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:
- Why haven’t we seen Amir Williams at center and Jared Sullinger at power forward on the floor at the same time?
- Why is J.D. Weatherspoon not splitting playing time with Deshaun Thomas & William Buford?
- Why is Sam Thompson, a real player, not in the rotation 10-12 minutes a game is not enough.
- Why isn’t a pure shooter like LaQuinton Ross given an opportunity to fill the 3-point void John Diebler left behind?
- Why won’t Thad allow our athletes to run, run and run some more against teams that are inferior athletically?
- Can we survive the grind of the B1G Tourney followed by the NCAA’s with our starters playing 35-40 per game?
- Would it kill us to drop the man-to-man defense for no other reason than to take an opposing team out of their offensive rhythm?
- How about an occasional full-court press?
Many Buckeye fans, myself included, have become spoiled. Since when do I have the same high expectations for the basketball team that I demand of the football team? We are a football school, right? There’s only one reason Ohio State basketball has become a program with an abundance of success, wins and championships.
Since taking the Buckeye job during the 2004-05 season, Matta has compiled a record of 212-62. Including this season, he will make his 6th appearance in the NCAA tournament, was a national runner up in 2006-07 and has two sweet sixteen appearances in 2009-10 and 2010-11. In addition, he could possibly win his 5th Big 10 Championship this season, depending on how the next two weeks play out.
His ability to recruit is unmatched. Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Daequan Cook, Kosta Koufos, B.J. Mullens and Evan Turner have all been first round NBA picks. Sullinger and Buford will likely be next on that list.
This is the most successful period in Buckeye basketball since our great teams of the 1960’s. Who am I or any of us to question Thad Matta? His body of work at Ohio State is exceptional. He has taken our program to new heights and while I may disagree with many of his decisions, I trust Thad Matta knows what he is doing. His record is proof of that.
In Thad I Trust.
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