Ohio State Buckeyes men's basketball

The Ohio State men's basketball team represents The Ohio State University in NCAA Division I college basketball competition. The Buckeyes are a member of the Big Ten Conference.

The Buckeyes play their home games at Value City Arena in the Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio, which opened in 1998. The official capacity of the center is 19,200. Ohio State ranked 28th in the nation in average home attendance as of the 2016 season.

The Buckeyes have won one national championship (1960), been the National Runner-Up four times, appeared in 10 Final Fours (one additional appearance has been vacated by the NCAA), and appeared in 27 NCAA Tournaments (four other appearances have been vacated).

Thad Matta was named the head coach of Ohio State in 2004 to replace coach Jim O'Brien, who was fired due to NCAA violations which cost Ohio State over 113 wins between 1998 and 2002. On June 5, 2017, after consecutive years of missing the NCAA Tournament, the school announced Matta would not return as head coach after 13 years and 337 wins at Ohio State. On June 9, the school hired Butler head coach Chris Holtmann as head coach.

Team history

Early years and Olsen era (1898–1958)

The first basketball team at Ohio State University was formed in 1898, playing its first game against East High. Sparing success followed the Buckeyes throughout their time as an independent school. In 1912, some 13 years after forming their first basketball team, the Buckeyes joined the Big Nine Conference, which would eventually be known as the Big Ten. At first, the Buckeyes were not able to mount a sustained run, never finishing higher than second in the conference standings[1]. In 1923, Harold Olsen became head coach, launching the longest basketball coaching dynasty for OSU (24 seasons). Olsen began to see success with the Buckeyes' first conference championship during the 1922–1923 season. The Olsen era is also highlighted by appearing in the final game for the first NCAA Championship Tournament in 1939, where the Buckeyes lost to Oregon 33–46. The Buckeyes would make three more Final Four appearances under Olsen, along with winning five Big Ten championships. Following Olsen as head coach, Tippy Dye and Floyd Stahl led the Buckeyes. Not seeing the same amount of success as Olsen did, Dye and Stahl had one NCAA Tournament appearance between them. With the closing of the 1950s, the Ohio State basketball team was not considered a national powerhouse. But it continued to develop and led to the hiring of a man who would change basketball at Ohio State and bring it national fame.

Success and Fred Taylor era (1959–1997)

The Buckeyes’ 1960 national championship team.

Of all Buckeye coaches, it was Fred Taylor who would put Ohio State basketball on the map. With the hiring of Taylor in 1958, not much was expected following an 11–11 record during the 1958–1959 season. However, in 1960, the second-year coach, Taylor, and All-American player Jerry Lucas led the Buckeyes to their first NCAA Championship Title, defeating California 75–55 in the final game. The 1960 season is the only NCAA Tournament championship that the Buckeyes have claimed. Taylor's team continued its dominance by being the runner-up the following two seasons, and making a total of five tournament appearances during Taylor's 18 seasons tenure. With the departure of his championship team, Taylor began to see teams accustomed to Ohio State basketball of the past. Taylor's last season at Ohio State in 1976 had the Buckeyes going 6–20, their worst record, only to be eclipsed by the team in 1995. Taylor achieved seven conference titles and an impressive overall winning percentage of over 65%. Past the Taylor era, Ohio State saw Eldon Miller, Gary Williams, and Randy Ayers take the reins as head coach. Between 1976 and 1997, the Buckeyes made the NCAA bracket only eight times, while being crowned conference champions only twice.

Jim O'Brien (1998–2003)

In 1997, Jim O'Brien was hired to replace head coach Randy Ayers. During his seven years as head coach, O'Brien drove the team to four 20+ win seasons, two Big Ten regular-season co-championships, the 2002 Big Ten Tournament Championship, and a school record four-consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. Controversy erupted when Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger fired O'Brien over alleged NCAA rules violations. A two-year NCAA investigation found that player Boban Savovic might have received improper benefits while he played for Ohio State. On March 10, 2006, the NCAA gave Ohio State three years' probation and ordered it to pay back all tournament money earned from 1999–2002 when Boban Savovic was on the Buckeyes' roster. In addition, Ohio State was forced to remove all references to team accomplishments by the NCAA directorate from those years including a 1999 visit to the Final Four.

