As The Ohio State University Men’s Basketball team prepares for their last home game of the season against Bo Ryan and the Wisconsin Badgers, they are also preparing to celebrate Senior Day …. Or as it will be known this year: William Buford Day. The lone senior has taken quite a bit of heat this season from Buckeye Nation, and I am no exception to that. But as he prepares to step onto the court for his last game at the Schott, he deserves a proper tribute. I am not just talking about a tribute to a four-year starter but a lifelong Buckeye.
When he came to The Ohio State University as a freshman, he was a McDonald’s All-American and an Ohio Mr. Basketball. He was already being compared to Buckeye great Jim Jackson and had a ton of potential. Just nine games into his freshman season, Buford was added to the starting line-up; he has started all but one game since, and on his Senior Day, he will break the all-time record number of career starts. He has played in 134 games, averaging 32.4 minutes per game. In total, he has sported a Scarlet and Gray jersey for 4,337 minutes over the last four years, not including the remaining games of the 2011-12 season. Think about that total for a minute. That is incredible!no comments
Everyone knows Thad Matta is a ‘rock star’ of a coach and has brought OSU hoops into an era of excellence that rivals any stretch in the schools history.
All that is truly lacking – is a national championship..and perhaps this might be ‘that year’. To get a true appreciation of what the 44 year old Matta has accomplished – let’s look at some of the highlights:
- In 11 previous years, his average record at OSU is 27 wins and 8 losses.
- In his 3 years at Xavier, the team finished with 26 wins each year. His year at Butler was 24-8 with a second round NCAA showing.
- 11 consecutive 20+ win seasons to start his career.
- 4 B1G Titles in his 8 seasons at OSU.
- 5 B1G Conference Tournament championships.
- 1 MCC title and tourny championship in his only year at Butler.
- 2 A10 titles in his 3 years at Xavier. 2 A10 tournament championships.
- 2008 NIT championship with OSU.
- 9 NCAA tourney appearances with 2 sweet sixteens (OSU), a runner-up national championship (OSU), and an elite eight appearance (Xavier).
- 4 conference coach of the year awards (2 B1G coach, A10, 1 horizon).
We've decided to put together a roundtable topic each week for us staffers here at BHC to kick around for a while. Ultimately we would like to add a fan or two, or a guest blogger - this week we got both - and we're throwing out a topic that's starting to gain some real steam within Buckeye Nation, right or wrong - Ohio State basketball head coach Thad Matta. The premise is simple: we pass a few questions around the table and see where it goes.
This week's lineup:
1967 - a year that will live in Buckeye lore for eternity - and for very good reason. It was in this year that the Ohio State Buckeyes went 6-3, but failed to make the Rose Bowl, or to win the conference. 1967 would effect the Buckeyes deeply as Woody Hayes commented that not making the Rose Bowl “Strongly impaired Ohio State’s efforts to recruit within its own state.” Woody Hayes new that if he wanted to get back to the top of the conference again, he would need to journey beyond the borders of the Buckeye State, and tap in to new talents in other states.
Coach Hayes’ efforts paid off with a group of young men who would bring two National Championships to Columbus in 1968 and 1970, as well as a 3-1 record against TSUN, you may know this group as the “Super Sophomores”. Led by Rex Kern (Ohio), Jack Tatum (New Jersey - pictured left), Jim Stillwagon (Ohio), Bruce Jankowski (New Jersey), John Brockington (Ohio), Tim Anderson (West Virginia), Mike Sensibaugh (Ohio), Jan White (Pennsylvania), Larry Zelina (Ohio), Mike Vladich (Ohio), Doug Adams (Ohio), and Mark Debevc (Ohio) the “Super Sophs” would go on to bring glory to the Scarlet and Gray, and become legends of the fall. Back in those days, freshman were not allowed to participate at the Varsity level in any sport in the NCAA, so the aforementioned players had to sit out their first season, but it was all well and good, for all the players listed also became three year starters, and several (Kern, Tatum, Stillwagon, Brockington, White, Sensibaugh, Anderson) would all go on to become All-Americans.
With the class of 1970 being a prime example of how much out-of-state recruiting can pay off, we’ll go through some of the greatest Buckeyes who may have not had the privilege of being a native Ohioan, but who cemented themselves as legends of the Scarlet and Gray.no comments
A Tale of Two (or Three, or Six) Teams
There’s comfort in clarity.
The Buckeyes are a talented basketball team. That much is clear. They showcased their massive potential in November’s rout of Duke. But since that night, there’s been a cloud following the program. The Buckeyes lost at Illinois, Indiana and Kansas. Last week, Michigan State embarrassed Ohio State in Columbus. Saturday night, the wheels came off.
The Buckeyes traveled to Ann Arbor and lost to That Team Up North for the first time in seven games. Losing to Michigan is always painful. That’s especially true in a year when the Wolverines already own bragging rights in football. But the harshness of Saturday’s loss was only sharpened by the identity of the opponent. The pain runs even deeper than rivalry.
What made Saturday night so painful was the realization that the Buckeyes simply aren’t the team we thought they were. That reality has lingered for months, but in this blogger’s eyes, it was crystal clear for the first time this season on Saturday.
The pieces are all there for Ohio State. Despite any perceived shortcomings in his game day decisions, it’s irrefutable that Thad Matta is an elite recruiter. Jared Sullinger, William Buford, Deshaun Thomas, and Aaron Craft are all very good players. The bench is packed with blue-chip talent. But a collection of talented individuals is not a team.
In fact, it’s impossible to determine how many “teams” the Buckeyes have.no comments
After losses against Michigan and Michigan State the past two Saturdays, I find myself doing something I never thought possible, questioning the coaching of Thad Matta and wondering if he is capable of guiding this 2011-12 Buckeye team to a Big 10 Championship and ultimately, a national championship. Based on what I’ve read from other Buckeye fans, I am not alone. Matta’s coaching and use of personnel this season raise several questions:no comments
Twitter is an amazing thing. One random retweet from Awful Announcing and I spent the rest of my day BSing with your favorite editor. He told me he’s never been able to tolerate a Wolverine, which I am (side note: I did not go to Michigan and I am not from Michigan. My mom went there, so I’ve been of the “Go Blue” persuasion my entire life). I'll admit it’s rare I get along so well (if at all) with a Buckeye. But, we somehow managed to form some sort of bizarre bond that could bring down this entire rivalry (KIDDING of course). As much as he tries to sway me, I will never become a Buckeye. He told me he refuses to ever step foot in Ann Arbor so it doesn’t sound like anything will change anytime soon.
Thank goodness.no comments