Six for Saturday: Ranking Thad Matta's Best Buckeye Teams
No. 4 -- 2011-2012 | 31-8 (13-5) | t1st in B1G
Just look at the scoring options on this team. Jared Sullinger (17.5 ppg), Deshaun Thomas (15.9 ppg), William Buford (14.5 ppg), and with an Aaron Craft to lead them. Lenzelle Smith (6.8 ppg) was a surprise starter, but more than held his own throughout the season.
This was Thad Matta's last Final Four team. They lost to Kansas 64-62 that year, after leading 34-25 at the half. The Buckeyes had a dominant scorer on each level and defenses couldn't afford to put too much focus on any one player for fear of the others going off. Since then, the Buckeyes who have been able to score consistently has dwindled greatly. The only players since Buford to score as much as he did in 2011-2012 (which was third on the team!) have been Deshaun Thomas in 2012-2013, LaQuinton Ross in 2013-2014, and D'Angelo Russell in 2014-2015.
So how would the 2016-2017 team have fared against the 2011-2012 edition? Firstly, Trevor Thompson would be whistled for two fouls on the 2012 team's first possession because of Jared Sullinger. The lack of defense overall would have Buford, Sullinger, and Thomas scoring big. Craft and Lenzelle Smith would suffocate the backcourt with their defense. I see it as an 80-60 type of game.