Seven games left in the regular season.
Thad Matta’s on a magical ride.
The head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes remains anonymous to most college basketball fans. He doesn’t throw chairs, accumulate technical fouls or create a larger-than-life image of himself. He’s just a great basketball coach that happens to look like my Dad.
Coaching Butler, Xavier and now Ohio State, Matta’s teams won at least a share of their conference title six times in 11 years. That’s an eye-popping batting average. Matta’s clubs made the postseason in 10 of 11 seasons, missing out on any postseason tournament in his first season with the Buckeyes.
By the way, he’s 24-0 right now. Fresh off a 13-point beat down of No. 20 Minnesota on the road, the Bucks are a perfect 11-0 in conference play. They boast an outstanding freshman forward, a sharp-shooting senior guard and one of the most effective big men in the paint. It’s a complete team in an incomplete season.
They’ve had close calls. Fighting back on the road against Northwestern in late January, Ohio State left Evanston with a 1-point win and a ranking of number one in the country.
They will face a pair of huge challenges in the next couple of weeks. Ohio State travels to the house of horrors in the Big Ten, known as the Kohl Center on Saturday. Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin Badgers always play tough at home and aren’t exactly a pushover in an outstanding year in the second best conference in college basketball. If the Buckeyes stay perfect after a trip to Madison, they get Purdue a week later. Nobody said it was easy.
Seven games left to a perfect season in the Big Ten. They haven’t been there since 1961, where they lost in the NCAA Championship Game to Cincinnati.
In early February, Ohio State is the best team in the country.
They probably want to claim the same title in early April in Houston, Texas. Scissors to cut down nets along the way make the best gift in early spring.