Happy (almost) New Year to all! Hopefully everyone spent some time at home with family and friends this week, and are ready to lock back in for a sprint to the finish line that begins tomorrow night with the Buckeyes taking on West Virginia in Cleveland.
This weekend’s event, the Legends of Basketball Showcase, will feature Ohio State as well as Akron and Ohio University. With that said, we are looking back at the best Ohio State teams that didn’t win the national championship that absolutely should have.
Last week, Connor and Justin each picked something they thought the Ohio State men’s basketball team would love to find under their tree on Christmas morning. 74% of the people who read last week agreed with Justin’s pick of a win over Indiana, while 26% of the people sided with Connor, who went with wins for Penn State, UCLA, and West Virginia to sweeten their strength of schedule.
After 132 weeks:
(There have been four ties)
This week we’re turning back the clock a little and looking at previous iterations of Ohio State that had a good shot to win it all, but fell short. Which former Ohio State team do you think should’ve won it all? Here’s our picks.
Today’s Question: Which Ohio State men’s basketball team should have won the national championship?
Connor: The 2006-2007 team
If it weren’t for the reigning national champions bringing back four starters and deciding to run it back — something that does not happen and will never happen again — this Ohio State team probably wins the national championship game in 2007.
The Buckeyes finished 35-4, won the Big Ten regular season title, and the Big Ten Tournament title. It recieved a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament, beating Central Connecticut State, Xavier, Tennessee, Memphis, and Georgetown to set up a date with the reigning champion Florida Gators in the national championship game in Atlanta.
After trailing by 11 at halftime, Greg Oden’s 25 points and 12 rebounds helped push the Buckeyes back into it and keep it a competitive second half. But the star-studded Gators had already created enough separation to hold Ohio State at bay, eventually winning 84-75 and securing their second straight national championship. Corey Brewer was named most outstanding player of the NCAA Tournament, and Billy Donovan became the third-youngest coach to win multiple national championships.
Despite falling just short in the final game of the season, that Ohio State team was stacked like no other Buckeye team since the turn of the century. Oden and Conley — the one-two punch from Indianapolis — were both drafted in the top-five of the 2007 NBA Draft. Daequan Cook would also find his way to the league, while David Lighty would eventually go on to set the records for most games played at Ohio State. Ron Lewis was the glue that kept it all together, coming to Ohio State after four years at Bowling Green and contributing nearly 13 points per game — and of course, that shot to beat Xavier. Mark Titus was also on the team.
That Ohio State team lost one game in the Big Ten. Just one. It won 29 of 31 games during a stretch, and finished as the No. 3 team in the country according to KenPom, behind North Carolina and Florida.
Oden led the team with 15.7 PPG, and oddly enough played just the third-most minutes (28.9 minutes per game) behind Conley and Jamar Butler. Oden also played predominantly with his off-hand, since he had surgery on tendons in his right hand at the beginning of the season.
The 2006-2007 season is looked at by many people as the peak of Ohio State men’s basketball in the 21st century. When discussing the heights Ohio State could reach, or the standard that should be met, the late 2000s is the era many people draw on. The 2007 national runner-up team is arguably the best and most talented team from that era.
Justin: The 2010-2011 team
That is a name that all Ohio State basketball fans remember and cringe when they hear it. The man who ended a dream season for the Ohio State Men’s Basketball team
As good as that 2006-07 team was, they ran into one of the best teams of the past two decades in that Florida team. In 2010-11, there was nothing that good standing in front of them — except Kentucky, apparently.
The Buckeyes were 34-3 heading into the Sweet 16 matchup against the Wildcats, who were coming off a buzzer-beating win by Knight also in the Round of 32. Kentucky was good but not great that season, entering the contest 28-8, and this should’ve been a fairly easy path to the Elite Eight.
But 40 minutes later, the 2010-11 Buckeyes became what could have been, and not a championship team.
Jared Sullinger, Jon Diebler, David Lighty, William Buford, Dallas Lauderdale, Aaron Craft, and Deshaun Thomas is a pretty insane seven-man rotation. Sullinger finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds, and Jon Diebler had 16 points, including a three-pointer from basically half-court to tie the game.
But Buford shot 2-for-16 from the field and missed the final shot that would have won the game for Ohio State. The Buckeyes also only had two points off the bench, with Craft shooting 0-for-5.
I am convinced this team would have won a national championship, but they ended up only winning two games in the tournament. Pain.
Which team definitely should have won it all?
This poll is closed
The 2006-2007 team (Connor)
The 2010-2011 team (Justin)