NCAA scandal and sanctions were all but certain.
Jim O'Brien had been fired a month earlier and the cloud hanging over Ohio State's basketball program was not just on the court (the Buckeyes had finished 8th and 9th in the conference in consecutive years) but what was yet to come.
One month later, they hired 36-year old Thad Matta away from Xavier. The Buckeyes downward spiral immediately flattened in his first year, improving from 14-16 to 20-12 despite having no postseason to play for. His first season's highlight was taking down previously-undefeated and top-ranked Illinois.
As it turned out, his transformation of Ohio State basketball was just getting started.
#OTD 15 years ago, @OhioStateHoops hired Thad Matta.— Ohio State on BTN (@OhioStateOnBTN) July 7, 2019
Quick look at his accomplishments:
Record: 337123 (.733)
B1G titles: 5
B1G tourney titles: 4
NCAA tourney: Two Final Fours, one national runner-up
Yeah, that was a pretty good hire. pic.twitter.com/skpW15Oraq
Fifteen years ago today the trajectory of the program changed forever. Thanks, Thad.
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