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Was cruising the web today and came across an article on an OSU blog talking about the Buckeyes' recent success against Michigan. The article talked about both football and basketball, but I was particularly interested in the stuff they were saying about Thad Matta and Michigan. Matta has undeniably been very good in Columbus and has undeniably been very good against Michigan (17-3), but I was bothered by the fact that they completely overlooked the situation in Ann Arbor during a good hunk of Matta's tenure in Columbus. Michigan had to deal with program sanctions and also a coaching transition.
Matta has competed against some decent to good teams in recent years (including a 16-0 team just a couple of days ago) but he's also faced his fair share of weak Michigan teams. In fact, the Wolverines have only made the NCAA Tournament in 5 out of 9 seasons (assuming Michigan makes it this year) while Matta was head coach. Just look at before Beilein arrived in Ann Arbor (Matta posted a 6-0 record against Michigan). Of course, Matta would still have an 11-3 record without these games, but that is certainly less impressive than 17-3. Plus, if you consider the coaching transition and the fact that Michigan was simply outgunned in Beilein's early years, I just don't think the dominance is quite as impressive as many make it out to be right now.
I'm not going to sit here and say Matta just got "lucky" because he faced weak Michigan teams, but I don't think there's any doubt that he had some help to get to this record. To me, Matta doesn't have any "magic" touch against Michigan. Ohio State basketball has been better than Michigan basketball recently, but so has most of the other Big Ten programs too. I think his dominance over Michigan has just as much to do with Michigan's weakness as it has to do with Ohio State's success.
To me, the tide has already started turning. Michigan may be 0-1 against Ohio State this season, but just consider this. Michigan will be a clear favorite against the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor. If Michigan wins that game, Matta's record over the last two seasons will be 3-2. I don't know many that would consider that "domination" and if the two rivals meet in the Big Ten Tournament, Michigan would probably be favored again, which could mean a 3-3 record. Both teams should be good for awhile, but I just don't see the argument for this "magic" touch against Michigan.
After a would-be throttling turned into a nail biter, Ohio State prevailed against their hated rivals, and handed the Wolverines their first loss in the process. But what Thad Mattas crew did on Sunday was just a little bit of history repeating.
Basketball Analyst For BTPowerhouse & Wolverine 247 - Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tbeindit
Someone should do a comparison of how many articles the main OSU blogs write about Michigan to the number of articles the large Michigan blogs write about OSU. Also, about Land Holy Grant or whatever the name is: the guy that runs it, Luke Zimmerman, was always one of my least favorite writers at EDSBS. The dude just wasn't funny.
Matta has a good program down there...but Beilein has almost closed the gap talent wise.
Matta was hired at OSU during the Dark Years of Michigan hoops. Everyone did well against UM during those years. It has only been two years now that UM basketball has again really been competing at a high level. Last year, we split with OSU in the regular season and were co champs with OSU and MSU. This year we lost again in Columbus but will likely be favored when they come to AA. If they want to crow about beating us during the decade we were down following NCAA sanctions, who cares? We have more important things to focus on ... like repeating as B10 champs and making it at least to the FF.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by MrWoodson 18 months ago
IMO we have closed the gap in talent. How many NBA players do they have on their team? We have at least three and as many as five or six.
Absolutely. That's the same reason why I don't take OSU's record against Michigan during the Rich Rod years very seriously. To me the OSU vs Michigan head-to-head record is only truly relevant when both programs are in stable condition. Albeit, as much transition as there is in college sports these days, that doesn't happen as often as it used to, but when it does it means an absolute war. The 2006 OSU-Michigan CFB game, for example, was one of the single best football games I've ever seen.
This is why I'm looking forward to a sustained rivalry between Hoke and Meyer. If the last game is any indication, I see a lot of one-score games in the future that could go either way.
To be fair to Matta, as you mentioned with your program, OSU was not exactly in a great state as a bball program when he was hired
Well if we only count the years our teams are good that will get rid of 30% of all games in football and basketball....Heck if we can take away the OSU football losses from 1897 to 1919 then the rivalry has a whole different look...
Schools go through ups and downs, the games count, can't pick and choose which ones do. For all the enjoyment some of your fans had over your football win in '11 I would think they'd understand all games count, there surely was no apologies for your win against the worst OSU team in over 120 years. It is what it is. Ohio State Basketball was nothing from the late 70's until the 90's, then not great again for another 10 years. Matta has been a 20 win coach everywhere he has been, so gotta be something to his ability.
Except that the first thing that Ohio fans do when discussing the rivalry is try to throw out the early years precisely because OSU sucked at football. Please go peddle your hypocrisy somewhere else.
