Ohio State Basketball: Three Of The Most Overachieving Seasons

Ohio State Basketball: Three Of The Most Overachieving Seasons

BuckeyeWire

Ohio State Basketball: Three Of The Most Overachieving Seasons


This year’s Ohio State basketball team was supposed to be a speed bump for other teams looking for a title. Instead, it might be the surprise of the entire college basketball universe. It got us thinking about other seasons that came off the radar to provide thrills. 


Contact/Follow @PhilHarrisonBW

Ohio State Basketball: Three Of The Most Overachieving Seasons

If you’ve been a life-long Buckeye fan, or have at least married into it, or had it beat over your head from living in the epicenter of the shockwaves (I’m looking at you transplants), then you’ve likely been around for some momentous occasions already.

Admittedly, a lot of those come by way of a pigskin getting thrown around on television yearly, but Ohio State hasn’t exactly been a laughingstock in college basketball circles either.

In fact, little known to most, Ohio State has more Final Four appearances than Indiana or Michigan State. It has more than any team in the Big Ten, and sits right in the middle of the blue bloods of the sport with the sixth most Final Fours of any program in history with ten total — right behind Kansas.

And little known as well is that OSU is tied for the most Big Ten titles with Purdue (24) if you combine regular season and tournament championships. If you want to count the vacated season of 2002, then OSU would be on the top all by itself.

I only say that to make you realize that despite the Buckeyes being known as a football school, it could be argued that OSU is a top ten historical basketball program and has had its fair share of memorable moments.

Sure there have been some deep valleys, but boy is the view gorgeous from the top in other years.

All that being said, hardly ever does a season come out of nowhere to really make you scratch your head and ponder how things reached the stratosphere they did. Obviously, the 2017-18 season fits that bill, so we thought it would be fun to look at three other seasons you could throw against the wall of astonished surprise.

2017-2018

Profile: 24-7 overall, 15-3 in the Big Ten (2nd place).
Postseason: No. 2 Seed in the Big Ten Tournament

Okay, we’ve already gone there and are still in the throes of this special season. It has been well-chronicled, but this year’s team was supposed to be simply a bridge to bigger and better things.

Heck, even new head coach Chris Hotlmann tempered things a bit when speaking to the media about the expectations for this season.

There was a little adversity early on as the team figured out exactly who it was and what it took to play together. But just as suddenly as you can say Jae’Sean Tate to the left hand, as the Big Ten season began and continued on, it was clear that this team was more than it was made out to be.

The Buckeyes hovered at or near first place in the league all season long, and finished in a tie for second place with Purdue, just one game behind regular season champ Michigan State.

The rest of the season is still being written but qualifies as one of the most overachieving years ever, no matter what road the rest of the post-season goes down.

2006-2007

Profile: 35-4 overall, 15-1 in the Big Ten (1st place).
Post-season: Won the Big Ten Tournament. Made the Final Four where it lost to the Florida Gators in the national championship game 84-75.

This was the third season of new head coach Thad Matta’s tenure and he pulled in a whale of a recruiting class that included Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Jr., Daequon Cook and David Lighty. Add in junior college transfer Othello Hunter, and the group would be known as the Thad Five.

It was widely regarded as the top class in the country that year, but nobody had any idea that the collection of youngsters and experience on the roster would gel so quickly.

Conley improved significantly throughout the course of the year running the point, Greg Oden dominated in the post once he was healthy, and Lighty provided a grit to the team that was missing prior.

The experienced players such as Jamar Butler, Ivan Harris and Ron Lewis embraced the young kids and the team got on a roll all the way to Big Ten regular season and tournament championships.

OSU got a scare from both Xavier and Tennessee as the No. 1 seed in the South region of the NCAA tournament, but managed to make it all the way to the national championship game where it lost to Florida.

Quite an achievement for a team whose parts had to be put together so quickly.

1998-1999 (vacated season)

Profile: 27-9 overall, 12-4 in the Big Ten (2nd place).
Post-season: Lost to Illinois in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament as the No. 2 seed. Made the Final Four where it lost to No. 1 seed Connecticut in the national semi-final.

Yeah, I am going to go to a season that was technically wiped off the books, because at the time, this team went way beyond what anyone thought it would.

This was Jim O’Brien’s second season at the helm, and he convinced his star player Scoonie Penn to come with him to Columbus from Boston College. Penn had to sit out the first year, but hit the Big Ten by storm in 1998, and rather unexpectedly shared the Big Ten Player of the Year award with Michigan State’s Mateen Cleaves.

Ohio State had great guard play with Penn and Michael Redd, but also took advantage of a developing talent in the blocks, 7-0 center Ken Johnson.

The team was no match for a Michigan State team that would also make the Final Four, but once it got out of the league and into the NCAA tournament, it upset top seed in the South, Auburn, and then went on to be St. Johns in the regional final to make it to the Final Four in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Ohio State may have been bounced by eventual national champion Connecticut, but it was — and still is — a season of memories that even blotted out records can’t take away.

 

Contact/Follow @BuckeyeWire for continuing coverage of Ohio State football and basketball.

Latest

More BuckeyeWire
Home
%d bloggers like this: