After finishing with a 17-15 overall record and a 7-11 mark in a Big Ten conference that sent seven teams to the NCAA Tournament, Ohio State failed to make the National Invitation Tournament. It has been 12 campaigns since the Buckeyes last missed out on a postseason bid, and this is the first season in coach Thad Matta’s tenure at Columbus that the Buckeyes will not play beyond the conference tournament.
When Matta hopped on radio station 97.1 The Fan in Columbus on Monday, he showcased his disappointment in his players losing out on a chance to gain additional experience heading into next season. Considering juniors Jae’Sean Tate and Trevor Thompson, along with sophomore JaQuan Lyle, are all expected to return for the 2017-18 campaign, his reasoning was obviously justified.
“With this team, we would’ve gone [to the NIT],” Matta said. “We had a discussion about if we wanted to. When the game ended the other night, I didn’t want to play again. But when I thought about it again, I said let’s do it … A game or two, or three would’ve been good for this team.”
Looking ahead, Matta says he’s expecting a healthy Tate this offseason which will help him make a greater impact on next season’s team. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound forward missed the majority of last offseason because of surgery on a torn labrum in his right shoulder.