Ohio State finished up with a 23-10 record, including 11-7 during the Big Ten's regular season, which landed them a 10 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Buckeyes will matchup with VCA in Portland on Thursday.
The program has heard its name called on Selection Sunday seven years in a row now, and nine times during Thad Matta's tenure as head coach. This marks the 27th appearance in the tourney for Ohio State in its history.
The Golden Years
The Buckeyes have won one national championship, which came courtesy of a 75-55 victory over Cal-Berkeley in 1960. That team featured future National Player of the Year and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Lucas and fellow Hall member John Havlicek. Ohio State nearly won the title in 1961 and 1962 as well, as Lucas and Havlicek's squad lost in the national title game to Cincinnati in consecutive seasons.
That three-year span still stands as the most successful in program history, as the Buckeyes posted a 78-6 record and won three Big Ten championships. Lucas remains the program's all-time tourney leader in scoring and rebounding.
The Dark Ages
Over the nearly forty years that followed that historic run, Ohio State made just ten appearances in the Big Dance, reaching the Final Four in 1968. Despite the school's success in football, and standout players such as Clark Kellogg, Dennis Hopson, and Jim Jackson, the basketball program in Columbus was largely an afterthought.
In all, the Buckeyes made just ten trips to the NCAA tournament between 1963 and 1998.
Surprise and Shame
A surprise trip to the Final Four in 1999 seemed to signal that Buckeye basketball was changing. That squad, coached by Jim O'Brien and led by Michael Redd and Scoonie Penn, lost to eventual champion UConn, 64-58, in St. Petersburg, Florida.
O'Brien guided the team to the tourney the three following years as well, but was terminated amid allegations of NCAA infractions after the 2003-04 season. Those allegations would lead to three years of probation for Ohio State and the hiring of Matta.
Under Matta, the Buckeyes have enjoyed unprecedented success in the postseason. In his previous eight tournament appearances as head coach at Ohio State, Matta's teams have won 17 games, reaching the Sweet Sixteen or better five times.
The crowning achievement for the Buckeyes under Matta was playing for the national championship in 2007. A team headlined by freshmen Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Jr, and Daequan Cook, which entered the tourney as the overall No. 1 seed, fell to Florida, 84-75, in the Georgia Dome.
All-American Jared Sullinger led the Buckeyes to their most recent Final Four, before dropping a two-point heartbreaker, 64-62, to eventual champion Kansas in the Superdome in New Orleans. The following season, Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas took Ohio State to the Elite Eight, where they fell, 70-66, to a cinderella Wichita State club.
While Ohio State is definitely a football school, the school's recent success on the hardwood under Matta has raised the Buckeyes' stature as a basketball program. While the outlook for a deep run in the NCAA tournament this season is not terribly bright, trips to March Madness have become the expectation in Columbus. For so much of the program's history, that simply was not the case. As a result, it would seem to be just a matter of time before Matta has the Buckeyes competing at the highest level yet again.