Fifteen Years Ago Today: Ohio State Hires Thad Matta

By 11W Staff on July 7, 2019 at 2:00 pm
Feb 14, 2017; East Lansing, MI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta reacts to a play during the second half of a game against the Michigan State Spartans at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
© Mike Carter | USAT Sports

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.

Fifteen years ago today the trajectory of the program changed forever. Thanks, Thad.

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