There's been a lot of chatter lately about the future of Buckeye basketball coach Thad Matta. Despite his enormous success, it appears Ohio State (15-13, 5-10 Big 10) is headed for a second straight season without an NCAA tournament bid. If you've watched this cast of characters for the last two years, it's easy to point to on court mental and physical errors at critical times that have cost the Buckeyes multiple victories. It's the players who have made those mistakes, but Matta isn't about to let the criticism go in that direction.
"I'll never ever throw a player under the bus...I've never done that. I'll take it," Matta said. "It's on me, 100 percent....There's some things I know this team can do and I know there's a level that we can play at and somehow someway, we've got to get them to believe that they can do that."
Belief will be key Thursday night, as Ohio State tries to upset Wisconsin, who is fighting for a Big Ten title. In their only meeting this year, it was a complete blowout, with the Badgers winning in Madison by 23. At home, the Buckeyes have been competitive with everyone--but have often found ways to lose. Ohio State has lost 5 home games this year by a total of 12 points. Two losses (Purdue and Nebraska) have been by one point and two others (Florida Atlantic in overtime and Northwestern) have been by two.
"I walked in Saturday (against Nebraska) at halftime and I thought we were down by 30 and I'm saying fellas...holy (cow)---we're up by six," Matta said of his teams shaky confidence. "I was Knute Rockne in the locker room saying, come on....This team needs substance....What I'm trying to convince them--we've got to make our own breaks."
If you want to watch Matta's press conference Wednesday, click here for the link.