three guys that left at the end of the season appeared to be 3 of the hardest working guys on the team (at least consistent effort in games).  For me, that moved the clock forward to seeing improvement in this season that just ended.  As noted, we did see some individual improvement on the team (Lyle improved his shooting and a:to ratio, Tate improved his ability to get to the rim, TT improved his hands and movement), but we also saw some guys regress (Loving looked more like a frosh than a senior, Kam regressed to the point of being a liability on the floor).  In the end though, the team performance was not as good as the sum of its parts and its not just the number of wins that is concerning, its the "oh we just came out flat tonight", or "everybody else just seems to get hot against us" types of post game comments that point to a larger issue.  Yeah, you aren't going to have your 'A' game every night, but  team wearing the scarlet and gray should never get beat for lack of effort and that has happened to us several times this season.  That points to a much larger problem than individual talents.

Obviously Matta is going to be the coach this coming season and no matter how we feel about that individually, we need to get behind him and support the team.  That doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't voice our displeasure/concerns as they arise, but in the context of wanting the team to succeed.  Matta's contract is up in 2019 (June I believe), so really we should have been talking about contract extension this year.  We are risking hurting future recruiting by not having a secure coaching situation.  I get the impression that Matta has to show marked improvement next year or it will be time to move on.  The question is, what kind of improvement is needed to offer him an extension.

Which gets me to my last points.  What are the expectations for this program and what does Matta have to do to earn an extension?  I have had the opportunity to hear a couple of other OSU coaches speak and both of them mentioned that in conversations with Smith, the goal of every program at OSU is to win championships (not just B1G, but national titles).  Now obviously, those are difficult to come by even if you have a very good team, but I think its clear the message is that if you aren't competing for them, then something needs to change.  As I mentioned before, Smith fired the winningest coach in OSU womens BB history and a womens basketball HOF inductee (ironically the year after he was fired by OSU).  Foster had won 7 consecutive B1G championships and made the NCAA tourney every year except one and that was the year he was let go.  I think the message is clear.  Compete at the highest level or you will be replaced.  So as fans what are the expectations for this program?  Without getting too detailed about winning titles every X number of years, or X number of wins per season, etc, I think with the history of the basketball program (and yes there is a good history there), the resources available in the athletic department (we are paying our coach a top 10 salary) and the recognition the program has across the country, there is no reason that we can't be a top 10 program in the nation.  Now, I am not saying you fire any coach that can't get you to that level, but Matta did have us at that level from '06-'13, so its obviously doable and sustainable.  Certainly dips are going to happen in any program, but it shouldn't span more than a year or 2 and it should never involve a team failing to play hard and with consistent effort.  I think for Matta to keep his job after next season, he is going to have to show that he is worthy of an extension (don't want a lame duck coach for a year) and to be worthy of an extension I think its going to take more than just making the NCAA tourney.  I wouldn't suggest we have to make the S16 or better, but there needs to be a clear change in attitude in the program at every level and that has to be combined with recruiting wins because right now, we don't have the man power to compete nationally with the big dogs.

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RK84's picture

Cliffs notes?

It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

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wigmon's picture

We haven't been good for 4 years and its not just about W's and L's.  The AD has a stated goal for every sport to compete for championships.  Assuming that same goal for mens BB, when that goal isn't coming close to being met, its time to make a change.  Root like heck for Thad and the team next year.

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RK84's picture

I was just messin with ya man, good points, and I agree.

It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

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Bukirob's picture

I see no reason at all to think or believe that they will be anything but modestly improved IF THAT.  OSU went 2-5 down the stretch capped by quiting as a team in the opening game of the B1G tournament.  Nothing down the stretch give you any reason to believe that  next season will be anything different. 

Recruiting is in a near free-fall. Yet another local kid is heading away from OSU a top 100 player.  I simply do not see any indication that recruiting is improving.  In fact, there is ample evidence its continuing to slide south.  

All the reason Smith cited for giving Matta another year are backward looking and the bulk of those accomplishments are distant history.  

You WIN with people.

 

 

WW Hayes

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Icouldnotgofor3's picture

"What are the expectations for this program and what does Matta have to do to earn an extension? "

He has to bring that toughness and effort for 40 minutes back to the team. They've been getting pushed around on both ends of the court, and he needs to make adjustments as the game flows. He also needs to learn to call timeouts when opponents get a run and he needs to have a decent substitution pattern. He can start there.............

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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RK84's picture

If you don't have the talent and/or a star, you have to have complete buy-in on a solid game plan and attitude.

You can have 10 guys that aren't shit, but if they believe in their coach and the program and work their asses off, they can make some noise. It cant be sustained against true talent and better programs, but you can make it work and build on that. It can get you to the tourney and maybe a first round win.

Success breeds success, and you cant have it without buy-in and effort.

It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

HS
AZ Buckeye13's picture

My biggest fear is that we could lose out on someone like Miller from Dayton because we are going to wait one more year. We need a coach that can keep Ohio's elite talent in Ohio. The best players in Ohio are going out of state instead of going to OSU. What would we be saying if the top football talent in Ohio always chose to leave the state instead of playing at the home state school? We would all be calling for a coaching change, pronto!

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WC Buckeye's picture

In fairness, AZ, a lot of the top football talent in OH is leaving, too, IMHO. Urban is a global recruiter, sure, but I also think we could use some more of the in-state talent that is being left off the list of "must gets".

Life is full of choices. Make good ones.

HS
AZ Buckeye13's picture

The top Ohio talent is leaving in football because Coach Meyer is bringing in top notch national talent and there is no room to offer the Ohio kids scholarships. That I can understand. The basketball talent is leaving to go to other top programs. This coming year the talent in Ohio football is strong so half of the 2018 recruiting class could be from Ohio. Coach Meyer has not missed often when he has taken a "national" recruit over an Ohio recruit. 

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WC Buckeye's picture

Agreed. Basketball or football, though, I think there is risk in betting on the "character side" of a 5-star recruit (inside or outside of the state) vs., generally, a 4-star or even a 3-star recruit; the 5-stars might have the entitlement attitude that a 3- or 4-star might not, simply because the lower-ranked kids have more to prove and might be more earnest and hard-working than their higher-ranked counterparts. For that reason, I would like to see more in-state guys in the 4-star range get a look over the nationally-visible 5-stars. There's plenty of evidence to suggest that those guys may pan out with fewer issues.

I think in the case of the basketball team specifically, 5-stars are being directed by other recruiters to look at the lack of player development at OSU, as well as the state of Matta's health and continued longevity with the program (right or wrong, true or false), and those things not only stick but also are difficult to counter. I think we are in the midst of a long descent in the success of the program for these and many other reasons addressed in this thread.

Thoughts?

Life is full of choices. Make good ones.

HS
AZ Buckeye13's picture

WC Buckeye, Coach Meyer has done an excellent job at recruiting young men of good character both nationally and from Ohio. Recruits talk often about how "real" the coaches are with them about character, work ethic, and having to earn playing time at Ohio State. Coach Meyer has lost several high profile recruits because they felt that they should receive special treatment and were told that it wasn't happening.

Coach Matta has not done as well lately. I think you are spot-on about the issues with the basketball program. Ohio State could recruit Ohio in basketball and do well nationally because you only really need two top-notch guys and some solid role playing guys to suceed. In football, you need 22 starters and more quality for the two deep.

Coach Tress recruited the Midwest only, for the most part, and we couldn't compete nationally. 

i guess it can be a double-edgedsword.

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Buck61's picture

There are 36 at large bids for the tournament and give or take 9 higher profile conferences in basketball, this equates to nearly every team in the top 45 in basketball makes the tournament, that said it is not unrealistic to expect OSU to make the tournament nearly every year.

My expectation for next year is just not making the tournament, but making it through the first weekend given the experience returning on the roster

Thad needs to make some serious changes in the style of play as well, I see no stars on the returning roster but a bunch of guys who are pretty close to each other talent wise, that said, speed up the tempo, press the court on defense, get more of the roster involved, play 10 guys every night. Running the same bland offensive sets, the weave at three point line are top predictable and easy to defend, work on the transition game, far too many botched fast break opportunities when they arose.

Have more guys spend time in the weight room and at the free throw line.

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Jumar's picture

This. We do not have any great players but do have a bunch of decent/good players. The team needs to get stronger and build stamina. If they do that and rotate nearly everyone they could speed up the tempo. It would bring fans to the game (more entertaining) and give us a better chance to win.

If you continue to think what you always thought, you will continue to get what you always got. #AlumforStaff

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awlinBrutus's picture

I think Wisconsin has made the tourney 16 years in a row btw.

