View Full Version : OT - #1 Ohio State's unconventional approach to winning

02-07-2011, 09:10 AM
The #1 Ohio State Buckeyes are now 24-0 after pounding Minnesota on the road in Minneapolis yesterday.

Thad Matta has always intrigued me as a basketball coach. He's so unconventional. He's so different from Few (and most other coaches) it's amazing. Some people might think he's nuts. It has to do with how he uses his bench. Well, he basically refuses to use a bench.

Matta doesn't really have player rotations. He goes with 6-7 guys, with only one bench guy (usually a PG) seeing significant minutes. The key element to his philosophy is that Matta uses his best players, regardless of position, period. Everyone else sits. And he doesn't care if you're a freshman or a senior. His teams are notoriously known for having guys on the floor who play out of position. He doesn't care. He feels that his 5 best players, and the overall totality of their talent, will beat whatever else you put out there.

Granted, he recruits to make sure he has a center, a good wing, etc., but inevitably he has to get creative. David Lighty, for instance, isn't a true PG, but he somehow gets the job done. Matta has a terrific backup PG in Aaron Craft that he can use to move Lighty to off guard. Craft is really the only bench guy who sees any major minutes on this year's OSU team.

There are three ways Matta is able to get away with his unique coaching philosophy:

1) His players are in phenomenal physical condition.

2) Ohio State fouls less than any D-1 team in the nation by a wide margin, but also holds opponents to 41% shooting from the field. Their team averages 7.5 steals per game. In other words, he doesn't need depth because no one ever gets in serious foul trouble.

3) Matta may only play 6 men, but nearly every dang guy who sees the floor is a McDonald's All American. However, every guy he has is a gamer. Unlike North Carolina, who recruits 12 Burger Boys and then watches a lot of them transfer, Matta is highly selective and gets just what he needs. There's no point in OSU loading up on Burger Boys when Matta plays so few players. He wants bench guys who won't complain about PT and who won't become cancerous to the team.

A few other items of note: Ohio State averages 17 team assists per game. Part of the credit goes to center Jared Sullinger, who passes out of double teams as good as any big man at the college level. His offensive game is like JP Batista, but he has better athleticism. The kid averages a double double as a freshman. I love his game. Having a big man like Sully in the current college game is huge because so few teams have legitimate, back to the basket centers. OSU has the best one by a wide margin.

Lastly, the Buckeyes can beat you in every way imaginable. Florida decided to play a high possession game, so OSU put 93 on them. Florida State tried to slow it down, so OSU won the game 58-44. Both wins were road games in hostile arenas.

You can check them out this Saturday (2/12) at Wisconsin. Game time is 11am PT on ESPN. Wisconsin is one of the most difficult places to play at in the nation. They will really push OSU. I suppose the Buckeyes have to lose at some point.

The Buckeyes are such an interesting team to watch. They are also the team who I feel will be cutting the nets down in Houston. Even if Duke's Kyrie Irving comes back in March.

02-07-2011, 11:45 AM
Ohio State is my team to win it all - unless the GU Bulldogs suck it up pretty quickly, which unfortunately I am not expecting to happen.

Recruiting is so important. If GU had Sullinger I honestly believe they would have -0- losses, with or without a premier point guard. He is a franchise player if there is such a thing at the level of NCAA BB.

My fear is that with GU circling the drain this season, future recruiting will suffer greatly. Getting big NBA prospect kids to Spokane will always be a challenge, but without GU in the national spotlight, I think it is an impossible challenge.

I really, really, really hope I am wrong, but I have a dark feeling about the next few years of GU BB.

Go Bulldogs! Win in Vegas!

Section 116
02-07-2011, 12:20 PM
I doubt this will hurt Matta's program. I understand it's construction is not that far off. Apparently they want the money in hand before construction begins and donors are being pursued heavily. The Ohio State University, as they like to be called, has a massive athletic budget. And this facility is just for practice as they play their games at the 1996 built Value City Arena. Practice facility info: