Thad Matta might not be in the discussion for Coach of the Year, but he should be. The Ohio State Buckeyes are playing basketball that would make some of the best coaches in history proud. John Wooden used to say, “Success is in the details. Little things are the key to success.” Coach Wooden would love how coach Matta has his team executing offensively and defensively. The Buckeyes may not be the darling of the Big Ten, but they should be considered a contender for a championship.
When it comes to winning games in the month of March, it is very important to do the things that do not get the glory. Taking care of the ball and getting good shots on the offensive end, forcing turnovers and rebounding on the defensive end are the little things that lead to wins. Coach Matta’s team is extremely proficient in each of these things.
On the offensive end, OSU runs its sets with precision, setting great screens, exploiting mismatches and finding the open man. Each player executes his role to perfection. Because of the unselfishness of the entire roster, the Buckeyes get good shots in a vast majority of their possessions. Good shots are easier to make than bad shots. Matta’s team is averaging 13 assists per game and is shooting 45% from the field.
Defensively the Buckeyes play a base man to man defense in the half court with the intent of keeping their opponents on the perimeter. Every player on the team puts constant pressure on the ball, runs shooters off of screens and is very physical. When teams do get off a shot it is contested and hardly ever an easy shot. This is why they average 36 rebounds and seven steals per game.
All these little things add up to one big thing; wins.