Thad Matta era (2004–2017)

Former head coach Thad Matta, whose 337 wins is most in school history.

Thad Matta, former head coach at Butler and Xavier, was hired by Ohio State in July 2004.

During Matta's first season at Ohio State, the Buckeyes compiled a 20–12 record, highlighted by a win in the final game of the season over top-ranked Illinois, which was undefeated up until that game. Ohio State was defeated by Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, and the team was ineligible for further postseason due to self-imposed sanctions related to Jim O'Brien's time at the school. The 2005–06 season opened with the Buckeyes 11–0 heading into Big Ten play. Ohio State ended the season with a 26–6 record and 12–4 record in conference, the Buckeyes' first outright Big Ten championship since the 1991–92 season. Ohio State lost to Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament championship game, but received a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. After a first round win, the Buckeyes lost to No. 7 seed Georgetown 70–52 in the second round.

Matta's 2006–07 Ohio State team entered the season with the second-rated recruiting class in the nation, headed by Greg Oden and Mike Conley, Jr., and ranked No. 4 in the preseason polls. Ohio State entered conference play with an 11–2 record, with the only defeats coming at No. 6 North Carolina and at No. 4 Florida. Ohio State's loss against No. 4 Wisconsin on January 9, 2007 was the last loss of the regular season as the Buckeyes won 14 straight games to end the season with a 27–3 record. Ohio State defeated No. 20 Tennessee and No. 2 Wisconsin during this winning streak and ended the season as the top-ranked team in the nation. Ohio State won the Big Ten Tournament, defeating Wisconsin 66–49 in the championship game, and entered the NCAA Tournament as the overall No. 1 seed. Ohio State advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time under Matta after an overtime victory against Xavier, which Matta had previously coached. A one-point victory over Tennessee and a 92–76 victory over No. 2 Memphis advanced the Buckeyes to the Final Four. Ohio State defeated Georgetown 67–60 in the semifinal game, but lost to Florida 84–75 in the National Championship game. Oden and Conley both would enter the NBA Draft following the season, with Oden being drafted number one overall and Conley going fourth.

Evan "The Villan" Turner set new Big Ten records for number of career and single season Player of the Week awards during the 2009–10 season.

The 2007–08 season was a rebuilding one. Ohio State ended the season with a 19–12 record, finishing fifth in the Big Ten. It lost to Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals and missed out on the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes did receive a No. 1 seed in the National Invitation Tournament, where Ohio State would defeat Massachusetts 92–85 in the championship to take the NIT title.

Ohio State began the 2008–09 season with a 9–0 record and would finish 20–9. Ohio State defeated Wisconsin and No. 7 Michigan State to advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship, where the Buckeyes lost to No. 24 Purdue. They received a bid to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 8 seed, where they lost to No. 9 Siena in the first round.

The 2009–10 season marked Matta's sixth at Ohio State, with the team entering the season ranked No. 17 in the nation. The Buckeyes had compiled a 7–1 record before Evan Turner, who was averaging 20.6 points and 12.9 rebounds per game, was injured. Turner returned later in the season and help finish the season with a 24–7 record and a share of the Big Ten regular season championship. A victory over Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament gave Matta his second Big Ten Tournament title and the Buckeyes a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State advanced to the Sweet Sixteen before losing to No. 6-seeded Tennessee 76–73. Turner was named the National Player of the Year and entered the NBA Draft, where he was selected second overall.

