I’m far from the only person who thinks that Thad Matta should extend his bench. In fact, it’s a point that’s been discussed ad nauseaum by every analyst during the last two tourney runs and this season as well. However, the reason why I think Thad should play more Buckeyes might differ a little bit from popular opinion.
Last season, the Buckeyes were picked by many to win the NCAA Tournament. Regardless of whether or not people picked the Bucks, the common denominator was the sole identified weakness: depth. It’s not rocket science. With a lack of depth comes fatigue and the risk of foul trouble stinging that much more. Only while that was a constant risk for OSU, that was far from their downfall.
Does anyone honestly believe that depth played any significant role in the Buckeyes’ tournament loss last season to Kentucky? The Buckeyes ran into a young, talented Wildcat team that played one of their best games of the season. They matched up well with Ohio State (Josh Harrellson attacked Sullinger on the offensive end among other things), and as we’ve learned, the NCAA tournament is less about the best team winning and more about matchups, momentum, and a little bit of luck. Ohio State got a 2-for-16 shooting performance from William Buford and still had a shot in the air to win the game. In that game, Dallas Lauderdale logged five minutes and Deshaun Thomas played just three minutes. The rest was the unit of Craft, Diebler, Lighty, Buford, and Sullinger.