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Ohio State confirms Thad Matta to return in 2017-2018

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The winningest coach in school history will get a chance to right the ship.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve lost interest in Ohio State men’s basketball over the course of the past two seasons, it’d be hard to blame you.

The program’s missed the NCAA Tournament for what looks to be two straight seasons, suffering some of the worst losses in recent school history — hello, 10-19 Florida Atlantic — and an lost almost an entire Top five recruiting class after less than a calendar year.

Despite hardships (including some of the wildest negative recruiting you’ve ever heard of working against them), and an on the court product seldom palatable except by the most loyal of Buckeye faithful, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta will get at least one more season to attempt to sort things out.

“Recently, Thad and I had a great discussion regarding the future of our Men’s Basketball Program,” OSU athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement.

“Thad’s record at Ohio State is an outstanding 337-122; a winning percentage of .734. He is the all-time wins leader and owns the record for most games coached at Ohio State. His teams have won five Big Ten titles, and made nine NCAA postseason appearances. What Thad’s teams at Ohio State have accomplished – both on and off the court – is highly commendable.

“While we are not currently where we aspire to be with our performance on the court, Thad understands better than anyone that component has to improve. I am confident in his leadership to return the program to the winning ways that we have all enjoyed during his 13 year tenure,” Smith added.

“We have had tremendous success with Thad as our basketball coach. His commitment to developing young men in a holistic way and running our program with the highest of integrity continue to be hallmarks of his leadership.”

While Smith’s vote of confidence may not sit well with some, there’s a case to be made that Matta deserves the chance to fix what he started. There are some reinforcements coming via next year’s recruiting class, and if Matta makes it to the 2018-2019 season as OSU’s head basketball coach, there’s a super class waiting to potentially take the Buckeyes back to the level their fans desire.

Regardless of where you stand on Matta’s status as Buckeye basketball coach, the fact remains that he’ll be in that role for at least one more season. Whether or not OSU can return to its previous level or not with him remains to be seen.