The Ohio State Buckeyes men’s basketball team is officially under .500 for the first time since they started the 2015-16 season 2-4. The Buckeyes have lost to Wisconsin, Michigan, and Northwestern in succession and have now fallen to 11-13 overall and 3-10 in the conference after starting 10-3 overall and 2-0 in conference.
So for this week’s iteration of ‘You’re Nuts’, we are going to completely ignore all that and take a trip down memory lane, as we all do when things are not going the way we like.
Last week, we discussed who we thought would make the biggest impact for the Buckeyes as freshmen next season. Connor went with Scotty Middleton and Justin went with Bronny James, taking the huge leap and making the assumption that he would wind up at Ohio State.
Connor won with 51 percent of the vote. Justin got 19 percent and the third option of “someone else” got the remaining 30 percent of the vote.
Here are the standings after 87 weeks:
After 87 weeks:
(There have been four ties)
And now here is this week’s topic of discussion.
Today’s question: What is your favorite Ohio State men’s basketball team of all time?
The 2017-2018 edition of Ohio State men’s basketball was Chris Holtmann’s first team, and simultaneously played the “plucky underdog” and “fearsome favorite” role at the same time, all season long.
When Thad Matta was fired in the middle of the summer of 2017, Chris Holtmann was hired and had very little time to patch holes in a roster that had just missed the NCAA Tournament and lost one player to graduation, another to the NBA Draft, and two via transfer. Keita Bates-Diop was coming off a nasty leg injury, and the team really did not have a true point guard.
Holtmann added Andrew Dakich to the team via transfer right away. Dakich played sparingly at Michigan and was considering transferring to a low mid-major before Holtmann called. To put it in respectful terms, Dakich was as close to being a walk-on before coming to Ohio State as you could be without actually being a walk-on. Suddenly he became one of the main ballhandlers for a team that would go on to start 9-0 in the B1G that season.
There was also star power on the team at the same time, with Keita Bates-Diop bouncing back from the gruesome leg injury the previous season and becoming the B1G Player of the Year during the 2017-2018 year. He, along with Jae’Sean Tate and freshman Kaleb Wesson, actually provided a solid 1-2-3 punch for Holtmann’s first team.
That team was a blast because expectations were so low, and despite rushing out of the gate to the tune of an 18-4 record, Ohio State remained unranked in the AP Poll until late January. If it weren’t for back-to-back road losses at Penn State and Michigan in February, you’re probably looking at a Big Ten championship in Holtmann’s first season. Ultimately, Ohio State finished 15-3 in the B1G and tied with Purdue for second place.
You also can’t forget the 80-64 shellacking of No. 1 Michigan State that occurred that season. On January 7, 2018, in front of 17,599 people, the Buckeyes whomped Sparty 80-64 to knock off the top-ranked team in the country. Bates-Diop had a career-high 32 points, but it was Dakich’s half-courter at the halftime buzzer that gave Ohio State a 12-point lead that is etched into my mind forever. Nothing describes that team better than the future NBA player scoring 32 while the former walk-on runs point and hits the most emotional shot of the game.
Ohio State pulled a tough draw in the NCAA Tournament that season by getting Mike Daum and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits first and then an under-seeded four-seed Gonzaga in the second round, but it was still a hell of a run. That team had the guys to make a Sweet Sixteen, but it’s also tough to look at that Gonzaga team that had Rui Hachimura, Zach Norvell, and Josh Perkins and think that Ohio State should have beaten them.
Still a very fun, very memorable team.
I will get ahead of this and start out with this statement. I am fully aware that this season also had probably the most disappointing loss of the Thad Matta era. Maybe the 06-07 national title game but I believe that Florida team was just better.
This Kentucky team was not better and there is an argument to be made that Ohio State probably could have run the table if they just beat this Wildcat team in the Sweet 16. Mainly because the road to a national title after this would have been a two-seeded North Carolina team but then a three-seeded UCONN team and an eight seeded Butler in the national championship game. Could they have made a run? Likely. But we will never know. Would be interesting to see the fans’ reaction to a loss like that in this day and age in social media.
If you want to relive that game for whatever reason, here you go.
However, this is still my personal favorite Buckeye team. I am only 26 so I don’t have any memory of the ‘70s, ‘80s, or ‘90s, and the first real season I remember is Jim O’Brien’s final season. Just to add some context there.
This team, in my humble opinion, was the most talented team Matta ever had. Even the guys that didn’t play like Jordan Sibert and JD Weatherspoon transferred to other schools and became all-conference players at those respective schools. And they didn’t even play on that team.
Also, my favorite Buckeye ever is Jon Diebler, and this was his most impactful season. I was also a big Evan Turner fan, and this was their first season without him but this team was still awesome to watch and follow. They started the season 24-0 and only lost at the Kohl Center to Wisconsin and at Mackey Arena to Purdue.
Unfortunately, it did not end the way anyone wanted it to, but that team will always hold a place in my head as a super fun team. If only Brandon Knight wasn’t nails at the end of the game.
What is your favorite Ohio State men’s basketball team of all-time?
This poll is closed
Some other season
They’ve all been so lovely, I can’t even pick