The Ohio State Buckeyes are no stranger to the NCAA Tournament. They have 27 tournament appearances total and have 22 since 1960 (They have 31 but all four of Jim O’Brien’s appearances were vacated by the NCAA). They also have eleven Final Four appearances (with one being vacated as well) which is fifth all time of all active teams. Even though they have many Final Four appearances, they only have one National Championship from 1960 and have only been to five total (1-4). They are 55-30 overall in the NCAA Tournament. Let’s look at some of those highlights.
This was their first tournament appearance and they made it to the National Championship where they lost to Oregon 46-33.
This was the start of an amazing three year run for the Buckeyes when they went to three straight National Championships. The first of which was their first and only National Championship victory as they defeated California 75-55 in what was a magical run by Ohio State led by the legendary Jerry Lucas.
In 1961, Ohio State made it back to the National Championship but they were defeated by Cincinnati 70-65 in a very back and forth match up.
In 1962, the Buckeyes again made the National Championship but again lost to Cincinnati 71-59. This was by far the best three year stretch in Ohio State Basketball history and it was lead by Guard Jerry Lucas and legendary head coach Fred Taylor.
After some years of not making the tournament, the Buckeyes got back in after the 1968 season and made another Final Four run, only to be stopped by North Carolina. They went on to defeat Houston in the third place game capping off a great season.
The Buckeyes had five tournament appearances in the 1980’s but only made two Sweet 16’s and lost to UCLA in 1980 and North Carolina in 1983. They could not quite got over the hump and make it back to the Elite Eight or Final Four.
They had four more appearances in the 1990’s with an Elite Eight appearance in 1992 and Final Four in 1999. This Final Four ended up being vacated along with all wins and tournament appearances from 1999-2002 after Jim O’Brien was found to have committed numerous NCAA violations and given out improper benefits. This is why Ohio State technically has 31 tournament appearances and eleven Final Four’s but only 27 and ten are recognized.
Thad Matta Tenure
After O’Brien was fired in 2004, Thad Matta was brought on to right the ship. He wasted no time in making his presence known as they made the tournament in 2006 and with the talent of Greg Oden and Mike Conley, they made the National Championship in 2007, but fell short to an extremely talented Florida team 84-75.
They then went on to have a very successful next eight seasons from 2008-2015 which included seven tournament appearances, two sweet 16, one Elite Eight and one Final Four. These years also included some Buckeye greats in Jared Sullinger, Evan Turner, Aaron Craft, D’Angelo Russell, David Lighty and Jon Diebler.
It has been a rough last two seasons for the Buckeyes as they missed the tournament both times and even missed the NIT last season. Thad Matta resigned in June and Chris Holtmann took over in what many thought would be a rebuilding year. Holtmann and the team had other ideas and they will play in the NCAA Tournament as a five seed.
Expect Ohio State to be a tournament resident over the next 5-10 years with Chris Holtmann at the helm.