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

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tomgreg's picture

So TTUN had an up and down season yet they got it together and looked super sharp in the big10 tourney. This should be the Buckeyes!

Onward and upward! Go Buckeyes!

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ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I'm pretty much in agreement with this article.  I didn't think there was reason to panic after last season...but that was based on the assumption that since pretty much everyone important was coming back this season, the team would be better, back in the NCAAs, more wins, and whatnot.  Based on the assumption that last season's NCAA miss would be just a speed bump.  Bad assumption, obviously.  I think Thad deserves the one more year to get it right.  We'll see if he can do it.  Starts with reaching his team, getting them to play hard every night...whatever the motivation comes from, be it the embarrassment of not even getting in the NIT or playing literally for Thad's job...so be it

Class of 2010.

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Maka's picture

Landing elite one-and-done talents every year — or even every two years — isn't a realistic option for Ohio State

I dont understand this at all I completely disagree. Why they hell cant we get top talent? Specially in state? We use to get that talent so why should we accept it as being unrealistic now? If it isnt a realistic option because of Thad then Im sorry....Thad must go. This is Ohio freaking State. 

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stxbuck's picture

B/c Luke Kennard is really the only top player from Ohio since Sullinger?

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Blackcoffee's picture

Ahmad, West Virginia...Ward, MSU...Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin

nah, been a few top players

coming out of Ohio the last few years that we've missed on, and next years class, 2017 is considered a great class of Ohio players, but the dye has been cast on that already, 2018 Thad has 3 of the top 5 already, and is trying to get Beasly as well.

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blu.fan's picture

Trey Burke and Caris LeVert, both were rejects not wanted by OSU, both went to Michigan, both are in the NBA. Xavier Simpson, freshmen backup PG at Michigan, is from Lima, Ohio. Number three player from 2016, won AP Ohio Mr. Basketball. All Ohio first team. So yeah, Michigan has had some decent talent coming out of Ohio.

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OldColumbusTown's picture

Those three players were not really national-level recruits.  LeVert was a very late bloomer who was an Ohio U commit until Michigan threw a late offer.  Burke blew up very late in the game, but OSU already had Shannon Scott signed and AC on the roster.  Otherwise he was PSU bound.  Xavier, of the 3, was probably the most highly sought after recruit.  It does baffle me why Thad didn't go after him, since for years he produced as one of the better players nationally at PG for his age in AAU and camp settings.  The issue with him was he was still 5'8 or something as a sophomore in HS, and OSU already had diminutive AJ Harris lined up to be on the team.

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stxbuck's picture

I'm talking lottery talent-not decent players.

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Blackcoffee's picture

Kennard is a great player, playing on a team with a couple potential lottery picks ahead of him, but I do not see him as the lottery pick, maybe next year, if he doesn't declare this.

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Maka's picture

I said specially in-state...not limited to in-state. Wasnt long ago we pulled in top talent from Indy...Deshaun Thomas, Oden, Conley. Shannon Scott was a high 4* we got out of Georgia. LaQuinton Ross was a high 4* out of NJ. Evan Turner a high 4* out of Illinois. And most recently DeAngelo from Louisville. 

Point is at one point in time most top in state players were locks and we had solid chances with other players all over the country. Now we arent even getting visits. 

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IronPastor's picture

Yeah, and both IU and UK sucked then....but with UK being UK again and Louisville doing the same...we are competing against them for top level talent...

Lets be honest...its the same reason OSU football pulls the best kids from others states that have pretty good to decent programs (Florida, Georgia, Texas, Missouri, Michigan, Pennsylvania) because OSU is ELITE in football...so elite talent wants to go to an ELITE program.

OSU Basketball is not on the same level of ELITE as UK, Duke, UNC, Kansas, Villanova, etc.  So elite talent leaves the area to go to those schools and doesn't come to OSU...because OSU is not on the same Elite level as we are..we might get one or two here or there, but we are not going to pull the top recruits year in and year out with our "resources and facilities" like everyone thinks..

GEAUX BUCKEYES

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stxbuck's picture

Being from Baton Rogue you might see this more, but  imo, tOSU and LSU hoops are very similar-occasional greatness/FF runs, some legendary players but overall a rollercoaster of inconsistency and everyone saying they should do more in the shadow of the football team.

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IronPastor's picture

There is some of the "we should be #1 in both sports all the time" mindset, but it's honestly not nearly as bad as what I have heard on here.  

