Found April 01, 2013 on Fox Sports Ohio:
The 2012-13 Ohio State Buckeyes will be remembered as a revitalized team that rallied late in the year, played their best basketball when it counted the most, then picked a really bad time to have a clunker. Coming one game short of the Final Four stings, and it should. Wichita State's trip to the Final Four this weekend has been well earned and is certainly not a fluke. For six weeks, Ohio State made just about everything go its way. A flawed team became an aggressive, pace-dictating team that maximized its talent. For that, Ohio State coach Thad Matta should be commended. The program is in good hands. The 2012-13 season should be considered a success -- and maybe Matta's finest considering how the pieces came together starting in late February. The record books will show Ohio State won the Big Ten tournament after finishing tied for second in what was probably the conference's banner year. The Buckeyes were a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and came one game short of hanging another Final Four banner. It was a season that further established Ohio State as a top-tier, top-10 basketball program nationally. It's come a long way. The 2012-13 team came a long way, too. For much of the season Ohio State wasn't hard to figure; at times, developing a plan to defend the Buckeyes wasn't that hard, either. Long on athletes but short on shooters, Ohio State needed Deshaun Thomas to score, needed its defense to create scoring opportunities and was prone to long stretches of missing jumpshots, often times badly. Aaron Craft led the Buckeyes, per usual, but was in a totally new role offensively and rarely looked totally comfortable with it. The other guys flashed potential. On this level -- and in this year's Big Ten, specifically -- untapped potential was a ticket to nowhere. In a 71-49 loss at Wisconsin in February, the Buckeyes looked like a team headed for disaster. In one game, all their flaws came to their forefront and no rally was made. The blueprint on how to beat Ohio State was very much evident. Then, Matta and Craft decided to change that blueprint. Other guys followed.Guys not named Thomas started making shots. Shannon Scott and LaQuinton Ross grew up fast and grew into key roles. Whatever buttons Matta pushed seemed to be the right ones with the Buckeyes playing fast, Sam Thompson playing above the rim and Craft meeting -- and surpassing -- almost every challenge in front of him. Matta has always liked a two-point guard lineup, and Craft and Scott made it work. After two seasons of building the offense around the unique talents of Jared Sullinger, Ohio State got almost no post offense all season. Amir Williams helped in stretches and Evan Ravenel made limited but well-timed contributions. In big moments, Ohio State went with three guards and two forwards who play like guards and made that work, too. With defense leading the way, the Buckeyes found offense through improved shooting and a small-ball lineup. They had different heroes at different times and weren't fazed by early deficits or hot shooting by opponents until Wichita State put it all together for about 32 minutes last Saturday, and the Buckeyes late rally came up short. Yes, the brackets fell their way in both the Big Ten tournament and in the West region, but there's no such thing as an easy path. There's nothing wrong with being a little lucky -- and Ohio State was that -- but luck always takes a back seat to execution, capitalizing on opportunities and winning the biggest minutes, even when you can't or don't win all 40. For 11 games between that Wisconsin disaster and the West regional final, Ohio State won the big moments and most of the small ones, too. Again, the Wichita State game stings. The Buckeyes struggled at both ends, made uncharacteristic mistakes and couldn't buy a shot. By the time some fell, they'd given up too many easy ones and had to scramble. They ran out of time and energy. Twenty-nine wins is no joke. Six weeks ago, did it look like this team would get 23 or 24? The college basketball season is long. Very long -- especially in the rugged Big Ten. Especially when road games sometimes mean de-icing planes and 5 a.m. arrivals and a player trying to regain confidence or find a groove finds the likes of Michigan State, Michigan and Indiana in the way. All seemed lost on Feb. 17 when Ohio State got steamrolled at Wisconsin. The Buckeyes were flat, too dependent on Thomas and just plain bad when left to make jumpshots or score in any way that wasn't transition. Matta found a cure. Multiple cures, actually. Scott and Ross got confident. Thompson started making shots. Thomas kept producing, Craft started playing on a whole new level and the Buckeyes started both fixing and covering their deficiencies. Over the last five or six weeks, the Buckeyes gained respect and confidence. Many of the key contributors will be back, even with Thomas expected to head to the NBA. A new season always brings new challenges and new issues, but at the end of this season the sophomore class started to play like it was worthy of the hype. Craft might feel 30 at times, but he's 21 and a has another season left. Matta and his staff saw the best and the worst in this year's team, and that should help going forward. Ohio State basketball is in good hands. By any measure except having a game or two left, the 2012-13 was a success.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Ohio State looking strong for 2013-14 season

