On July 4, 2002 Thad Matta took the reins of the Ohio State Basketball program. As of this writing, Thad has a 74% winning percentage (335-119) as Ohio State Head Coach. He has taken the Buckeyes to the NCAA Tournament nine times with two Sweet Sixteen appearances, one Elite Eight & Final Four appearance and a runner-up performance in 2007. The Buckeyes have won the Big Ten five times under his leadership.
So why are the rumblings of getting rid of Matta as Ohio State Head Man growing louder & louder? For one, Matta no longer seems to be able to recruit top-notch players like the Odens & Conleys of the past and the few he did land recently (Daniel Giddens, Mickey Mitchell & Austin Grandstaff) decided to move on to other programs. Plus, watching Nigel Hayes from Toledo dominate for Wisconsin still stings.
The Buckeyes fell in the second round of last year’s NIT (to Florida as a road team on their own court) and appear to be headed to a NIT berth at the very best again this season as they languish in the Big Ten with a 5-8 record.
So what is going on with Thad? Is he just mailing it in as Head Coach? It is no secret that Matta has been dealing with back issues for a few years now. And bottom line, the Buckeyes just look flat. There have been flashes of excitement (a win over Michigan recently gave a glimmer of hope) but for the most part this team just seems to be going through the motions. Value City Arena has become a mausoleum this season, with many empty seats and less than enthusiastic crowds.
Now, let’s be honest, Ohio State is and always will be a football school. But Ohio State deserves better than back-to-back NIT tournament teams. It may be time to send Thad packing.