LSU had its worst season in a long time...10-21 and 2-16 in a mediocre SEC conference...and coach Jones got fired..so yeah, it could be a lot worse for the Buckeyes...

GEAUX BUCKEYES

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Maka's picture

I dont disagree IP. But we are paying Thad an "elite" salary. Then you see a coach like Gregg Marshall turn Wichita St into an elite program with average talent. I guess i just dont agree with the 'we can only have 1 elite sport' mindset. Ohio athletes should want, desire and dream to play for OSU. Thad was an elite coach. He lost the desire to be elite and it shows on his players faces. 

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Shawnbuck927's picture

The biggest problem I see now going forward deals with recruiting, in that I'm not sure what good recruit is going to stay committed with the program with the likelihood of a coaching change coming in another year or so.  We all know that new coaches come in to situations, and often times the recruits from the previous coach either leave or are overlooked by the new coach. Its also very hard to get new guys to commit to a school with a coaching uncertainty as apparent as this situation is.   Ask yourself, if YOU were a stud HS basketball recruit right now, is this a situation that YOU would feel comfortable committing to?  I sure couldn't 

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Icouldnotgofor3's picture

I played B-ball for several years and the coach didn't mean much to me. I was playing as a rep of the school itself. That was MORE important to me. 

Because..............

I'm a Buckeye........

O----H..........!!

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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jaxbuckeye's picture

Shame on Matta  for putting the school in this position. He's clearly like a boxer that refuses to retire. But the school will never fire him. Whether it's his health or whatever, he clearly hasn't lived up to HIS OWN LOFTY STANDARDS these last few years. He should have recognized that and moved on. Instead, the players he purportedly loves, are the ones who suffer. 

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Icouldnotgofor3's picture

I've always felt he was the Cupe of B-ball.............

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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BucksFan2000's picture

It's been a long time since this team was any fun to watch.  Unfortunately, that's directly coincided with the Loving era.  Not bashing him, but that's the reality.

Hopefully Funderburk can provide some help next year.  I would say Wesson needs to play too - some have mentioned on here that a 'freshman don't play' card is being used against OSU in recruiting.

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IronPastor's picture

I still watch and have fun watching because its OSU basketball and I enjoy the game.  Yeah it can be frustrating, but I guess it is what you make of it...if winning is everything, then yeah its probably not fun...but to me, getting to watch OSU in anything is better than not getting to...even if they are down.

GEAUX BUCKEYES

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ZeroDimension's picture

Really Good article..  Thank you.

One Shoe

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huffdaddy's picture

Cincy and Xavier are better than us every year. Dayton too for that matter. 

That's my answer to people who think our expectations are somehow too high because we aren't Kentucky. 

We aren't Kentucky. But we should at least be the best damn basketball team in the state of Ohio. Sheesh. 

"I don't think you necessarily have to get a trophy to be a winner." - Nick Saban 1/2/15.

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550I Buckeye's picture

Let's be real.  Thad is being maintained for his previous results of the past...way past.  The last 4+ years, his teams have gradually regressed, attendance has decreased, and post-season tournaments are rare.  Who wouldn't walk away from a $3M annual gig with the current endorsement of the AD...even while putting absolute garbage on the court?  Thad is laughing all the way to the bank! 

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blu.fan's picture

Good Luck. SMH. Hope the ship gets turned around for y'all, but it won't be easy at this point. Sure don't know the answer. I will say, Jon Sanderson, Michigan basketball's strength and conditioning coach, has made a huge difference. Stauskas, Hardaway, and Robinson have all returned from the NBA to Ann Arbor in the summer to work out. They say that Michigan has better S & C facilities than all but 3 teams in the NBA. And Sanderson is at the top of his game, and has made a huge, huge difference in helping players gain weight, strength, hops, speed, and stamina. Sanderson was the starting small forward at OSU on the 1999 NCAA final four team. He is one of the best things Michigan ever got from Ohio State.

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actionstanleyjackson's picture

Pretty much anything of value at the University of Michigan came from OSU or the state of Ohio..

And I am not sure why you think Michigan is so far ahead of OSU in hoops. They consistently lose to OSU. They have had about as much success in the tournament as OSU. And to be honest...the majority of people who follow Michigan wanted Belien fired after they lost to OSU. 

Now all of the sudden they are the darlings of Michigan athletics

Stay golden, Ponyboy.

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james allen's picture

What comes next?  More millions to Thad and more dismal basketball at the Schott.

