Big Ten: A Thad Nerve-Racking

By - October 29, 2006


One of the few interesting tidbits related to the otherwise-unsurprising USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll released Friday -- the first official Top 25 of the 2006-07 season -- had to do with the distribution of first-place votes.

Florida, which returns all five starters from a team that finished 33-6 and won the school's first-ever national championship, received 30 of the 31 first-place votes cast -- making the Gators a near-unanimous selection.

The lone remaining first-place vote went to Ohio State, which ranked fourth behind No. 2 North Carolina and No. 3 Kansas. When asked whether he knew who cast the single vote, Matta didn’t miss a beat.

“My mom,” deadpanned the third-year coach of the Buckeyes to the laughter of a dozen surrounding reporters. “How you don’t vote Florida No. 1, I don’t know. Maybe somebody knows something that I don’t know [about the Buckeyes] after 18 practices.”

Matta’s team loses four starters -- including Big Ten Player of the Year Terrence Dials -- from a club that finished 26-6 overall and won the program’s first outright conference title since 1992. Last season, the Buckeyes were one of the league's more experienced units. This year, it's the opposite.

“I felt a lot better sitting up here last year than I do this year,” Matta said. “You knew what you were going to get from those guys. When you win on the road, a home opener, back to back games -- you knew because you had seen them go through it. And right now, it’s the unknown.”

So how does Matta feel about the Ohio State youth movement?

“Nerve-racking would be an understatement,” Matta said. “I’ve had one team that I think has been as young as this when I was an assistant at Butler. We had lost all five starters and we had a lot of young guys. To be quite honest, as I reflect on it, we started 0-4 -- but through January and February, we won 12 straight games. It’s kind of been good to look back and think about the mistakes we were making [with that team].”

Posted by at 11:55 AM on October 29, 2006
Comment

Post A Comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


The Sloggers... CSTV.com Links CSTV Basketball Blogs Posts By Site Archives...