Let's Play: Hating or Not Hating?

By Ramzy Nasrallah on March 14, 2018 at 1:05 pm
Feb 20, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes guard Andrew Dakich (13) and guard C.J. Jackson (3) and guard Kam Williams (15) celebrate as time winds down against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Value City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
© Joe Maiorana | USAT Sports

The Buckeyes had 11 March Madness victories between 2010 and 2013.

That's 20% (!) of the program's NCAA Tournament wins since it all began 79 years ago. You may be old enough to remember this bittersweet stretch of Ohio State basketball, when the team went dancing regularly and the quickest outs were Sweet Sixteens. There was even an Elite Eight and a Final Four tucked in there as well.

Time is an effective prism for bending history, so it's easy to forget just how much griping there was about Thad Matta's Buckeyes during that run about how they had reached their ceiling and face-planted into it. It turned out we were hating our own team. A Sweet Sixteen exit feels like business class not only now, but in almost any era over the past 79 years.

That impenetrable ceiling from earlier this decade is once again in play and under siege. The Buckeyes got into the Dance easily (!!) and are even favored to win their first game as a 5-seed (!!!) ...which absolutely nobody saw coming.

Unfortunately that means mocking bad predictions isn't difficult. They were all wrong.

But were those predictions condescending, or rooted in what we believed was a sad reality? Ohio State basketball was objectively in shambles.

Let's take a deeper dive! THIS IS: HATING OR NOT HATING

The prediction above only appears to be hurtful. Consider the stories that sat atop the 11W front page when Greg Peterson made his bold Buckeyes-to-CBI prediction:


Good Lord. Last May was basically the Hindenburg crashing into New Coke. Making any postseason tournament would have sounded pretty good back then; even having a full roster felt like a fever dream. Greg wasn't hating, although mammoths are long extinct - that's not a great descriptor for a deep tournament run. VERDICT: NOT HATING

Ohio State went 3-3 against Michigan during the entirety of Matta's decline, despite all of the sluggish and uninspired basketball that came with it. Michigan hasn't gone 3-3 against Ohio State in football since 1998-2003. It didn't come close to going 3-3 against Ohio State in basketball during any other part of the Matta era outside the decline. In recent and insulting news, the Buckeyes just went 5-0 against the Wolverines in hockey this season.

Ohio State's rare NIT foes have consistently been better competition than Michigan in [sport goes here]. VERDICT: HATING

On November 7 when this was tweeted the Buckeyes had only played and beaten Wooster in an exhibition with Quinnipac-transfer-flip Andrew Dakich atop the stat sheet in dimes. The football team had just lost to Iowa by a trillion points. Bubble team were kind words at the time. VERDICT: NOT HATING

I had not thought about Graham Couch since his bad Aaron Craft takes years ago. He made this statement at halftime of Ohio State's 48-3 win over the Spartans as an emotional hedge. As it turned out, Michigan State lost by seven in that prestigious Champions Classic, which was much closer than its eventual loss to Ohio State's NIT basketball team.

He did say Ohio State was heading to the NIT again though. The Buckeyes have one NIT appearance in 10 years. They have missed postseason play entirely as many times in that span. This was...faint praise? VERDICT: NOT HATING

On November 22, Ohio State had had no quality wins. Winless Texas Southern was among its four victims; a team that started 0-13 but is somehow playing in the NCAA Tournament today with a 15-19 record. Every part of that prediction is accurate up until the NIT portion. VERDICT: NOT HATING

On November 30 we were hoping for a 59-0 win over Wisconsin in Indy to style points the football team back into the playoff. This was whimsy, fueled by hope. We didn't comprehend what was about to happen, and going 15-3 in conference play still seems impossible. VERDICT: NOT HATING

This contains all the hallmarks of a hateful take. The tweet begins with an @ which shields it from everyone who doesn't follow both Dakich and Matthew, which means Matthew is tweeting at himself. There's no punctuation, a glaring run-on sentence and nobody knows what MSESPN means. VERDICT: HATING

This came in the aftermath of Ohio State's come-from-behind victory over the eventual B1G Tournament champions from Ann Arbor. It's tough to decipher due to a critical typo - we cannot tell if he's suggesting Ohio State will be an NIT team or and NJT tram, the latter of which is New Jersey Transit (I'm a frequent rider) and notoriously unreliable. VERDICT: INCONCLUSIVE

On December 23 the Buckeyes had two wins over March Madness automatic qualifiers to go with four losses. This was the correct take at the time, and quite possibly again soon. VERDICT: NOT HATING

Losing winnable games to Penn State doesn't even keep you out of the College Football Playoff, let alone the NCAA Tournament. This prediction was made in the aftermath of one of the Buckeyes many losses to the Nittany Lions in the throes of creeping negativity. When you're #madonline, hate wins. VERDICT: HATING

With sarcasm richer than Bernaise, haha the joke is now on these haters. VERDICT: HATING

CONCLUSION: Ohio State basketball was not so much disrespected during its first run under Chris Holtman as much as it significantly overachieved beyond what nearly everyone expected. NOT HATING

The Buckeyes are now back on the basketball radar, which means there should be nothing but hate on the horizon.

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