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Osusam77's picture

I'm confident Matta will meet expectations -  they could not be lower.

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vball10set's picture

CptBuckeye24 4 hours ago4 hours ago
I need to see a team that hustles, plays defense, plays with toughness, and heart. Those types of things are often reflective of the coaching staff.

When effort is a constant problem, that's when the evaluation is due.

/thread 

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OldColumbusTown's picture

The entire situation is sad, considering where this program was 5 years ago, and in all honesty, I think all sides and interested parties have failed:

1) Coaching Staff: Development has been poor, in-game adjustments are non-existent, recruiting has fallen off sharply, and on we go...
2) Players: Consistency, attention to detail, effort and intensity, enthusiasm.. where is it?  It has not been seen, consistently, within this program in years.
3) Strength & Conditioning: Even back when OSU was sending players to the NBA, the body fat % was consistently higher in Buckeye players at the combine compared to other top programs, and that included players who I would consider relatively "thin" like DT, Ross, etc.  This team gets pushed around, is not as quick as their opponent, and generally just not as explosive as other teams.
4) Athletic Department: I'm talking about the home venue.  Value City Arena is not a premium place to watch a game, and the atmosphere is awful.  Part of that is based on the department's disregard for pricing of basketball games, and placement of fans with seating.  Who wants to pay $35 per person to watch the Buckeyes play UNC-Asheville in late December, and sit up in the top section?  It's ridiculous.
5) The Fans: Yes, even the fans have failed.  The support of this program is so fickle - the home attendance this season was atrocious.  Everyone wants to point at the OSU brand as the reason for why this team/program should be a top 15-20 team every season, yet the attendance completely fails to correlate.  And not just the attendance, but the fan involvement and energy created while at the game.  There is no home court advantage.  And yes, much of this is chicken or the egg - which comes first?  You have seating that is too expensive, a team that is not producing, and fans that don't get involved or loud unless something really good happens.

I don't know the answer, and since the program remains the same for another year, maybe the first step is Gene Smith realizing a good crowd can help provide the team a little extra pep in their step.  Maybe Thad finally shakes up his coaching staff this offseason, seeing that all of these assistants will be out of a job after one more season like this.  Maybe Tate/KBD/Thompson (if he stays) take on an increased leadership role and this team bands together like we haven't seen in a few years.  Either way, something has to change because the personnel is not changing for next year.

HS
EnzoAmoresHairExtensions's picture

I see your points and can agree with most of them, but I wouldn't call out the fans as they have shown up in the past and will again some time in the future when there appears to be a future for the program.  I don't think not wanting to shell out money on a program that has declined for about 4 years straight makes the fan base fickle, it just shows that people have better things to do than invest their money, time, emotions, and energy, into a team that doesn't appear to be as invested as they are.  Every time I watched this team, I just felt beaten down and angry after the game was over.  That's no fun and I can think of a lot of other things I would rather be doing.  I'm sure we will all be all in at the beginning of next season.  I just wonder how long we will all last before everyone finds other things to do than watch what is going on the court unless something miraculous happens with the team over the summer.

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OldColumbusTown's picture

The issue is not just attendance.  Yes, overall attendance at OSU games fares pretty well nationally.  Or at least it did up until this past season.  However, how often does the crowd give the players a jolt of energy?  How often do you even see a majority of fans stand up in their seats to applaud or to get loud for a big defensive possession?  Compare that to Wisconsin, MSU, Purdue, Indiana, or (yikes) Nebraska..

Another thing, (and this just reinforces my thoughts on fans who expect OSU to compete for a national title and on the same level as the football program every year are unrealistic) is the attendance at non-conference games against pushover teams.  I'm not absolving the athletic department here, because the prices for those games are outrageous, but why are there less than 10,000 fans at OSU's home opener?  Why does the Schott barely break 11K against Wisconsin?  If it was football, every game would be packed, especially conference games.  There was ONE game this season where the Schott was packed and the crowd was buzzing.. against MSU.  OSU played their best basketball to date in that game. 

I'm with you - this team is brutal to watch.  There were times I wanted to turn my head so I didn't have to see the same mistakes game after game.  But, if the fans want OSU basketball to be equivalent to OSU football and expect the same results, they need to give the basketball team the same support.

