In 2004, Thad Matta took over an Ohio State program that was 14-16 the previous season and was serving a 1-year postseason ban. He hit the ground running in his 1st season, finishing 20-12 and upsetting undefeated Illinois on the final day of the regular season. It was the first of 12 straight 20-win seasons for the Buckeyes under Matta. He won 74 percent of his games in Columbus, which was the highest by any Big Ten coach with a minimum of 10 seasons spent in the conference.
Best Win Pct by Head Coach in Big Ten History
Thad Matta Ohio State .740
Bo Ryan Wisconsin .737
Bob Knight Indiana .734
Tom Izzo Michigan State .712
*Min. 10 seasons
It didn’t take long for Matta to thrive in Columbus. He won the Big Ten regular season title outright in his 2nd season and followed that up with a sweep of the regular season and tournament crowns in 2006-07. That season, behind Greg Oden and Mike Conley, the Buckeyes made the national title game for the 1st time since 1961-62. Matta won 5 Big Ten regular season titles and 4 Big Ten tournament titles, which are the most by any school since he took over in 2005.
Most Big Ten Titles Since 2005
Ohio State 5
Michigan State 3
Most Big Ten Tournament Titles Since 2005
Ohio State 4
Michigan State 3
Highest Win Pct by Big Ten Teams Since 2005
Ohio State .733
Michigan State .722
Matta made the Final Four in 2012 as well, which was also the last time his Buckeyes won the conference. He is the 10th Big Ten coach and the 4th in the last 50 years to make multiple Final Four appearances, joining Tom Izzo, Bob Knight and Bo Ryan. Things haven’t gone as well for Matta following that season. They dropped in the Big Ten standings each season and failed to make the NCAA Tournament in the last 2 seasons, something that hadn’t happened at Ohio State since a 3-year stretch from 2003-05.
Most Final Fours by Big Ten Head Coach in Last 50 Years
Tom Izzo Michigan State 7
Bob Knight Indiana 5
Thad Matta Ohio State 2
Bo Ryan Wisconsin 2
Ohio State in B1G Standings Since Last Big Ten Title
You could see the drop off in productivity when it came to having All-Big Ten players as well. Matta had 2 players win Big Ten Player of the Year in his tenure: Terence Dials in 2006 and Evan Turner in 2010. Ohio State had at least 1 player make 1st-team All-Big Ten every season from 2006 to 2013 and 10 total in that span. In the last 4 seasons, D’Angelo Russell was the only Buckeye player to make 1st-team All-Big Ten. In fact, the Buckeyes haven’t had a single player make 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-team All-Big Ten in each of the last 2 seasons, joining Rutgers as the only other Big Ten to make that claim. When you look at it that way, it would make sense that 2 of Matta’s 3 lowest win totals have come in the last 2 seasons.
Fewest Wins in a Season by Ohio State Under Thad Matta
Overall, Matta was very successful in Columbus and whoever Gene Smith hires will have big shoes to fill. He won 337 games, which is the most by any Ohio State coach. His teams won at least 20 games in 12 consecutive seasons (also an Ohio State record). He took the Buckeyes to the Sweet 16 five times, saw 10 NBA players get drafted and won 216 home games, the most of any school since 2005. Smith said that Matta will be paid the remainder of his contract, which lasts for 3 more years at approximately $9M total. He will also stay with the program in some capacity until his replacement is hired.
Thad Matta Ohio State Notes
-337-123 in 13 seasons
-All-time leader in wins (337) and games coached (460)
-.740 win pct (best by B1G coach, minimum 10 seasons)
-2 Final Four appearances (2007, 2012)
-5 B1G regular season and 4 B1G tournament titles