Originally posted on Bloguin Best  |  Last updated 7/25/12

Urban Meyer will take the podium at Big Ten Media Day as the biggest celebrity currently at Ohio State. He will have yet to win a game, but Meyer’s decorated resume of coaching awards and bowl victories will have the Buckeye faithful thinking championships. However, working in the corridors of Value City Arena is a man who, in seven seasons, has led Ohio State to five Big Ten regular season championships, six NCAA Tournament berths, two Final Fours and produced seven first-round draft picks. Even though the pigskin will always be king in Columbus, Thad Matta has built a program that reloads every season, something that will not change this year, even without Jared Sullinger.

So Long, Sully

When Matta did have Sullinger and senior William Buford though, the Buckeyes took advantage, posting a 31-8 (13-5) record and Final Four appearance. A one-loss nonconference slate with quality home wins against Florida and Duke set the tone for a year in which Ohio State took care of business and beat the teams it was supposed to beat. With the exception of a five-point loss at Illinois (courtesy of Brandon Paul), the rest of Ohio State’s four conference losses came against top Big Ten competition (Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State). And in the Big Dance, then-sophomore Deshaun Thomas hit his stride, averaging 19.2 points in the Buckeye’s five NCAA Tournament contests. But against Kansas in the Final Four, the Buckeyes could not compensate for Thomas’ 1-of-7 shooting performance, as Ohio State came up three points short of advancing to the championship game.

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