HS
EnzoAmoresHairExtensions's picture

I agree.  It's a lot easier to be a fan when the team is good.  There has always been great fans that show up, but we always get someone reading a book or knitting or some other stupid thing.  There are always stories about people being told to sit down also.  We'll have to see what happens whenever there is life blown into the program.

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IronPastor's picture

It's a lot easier to be a fan when the team is good,

I don't think it was your intention and I agree to a certain extent, but to me this sounds a little fair weather. (Like I said, I don't think you meant it that way)

If I lived in CBus, I would be at every game...why, because I love my Buckeyes.  I attended multiple LSU games this year and they were worse than OSU...why because I cheer for LSU as well.  I am a fan.  Does it sting when we lose, oh yeah...for both teams...but I am a fan none the less and I choose to be a fan win or lose because I love the team and the school, despite the outcome.  

What does it say to the team if people only want to show up if we are winning...well you are only valuable of my time if you are winning...if you arent, then its not worth my time.  Honestly, I wouldn't want to put forth effort for a fanbase like that.

I dont think you meant it that way, at least I hope not, but it just gets frustrating when people say "I love Ohio State" but "I am not watching them until they win" or "I have better things to do than to watch them lose"....they dont add up..

GEAUX BUCKEYES

HS
Icouldnotgofor3's picture

"What does it say to the team if people only want to show up if we are winning"

Winning and losing will happen regardless, but what I want to see is effort and intensity for a full 40 minutes. The game outcome I can live with as long as they hustle. That walk off from the court against Rutgers with 18 seconds still left in the game had me fuming. I had never seen that, even from a HS team. 

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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EnzoAmoresHairExtensions's picture

I'm not a fair weather fan, I'm a tired fan.  Tired of coaches who don't appear to know what they are doing.  Tired of the same old boring offense that seems to run about only 3 plays.  Tired of players who consistently put in minimal effort.  Tired of hearing about the state kids who are leaving Ohio to play other places and not even looking at Ohio State.  Tired of players arguing with coaches.  Tired of players whining after every foul called on them.  Tired of Gene Smith being afraid to make the tough decision.  I could continue, but won't.  This program has been in free fall for the last 3 years with no end in sight.  It wears you out and is not a lot of fun.  This program is in need of a complete change and it's not happening.  It just makes me tired.

HS
Bamabucknut's picture

Urban took teams that had poor attendance...gave them great coaching and attendance grew.BB teams that have performed at OSU have drawn large crowds. Matta's teams of the last few years have proven that poor performance is rewarded with low attendance.What is not to understand ?

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ZeroDimension's picture

I am a bigger basketball fan than football fan... and what you are saying is 100% true.. 

One Shoe

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Spaceman77's picture

What can Matta do to change the culture at OSU?

This year you had the Perfect Storm to accomplish a terrible season:

1.  Lack of player development.

2.  Regression of talent.

3.  Lack of effort.

4. Too much competition between coaches wanting to become head coaches.

5. Strength and Conditioning concerns.

6. Ending last season and starting this season with known injuries to players.

7. Players doing what they wanted instead of running the planned plays at critical times.

8.  Defensive game plans from an assistant coach who previously ran a terrible offensive game scheme after being the teams Video Coordinator. (What Power 5 school does this?)

9.  Again missing important Free Throws which cost too many games.

10. Lack of any urgency to change the attitude of players by reducing playing time.

11. Lack of Leadership.

12. Lack of Camaraderie between players.

13. Lack of Camaraderie between Assistant coaches.                                                                            

14. Trust.

15. In game adjustments left a lot to be desired.

16. The Switch to Tight Tank Top Uni's doomed the season.

17. Karma from the transfer of the Fantastic Four.

18. Not overhauling current practice methods.

19. Demanding certain players utilize PAP (Practice After Practice).

20. No one accepted responsibility for multiple debacles' during the season.

This Is A Journey!

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Wee's picture

Thad has done wonderful things for the program. For that, we as fans will be forever grateful. It's my opinion that Gene Smith is only delaying the inevitable. While recruiting has slipped, in-game adjustments were never a strength (see Ky tournament game during Diebler / Sullinger time.) With basically the whole roster back, only 2 things can save Thad...1) changing how he communicates and connects with existing players (ie: clearly they are tuning him out.) 2) Get a grad transfer or 2 that can make a difference. Changing up staff isn't much of an option...No good assistant coaches are going to come here knowing Thad could be done after next year. 

I'm pulling for Thad. But I think we all reasonably know how this ends.