Five issues and or questions facing Ohio State basketball now that the 2012-13 season is over. 1. Deshaun's Decision The easy choice as the top question of the offseason doesn't have a definite answer. It wouldbe a surprise -- but not a total shock -- if Deshaun Thomas returns to Ohio State for his senior season. The BigTen's leading scorer in 2012-13 might not be a top...

Deshaun Thomas writes letter to the editor of the Lantern: ‘All athletes deserve to be celebrated’

Ohio State basketball star Deshaun Thomas was all class when describing to the editor of The Lantern his wish to have more Buckeyes sports covered.

The Ohio State Buckeyes and Thad Matta Add Commit #3 to the 2013 Class

Thad Matta was doing some dirty dancing Monday!  Buckeye Nation has been looking for good news on the basketball front after the Buckeyes were upset by the Wichita State Shockers on Saturday and it comes today in the form of another commit to the 2013 class.  Saleh Maina from St. Joseph Prep in New York becomes the latest player to commit to Thad Matta and company. Saleh...

OSU Buckeyes: 2013 Student Appreciation Day

Ohio State football is one of the hottest tickets of all of college football — even for the student body. So the annual Student Appreciation Day is a great way to build some excitement during spring and give the student body an up-close view of the action. This year, OSU coach Urban Meyer has put out a video encouraging the students to show up and watch the only program...

Monday Medicine: Ohio State Buckeyes

We're temporarily reviving our in-season Monday morning segment to help the entire state of Ohio walk itself back from the ledge following the Buckeyes staggering loss to Wichita State Saturday night. That elusive national title wasn't in the cards for Thad Matta's boys this year, but look at the bright side Buckeyes fans...your football team hasn't lost a game...

Ways Checks Out Buckeyes

Detroit Country Day (Mich.) junior wide receiver Maurice Ways recaps today's Ohio State visit and what the Buckeyes told him of their interest.

Miller takes shot to ribs during Ohio St practice

Quarterback Braxton Miller took a shot to the ribs for the second time in a week but Ohio State's Heisman Trophy candidate finished practice Tuesday and Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said the junior was fine. The Big Ten's player of the year in 2012 was hit on an option pitch by defensive end Noah Spence even though Miller was wearing a black (for no contact) jersey. Miller...

OSU Offense's Victory Pleases Meyer

Another physical day of spring football practice at Ohio State came down to a contested pass in the end zone. The offense's execution was among things that pleased head coach Urban Meyer, who gave a couple of roster updates after it was over. OSU also unveiled a new offensive formation.

Wichita State Upsets Ohio State to Earn First Final Four Bid Since 1965

Wichita State is headed to the Final Four. And don’t worry, we won’t make you endure another “Shockers” pun. Playing in its first Elite Eight in more than 20 years, Wichita led by as much as 20 Sunday night and withstood a furious Ohio State comeback to defeat the Buckeyes 70-66 and clinch a sport in the national semifinals for the first time since 1965. Aaron Craft &...

OSU turned season around before disappointing end

The sting of getting ousted from the NCAA tournament hadn't gone away, not yet. Moments after Wichita State took advantage of Ohio State's frigid shooting for a 70-66 victory on Saturday in the West regional championship game in Los Angeles, Buckeyes point guard Aaron Craft was still trying to fathom what went wrong after a season in which so much had gone right. '...
Buckeyes News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.