By Matt McCoy
In the 2007 NCAA tournament, Ohio State was put in the same bracket with the school Thad Matta used to coach, Xavier. They met in round two in the game famous for Ron Lewis' game-tying shot (see below). Sean Miller, Matta's best friend in coaching, was Xavier's coach at the time.
In 2012, Ohio State was put in the same bracket with Cincinnati--another in-state school the Buckeyes traditionally do not schedule. They met in the regional semi-finals with Ohio State winning, eventually advancing to the Final Four.
In 2013, the Buckeyes were in the same bracket with Arizona, where Miller is now the head coach. Sure enough, in the Sweet 16, the Buckeyes and Wildcats met, with Miller again losing due to a late 3-pointer--this time by LaQuinton Ross.
In 2014, the NCAA Selection Committee did it to Matta again. The Buckeyes, the 6-seed in the South Region, faces 11-seed Dayton in Buffalo at 12:15 Thursday afternoon. The Flyers are coached by Sean Miller's younger brother Archie, a former assistant at Ohio State and still close friends with Matta.
"My first initial reaction was I was so excited to see Dayton up there because I wanted Arch to get into the NCAA tournament," Matta said. "Then it was kind of like, 'oh....here we go.'"
Matta says he and Miller talk "all the time" and it will be similar to last year's Ohio State Sweet 16 match-up with Arizona, in that both coaches know a lot about the opposing team.
This time however, even the players know each other well. Dayton's leading scorer is Jordan Siebert, who was part of the 2010 recruiting class which also included Jared Sullinger, DeShaun Thomas, Aaron Craft, Lenzelle Smith and J.D. Weatherspoon (now at Toledo).
Craft and Smith are the only one's left at Ohio State. Siebert, a teammate of Craft and Sullinger in AAU basketball, left after the Buckeyes 2012 Final Four season to get more playing time.
Siebert entered that year with expectations of starting for the Buckeyes but was beaten out by Smith and never was able to play his way into the regular rotation.
"We were brothers, we were teammates," Smith said. "I guess I was just the fortunate one to get that starting position and remain here and play on this Buckeyes team with these guys who I love so much. But then again I'm pretty sure he's happy with his decision and he's looking forward to playing us again."
It will be the first meeting between Ohio State and Dayton since 2008 when the in-state schools met in the third round of the NIT. The Buckeyes won 74-63 in the Schottenstein Center and went on to win the NIT title.
To listen to Thad Matta talk about Ohio State's NCAA draw click here
To listen to Aaron Craft, Lenzelle Smith, Sam Thompson and Shannon Scott react to Ohio State's NCAA draw click here
Happy Anniversary Ron Lewis
In Matta's first meeting against Sean Miller, Ohio State pulled off one of its most memorable tournament wins, as Ron Lewis drilled a 3-pointer with two seconds left, forcing overtime against Xavier. Ohio State went on to win 78-71. Lewis' big shot came on St. Patrick's Day, seven years ago. Enjoy....