HS
Icouldnotgofor3's picture

"in-game adjustments were never a strength (see Ky tournament game during Diebler / Sullinger time.)"

Maddening....just maddening to allow that team to lose to KY......and this is why I've known him to be the Cupe.....

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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BuckeyeinFlorida's picture

Did not read 140 comments. Forgive if a repeat. Mr. G. Smith should Strongly suggest stepping down for (whatever) reason. Effective 4/1/17. Million thank you. Then a massive salvage job. Entire staff - gone. Big search then an exciting new hire. Huge surge in fan interest. Rebirth of Basketball in Columbus, Ohio. That's not only smart, it's highly advisable. Do the right thing because the alternative is the wrong thing.

HS
Icouldnotgofor3's picture

Wouldn't count on it from Smith. The choice has been made but I do think you are 100% correct. 

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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BrewinBuckFan's picture

For a bit of perspective, last season UCLA was 15-17 and people were trying hard to get Coach Alford fired, going so far as to fly a Fire Alford banner over LA http://www.latimes.com/sports/ucla/la-sp-ucla-plane-fire-alford-banner-20160314-story.html  This year UCLA is a legit title contender and fans on the message boards are worried about what happens if Alford choses to leave on his own for the Indiana job.  Matta just needs one or two wins in the recruiting trail and he'll be the second most popular coach on Campus again

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jackb5's picture

Could anyone blame Goodwin for listening to the bluebloods (UK, Kansas, UNC, Duke) 

Embrace Uncertainty

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UrbanCulture's picture

I wouldn't blame him for listening, but they aren't gonna come calling. They probably don't want the 39th best shooting guard in america.

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Urbanologist's picture

I think the Idea of firing Thad Matta is about the dumbest thing a buckeye fan could think of. It only shows just how damn ignorant they are about what OSU Basketball was before Matta, Let me remind you, Terrible !!

OSU will never, ever be a basketball school. More than accept we will never have a basketball program like that of Duke or N.Carolina, we need to accept we will not have a basketball,program like that of even Michigan, which is a sevond tier bball school. OSU isnt a first ot second tier program. Sure we have had a few very good years, like we do every 20-25 years, but make no mistake, no future top bball stars are dreaming of playing for OSU. Thats not absolute, but damn near. OSU is and will likely always be a third tier bball program, maybe on the high end, but still not in the leauge of the Michigan's or Georgetown's of the world, and sure as hell no Syracuse or Carolna.

Point is we should feel damn lucky to have had the decade we have just had. We should also thank Thad Matta for giving it to us. There was a time he could have bolted for a top tier program, but he didnt. Now its time we allow him to rebuld what is a difficult task for sure.

Now, with that said there is no way in hell Thad Matta should be a top ten paid coach. He should be paid in a way that compensates him when he is winning, but not when he isnt. But when you think of the Top 10 programs in the country you cannot justify Matta's salary comparatively. No way.

All time wins OSU is really pretty up there, but in pratical reality we all know OSU is no MSU.

Think Duke, Kentucky, Syracuse, N.Carolina, Louisville, Kansas, Michigan State, Indiana, UCLA, UConn, these are who should have the highest paid coaches.

Theire is only one truth...

HS
Icouldnotgofor3's picture

That's unacceptable with all the resources OSU has and the talent that is available in this state and others. We pay the coach a Top-10 salary and the program has been REGRESSING for four straight years in win totals. Attendance is reflecting that decline as well. Why shouldn't we expect to compete with Duke, Carolina or Kentucky? OSU is PERHAPS just the fourth best team in Ohio currently behind the Bearcats, Xavier and Dayton. If you are satisfied with mediocrity and not rocking the boat, that's fine but I'm not. I expect more.

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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stxbuck's picture

As an Ohio taxpayer, let Gene Smith know!!!!!!

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Icouldnotgofor3's picture

Great idea....but it would be an exercise in futility. Smith appears to be content with the current product of mediocrity.

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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stxbuck's picture

Big difference between "content" and cognizant of fiscal and HR realities-ie-he doesn't have a slam dunk upgrade lined up, so why fire Matta for a mediocre replacement.

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Icouldnotgofor3's picture

FOUR straight years of regression and he has no one in mind? Now that, I can believe.

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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MaxBuck's picture

As someone who is a bigger Buckeye hoop fan than football fan, I have to say that the players better understand next season that they're playing for Thad's job.

