By Matt McCoy
Aaron Craft and the Buckeyes have lost five straight in gray uniforms
Ohio State's 70-60 home loss to Michigan Tuesday night was the continuation of a disturbing trend.
It has nothing to do with the 3:18 scoring drought midway through the second half when the Wolverines went on a 12-0 run to take the lead for good...It has nothing to do with the 39-27 rebounding deficit, which included 14 Michigan offensive rebounds...and it has nothing to do with Ohio State's polar vortex 3-for-20 3-point shooting. Nope--the Buckeyes were done in by their fashion faux pas....they wore gray.
There was a time when the Buckeyes in gray was good luck. In the regular season finale in 2011, No. 1 Ohio State wore gray and clobbered Wisconsin 93-65 in the Bo Ryan, "Deal With It" game.
The following season, the Buckeyes beat Duke, Indiana and Michigan sporting the gray...but then it all changed. It was exactly two years ago when luck turned to yuk.
On February 12, 2012, the Buckeyes were going for a 40th consecutive home win and broke out the grays against Michigan State. The Spartans were more physical, more determined and tougher that afternoon and snapped OSU's home win streak with a 58-48 victory.
Every jinx has a starting point...The Red Sox had Babe Ruth...the Cubs still have a Billy Goat and the Buckeye basketball team apparently has Draymond Green.
How else can you explain it? Including that Michigan State game, the Buckeyes have worn the gray uniforms five times over the past two years and have lost every time.
Two weeks after the Spartan loss, the Buckeyes put on the grays in the regular season home finale against Wisconsin and lost 63-60--the only time Thad Matta has ever lost on Senior Day.
Last season, Ohio State wore gray twice and suffered their only two home defeats, losing to Kansas 74-66 and to Indiana 81-68.
Of course this season, the Buckeyes had lost twice in white--so maybe the thinking was "why not try the gray?" But the jinx lives on....Michigan 70, Ohio State 60.
What's more disturbing is that when the grays come on, for the most part, the games don't even end up close. The average score is 69-60 and the hue of gray clearly has an adverse effect on the Buckeyes ability to shoot. In the five-game gray clad losing streak, Ohio State's field goal percentage is 37.7 percent including a dismal 21.9 percent (20-91) from 3-point range.
Logic tells me this is all nonsense. Obviously, a uniform has no bearing on winning or losing, does it? I mean the Denver Broncos going 0-4 in Super Bowls when wearing orange and losing those games by an average of 32 points is just a coincidence, isn't it?
Just the same, if I'm Thad Matta, who has been known to wear lucky ties and has a game-night routine of having a fresh stick of Juicy Fruit handed to him before tip-off, I'd moth ball the grays until next season's exhibition opener against Walsh, Findlay or whomever is scheduled.
If the Buckeyes win, Coach Matta can declare the jinx over...if they lose, it doesn't hurt your overall record and it gives you clear evidence. While they may be stylish and cool, the grays should never be worn again.