This post was edited by MrWoodson 18 months ago
The talent gap is closed, but they still pose matchup problems for us. They have athletes on the wings and length and that makes it hard for our guys to penetrate and create their own shot. Staukus was ineffective against their defenders who simply had more athleticism than him...it's something he is going to have to figure out a way to combat. This is my biggest fear in the tourney, being matched up with a team that simply has better athletes than us that can defend.
I like the direction of the program and think the series will be pretty even as long as Beilein can keep his staff together.
As a Buckeye Fan, it has been scary of late to see Beliein's recruiting, he has been bringing in a good crop the last two years. We are a little thin in that area right now as there are no Greg Oden's and Mike Conley's walking through the doors, but I do see these as two pretty good programs that will have some good rivalry games the next few years
When I was at Cornell, we had a team very similar to this Michigan team - good, smart guards, excellent outside shooters, somewhat of an inside presence, and just not that much pure athleticism. We went to the Sweet 16 with that team though, beating 4th-seed Wisconsin and 5th-seed Temple, so the team was pretty good, but as you mention, our undoing in the tournament was the athletes on Kentucky. The athletic defenders threw off our excellent outside shooters, and without the outside shooters to keep us in the game/build leads, the rest of the team had a lot of difficulty creating.
If you want to look at Matta against Michigan when it was down, also take into account that Matta was hired because of the firing of O'Brein and the sanctions against OSU basketball at that time also. Don't paint the Michigan was down if you don't also take into account that OSU was down at that time also.
And how many years has it taken Beilein to get his talent in, are you looking at this objectively. Yes, Beilein has his talent in place now and OSU is down from what it was last season, so I expect Michigan to have the better team this year.
I agree with this, but we provide match-up problems for them too. We overcame a crazy 21 point deficit to tie the game with five minutes to play and we were only two down with under 30 seconds to go and had the ball. If Burke's shot went in (and it was a good shot, just didn't drop) we would have been ahead by a point with around ten seconds to go. Or if Stauskus and Hardaway didn't go a combined 1-9 from the 3 point line, we would have been ahead as well. I'm not making excuses, but we lost a close game on the road to a rival despite getting rattled early and digging ourselves a huge hole. If we played OSU 10 times on a neutral court, I believe we would win more than 5.
Except for of the autobids from some of the conferences, once any team gets into the NCAA tournament a lot depends on luck. What I mean by that is you can get stuck in a tough region or an easy region. And some teams get lucky because the obvious favorites in their regions get knocked out by someone else before they have to face them. And it's a "one game" series, so anyone can have an especially good or bad game on a given night.
IMO it will be very, very disappointing if we do not make the Sweet 16 this year. We should have a good seed (1 or 2) and be able to blow by our first game. That means we have to beat one possibly good team to make the S16. After that, it's just too hard to predict. It will depend on who we are matched up against and whether we play well in each game. If we play up to our potential, I believe we are a FF team. But if we play the way we did against Nebraska or Ohio State in our last two games, we can lose to any team we are likely to run into in the S16 or later rounds. Let's just hope Coach B knows how to prepare an elite team to peak in the NCAA. If we are tired or worn out or poorly prepared/motivated on any given night, we might not get much past the S16.
This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by MrWoodson 18 months ago
Oh, I'm well aware of the seeding. This Cornell team took the Ivy autobid my sophomore, junior, and senior years, but we got knocked out in the 1st round twice. First time was by Stanford and the Lopez brothers (seriously, 2 7-footers? Not fair against a bunch of unathletic white kids), and the second time we got run out of the building by Mizzou's "40 Minutes of Hell." Again, we just didn't have the athletes to keep up.
Hopefully Michigan gets some favorable seeding this year. A lot of losses at the top is going to mess with seeding though. Syracuse and Duke each shouldn't have lost the games that they did.
Duke is a wildcard right now because of the injuries to Kelly and Curry. But it is very possible both will be back and 100% by tourney time. That said, those injuries might cost them some games between now and the end of the season and therefore hurt their seed. It would be a nightmare to end up with Duke in our bracket as a 5 or 6 seed and have to see them early.
Overall, the teams I don't want to see in our bracket, in order, include:
1. Indiana (sorry, but they scare the bejeesus out of me)
2. Duke (it's Duke; they are very good, especially in the NCAA, and have several veteran players; Coach K)
3. Louisville (their press defense is hard for any team to deal with the first time they run into it)
4. Florida (good on both offense and defense and a great tournament coach)
5. Minnesota (this might change depending on how we play against them tomorrow night)
6. Butler (great coach with a track record in the tourney; let someone else deal with them)
I remember their run that year. I rooted for them as I do for a lot of low seeds. Considering they played a Kentucky team with I think 9 future NBA players, they played them pretty tough. Donahue is a really good coach.
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