If Archie Miller doesn't take the NC State job this off-season, or maybe even if he does, he's the coach-in-waiting at Ohio State. I'd also be happy with Bryce Drew. Lots of options out there. 

MaxBuck

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BuckeyeDevil's picture

I think a lot of people, myself included, have tried to maintain a position of neutrality regarding Thad up to this point, even though it sure seemed the program wasn't trending in the right direction. After all, down years are bound to happen to most​ programs.

But down years for quality programs don't usually mean 4 straight years of decline (I am not in the camp that says the 2013 season was a bad year as an Elite 8 season is pretty good in my thinking), don't normally translate into only 1 NCAA tourney win in 4 years, 2 straight missed NCAA tournaments, losing in the first round of the NIT one year and the embarrassment of not even being invited to the NIT the following year. That should be unacceptable at Ohio State.

Everyone says that Ohio State isn't a blue-blood basketball program. That is being proven year in and year out at this point. The University, does, however, pay its coach blue blood program type money. More is rightfully expected because there isn't anything close to a respectable return on investment.

HS
gbuck79's picture

The one thing we can not get around is the total lack of development in any of his players.  I think he has earned another year but if no drastic improvement next year it is time

george baker

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Mgh11's picture

GBUCK79, agree.  When was the last time someone was developed? Evan Turner?  That to me is the biggest knock against Matta.  You dont have to have the highest recruits.  You have to have a system adn find players to fit it (Wisconsin).  

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bsk33's picture

Trevor Thompson

And as the season progressed, CJ Jackson and Andre Wesson

I play, coach stays. He goes, I go.

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Sav45age's picture

Ohio State is a historically better basketball program than Michigan.

HS
bucksfan92's picture

Yeah that's not even debatable.  Literally the only B1G program that can claim to be better than OSU is Indiana, and not by much, especially since the post-Bobby Knight years.

HS
CoachKJ15's picture

Shoutout to IronPastor for being optimistic about Beverly! 

Everyone is so so quick to write him off because of the "3 star" rating! Let's not forget Craft wasn't highly touted either! 

If you arent unfamiliar with how BB plays here's a little sneak peek- https://youtu.be/z87QFsdPjlk

What you plant now, you will harvest later.

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Icouldnotgofor3's picture

You may want to add me to IronPastor's group. I've stated multiple times that Beverly will surprise some folks. Looking at those highlights, that kid reminds me of Craft on the offensive end with a much better three-point shot, and, he's not afraid to drive into the trees. I like it....

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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CoachKJ15's picture

Added! He seems to have that fire in him and the will to win! I can't wait to see what he brings, I think we will end up happy that he wears Scarlet & Gray for the next 3-4 years! 

What you plant now, you will harvest later.

HS
BrotherBrutus's picture

Look, I'm not trying to discredit what Matta has done for this program. He absolutely deserves respect for running a clean program and having a historically great record. Is it fair to expect that all of our teams are going to be as good as the Greg Oden/Mike Conley team? Absolutely not, and when Matta's teams were good, just not THAT good, he was absolutely a victim of his own success.

However, I don't think it's ridiculous to have expectations that are higher than the product we've gotten on the court the last two seasons from a man who makes $3 million/year. There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn't be as good as the smaller schools in Ohio. Why is it that Cincinnati, Dayton, and Xavier all have better programs than we do? We're the biggest school in the state with more money than any of those other places. There is no reason why we can't get the talent to come to Ohio State. Our shooting has been pathetic. The defense that has saved us in previous seasons seems to be declining, and Matta can't seem to make the proper adjustments even against some of the lesser teams on the schedule. Look, I know this is B1G basketball, and we play against some of college basketball's blue bloods (and on top of that, we play ACC teams every year OOC). We went from being national championship contenders to missing the fucking NIT, not just the NCAA tournament. I can live with missing the NCAA tournament from time to time. We didn't make it into the **NIT**, and that is certainly grounds to have Matta on the hot seat. I personally think we should have parted ways this year. There has to be a point where your legacy and your class are no longer sufficient to keeping your job. At some point, it does have to come down to performance, and I don't know that Thad Matta is meeting a basic standard of quality coaching.

You're a victim of your own success when you are still performing at a high level, just not as well as you have previously. You're not a victim of your own success when you're not performing well at all, and unfortunately, the latter case is the one we have with Thad Matta currently. 

Go Bucks!

HS
Boulderbuck's picture

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.

HS