This season, the Ohio State Buckeyes men's basketball program has been something to watch. They finished the regular season 29-2, the best record at the school since Fred Taylor's 1960 squad went 27-1 on the way to winning the NCAA championship. They boast Big Ten Freshman of the Year and national Player of the Year candidate Jared Sullinger, whose 17 points and 10 rebounds a game are certain to make him a top-five pick in the NBA draft this summer, should he declare.
To top it all off, Ohio State has done this despite losing last year's Player of the Year, point forward Evan Turner.
As a matter of fact, this year's squad is even better than the 2009-2010 version. Not only do the Buckeyes have Sullinger, but guards David Lighty, Jon Diebler and William Buford have raised the level of their games, forming one of the most dangerous backcourts in the country. And freshman point guard Aaron Craft, named the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, has been a pleasant surprise as well.
All of this is due in large part to the efforts of head coach, Thad Matta, who has made a habit encouraging his players to push their limits on a daily basis. Matta is currently one of the four finalists for Naismith Head Coach of the Year.
However, in the eyes of the Big Ten, he just wasn't good enough. The conference would select Matt Painter, head coach of Purdue, for that honor.
This has to be one of the bigger snubs of the Big Ten this year. For while what Painter did with Purdue was impressive, it doesn't quite stack up to Matta's accomplishment.
Matta not only lost the Player of the Year, but also had to try to insert three freshmen into a veteran lineup and not disrupt team chemistry. He has done that.
Matta's team has been under the microscope all season, yet only lost twice, and only one of those losses was by double digits (with both losses coming on the road). They would finish the season by winning seven straight, including another Big Ten regular-season and tournament championship.
Thad Matta's squad has proved that it is one of the top teams in college basketball this season. It is time the Big Ten recognize that and give credit where credit is due.