Matta's recruiting class heading into the 2010–11 season was highly regard and the Buckeyes returned some key seniors such as David Lighty and Jon Diebler. Ohio State was ranked No. 4 in the preseason polls and entered Big Ten conference play undefeated at 13–0, defeating No. 9 Florida and moving up to No. 2 in the nation. Ohio State continued to dominate the opposition during the regular season, pushing its record to 24–0 and 11–0 in conference play before losing the first game at No. 13 Wisconsin. Another loss at No. 11 Purdue marked their last loss in the regular season. Ohio State ended the season with a 29–2 record and 16–2 record in the Big Ten, winning the outright Big Ten regular season championship. OSU defeated Penn State for the Big Ten Tournament championship, giving the Buckeyes their second tournament championship in a row and Matta's third tournament championship as head coach. Ohio State entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed for the second time under Matta. However, for the second year in a row, the Buckeyes failed to advance past the Sweet Sixteen, losing to Kentucky 62–60.

The Buckeyes, led by returning starters Jared Sullinger, Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft, entered the 2011–12 season ranked No. 3 in the nation. Ohio State entered Big Ten play with a 12–1 record, losing at No. 13 Kansas without Sullinger, who was injured. Ohio State finished the season winning a share of the Big Ten regular season championship and lost to Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament championship. Ohio State received a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Final Four for the second time under Matta after a 77–70 victory over No. 1-seeded Syracuse. The Buckeye season would end with another loss to Kansas, 64–62. Following the season, Sullinger entered the NBA Draft and was taken 21st overall.

The 2012–13 Buckeyes entered the season ranked No. 4 in the country. Led by Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft, they entered Big Ten play with only two losses, at No. 2 Duke and at home against No. 9 Kansas. They finished the season 13–5 in Big Ten play to finish in a tie for second place, but would beat No. 8 Michigan State and No. 22 Wisconsin to win the Big Ten Tournament. As a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, they advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to Wichita State. Following the season, Thomas declared for the NBA Draft.

With the early departure of Thomas, the Buckeyes struggled in 2013–14, finishing the season 25–10, 10–8 in fifth place in Big Ten play. They advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament before losing to Michigan. As a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, they lost to Dayton in the second round (formerly known as the first round).

The 2015 Buckeyes were led by freshman D'Angelo Russell, but still finished in sixth place in Big Ten play with an 11–7 record. Despite losing to Michigan State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, OSU received a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They upset No. 7-seeded VCU in the second round, before losing to No. 5 Arizona in the third round. Following the season, Russell declared for the NBA Draft and was selected second overall.

Without Russell, the 2016 Buckeyes finished 21–14, 11–7 in Big Ten play to finish in seventh place. They lost in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament to Michigan State and failed to receive an invite to the NCAA Tournament. They did receive a bid to the NIT, where they lost in the second round to Florida.

In 2016–17, OSU finished the season 17–15, 7–11 in Big Ten play to finish in a tie for 10th place. As the No. 11 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, the Buckeyes lost in the first round to Rutgers. They did not receive an invite to a postseason tournament.

In a surprise move more than two months after the season ended, the school announced that, after failing to make the NCAA Tournament in 2016 and 2017, Matta would not return as head coach for the 2017–18 season. Ohio State won 20 or more games in 12 of Matta's 13 seasons, received a berth in the NCAA Tournament eight times, made it to the Sweet Sixteen four times, and to the Final Four twice. Ohio State won the Big Ten regular-season championship five times and Big Ten Tournament championship three times, appearing in the championship game six times under Matta.

Thad Matta's record at Ohio State

Chris Holtmann era (2017–present)

On June 9, 2017, the school hired Butler head coach Chris Holtmann as head coach.


St. John Arena

The Ohio State Buckeyes presently play their home games in 19,200-seat Jerome Schottenstein Center. The first official home court for the Buckeyes was the Ohio Expo Center Coliseum. Constructed in 1918, the Buckeyes called this arena home between the years 1920 to 1955. The facility had a capacity of 7,000 people.

In 1955, a new facility was built on the campus of Ohio State named the St. John Arena named after Lynn St. John, an Ohio State basketball coach and athletic director. This building, while hosting the men's basketball team, also hosted (and still to this day hosts) volleyball, gymnastics, and wrestling. The capacity of St. John Arena is 13,276. This building is the only Buckeye arena to serve as home for an Ohio State men's basketball championship team in 1960.

With the aging St. John Arena over 40 years old, the Ohio State University decided to build the Schottenstein Center to hold men's and women's basketball as well as hockey. The 770,000 sq foot arena was completed in 1998 and seats 19,500 for basketball games.

Ohio State completed a $19 million renovation to the Schottenstein Center in 2013 that includes updated locker rooms for the Men's and Women's Basketball teams, a new training room with hydrotherapy pools, a new weight room, and a new practice gym to complement the existing gym.

During the team's formative years the Buckeyes played their home games at the Armory. Built in 1897 at a cost of $115,000, the massive brick medieval style building was demolished in 1958 after damage caused by a fire. From 1897 to 1917 the Buckeyes used the building known as "Drill Hall" or "The Gymnasium" as their home court, only being asked to leave due to the outbreak of World War I. The teams overall record at the Armory was 178-104. In 1919, without a definite home, the team played some of their games at Indianola Park as well as the Coliseum and the Armory. Finally, in 1920, the team officially moved to the Ohio State Fairgrounds and played in their home games at the Ohio Expo Center Coliseum. During their time at the Coliseum, the Buckeyes played in five national title games.


The Buckeyes have had 14 coaches in their 110-year history. Thad Matta, who was hired in 2004, and led the Buckeyes to five NCAA Tournament appearances and two Final Four appearances during the 2006–07 and 2011–12 seasons. The only Ohio State coach to win a national championship was Fred Taylor in 1960.

CoachYearsOverall record
No team1902
D.C. Huddleson1903–190415–6
Tom Kibler1909–191022–2
Sox Raymond19117–2
Lynn St. John1912–191980–69
George Trautman1920–192210–26
Harold Olsen1923–1946275–205
Tippy Dye1947–195053–34
Floyd Stahl1951–195884–92
Fred Taylor1959–1976297–158
Eldon Miller1977–1986174–120
Gary Williams1987–198959–41
Randy Ayers1990–1997124–108
Jim O'Brien1998–2004133–88
Thad Matta2005–2017337–123
Chris Holtmann2017–Present66–34
Head coaches15

Current coaching staff


NCAA National Championships

SeasonCoachOpponentScoreSiteOverall recordBig Ten Record
1959–60Fred TaylorCalifornia75–55San Francisco, CA25–313–1
National Championships1
1960 NCAA Tournament Results
SemifinalsWestern Kentucky98–79
Regional FinalsGeorgia Tech86–69
Final FourNYU76–54

Final Four history

1999–Semifinalist (vacated)2007–Finalist2012–Semifinalist

NCAA Tournament seeding history

The NCAA began seeding the tournament with the 1979 edition.

  • The * represents overall number one seed which began with the 2004 Tournament.

NCAA Tournament results

NIT results

The Buckeyes are two time NIT champions (1986, 2008).

Big Ten Tournament Championships

Ohio State has won 4 Big Ten Tournament championships since its inception during the 1997–98 season. Ohio State won their first title in 2002 under Jim O'Brien (later vacated), while winning 4 under head coach Thad Matta. Under Matta, the Buckeyes appeared in the Big Ten Tournament championship five consecutive seasons from 2009 to 2013.

SeasonCoachOpponentScoreSiteOverall recordBig Ten record
2006–07Thad MattaWisconsin66–49Chicago, IL35–415–1
2009–10Thad MattaMinnesota90–61Indianapolis, IN29–814–4
2010–11Thad MattaPenn State71–60Indianapolis, IN34–316–2
2012–13Thad MattaWisconsin50–43Chicago, IL26–713–5
Big Ten Tournament Championships4

Big Ten Regular Season Championships

SeasonCoachOverall recordBig Ten record
1924–25Harold Olsen14–211–1
1932–33Harold Olsen17–310–2
1938–39Harold Olsen16–79–2
1943–44Harold Olsen15–610–2
1945–46Harold Olsen16–510–2
1949–50Tippy Dye22–412–1
1959–60Fred Taylor25–313–1
1960–61Fred Taylor27–114–0
1961–62Fred Taylor26–213–1
1962–63Fred Taylor20–411–3
1963–64Fred Taylor16–811–3
1967–68Fred Taylor21–810–4
1970–71Fred Taylor20–613–1
1990–91Randy Ayers27–415–3
1991–92Randy Ayers26–615–3
2005–06Thad Matta26–612–4
2006–07Thad Matta34–415–1
2009–10Thad Matta29–814–4
2010–11Thad Matta34–316–2
2011–12Thad Matta31–813–5
Big Ten Regular Season Championships20


Record vs. Big Ten opponents

The Ohio State Buckeyes lead the all-time series vs. seven Big Ten opponents. Two of the all-time series are within three games. These records DO NOT include vacated games (e.g. Purdue does count all their games played against Ohio State and trail the series 90-91 according to their records. Iowa counts all games played against OSU and tie the series 81-81 according to their records).


Consensus All-American selections

  • Wes Fesler (1931)
  • Jimmy Hull(1939)
  • Dick Schnittker (1950)
  • Robin Freeman (1955)
  • Jerry Lucas (1960, 1961*, 1962*)
  • Gary Bradds (1964*)
  • Jim Jackson (1991, 1992)
  • Evan Turner (2010*)
  • Jared Sullinger (2011, 2012)
  • D'Angelo Russell (2015)
  • Dennis Hopson (1987)

*National Player of the Year

Big Ten Player of the Year

  • Dennis Hopson (1987)
  • Jim Jackson (1991, 1992)
  • Scoonie Penn (1999)
  • Terence Dials (2006)
  • Evan Turner (2010)
  • Keita Bates-Diop (2018)

Big Ten Coach of the Year

  • Eldon Miller (1983)
  • Randy Ayers (1991, 1992)
  • Jim O’Brien (1999, 2001)
  • Thad Matta (2006, 2010)
  • Chris Holtmann (2018)

First-Team All-Big Ten

Harold "Cookie" Cunningham (1925)Johnny Miner (1925)Adam Bales (1926)Bill Hunt (1927)Wes Fesler (1931)
Bill Hosket Sr. (1933)Tippy Dye (1936, 1937)Bob Lynch (1939)Jimmy Hull (1939)
Dick Fisher (1941)Arnold "Smokes" Risen (1944)Don Grate (1944, 1945)Jack Underman (1946)Paul Huston (1946)
Dick Schnittker (1949, 1950)Bob Donham (1950)Paul Ebert (1952, 1953, 1954)Robin Freeman (1955, 1956)Frank Howard (1957, 1958)
Jerry Lucas (1960, 1961, 1962)Larry Siegfried (1961)John Havlicek (1961, 1962)Gary Bradds (1963, 1964)Bill Hosket Jr. (1967, 1968)
Dave Sorenson (1969, 1970)Jim Cleamons (1971)Luke Witte (1971)Allan Hornyak (1971, 1972, 1973)Kelvin Ransey (1978, 1979, 1980)
Herb Williams (1980)Clark Kellogg (1982)Tony Campbell (1983, 1984)Brad Sellers (1986)Dennis Hopson (1987)
Jay Burson (1989)Jim Jackson (1991, 1992)Scoonie Penn (1999, 2000)Michael Redd (2000)Ken Johnson (2001)
Terence Dials (2006)Mike Conley, Jr. (2007)Greg Oden (2007)Evan Turner (2009, 2010)
Jared Sullinger (2011, 2012)Keita Bates-Diop (2018)

All award data taken from

All-time statistical leaders

Career leaders

Points Scored: Dennis Hopson (2,096)
Assists: Aaron Craft (579)
Rebounds: Jerry Lucas (1,411)
Steals: Aaron Craft (208)

Single-season leaders

Points Scored: Dennis Hopson (958, 1987)
Assists: Aaron Craft (241, 2013)
Rebounds: Jerry Lucas (499, 1962)
Steals: Aaron Craft (98, 2012)

Single-game leaders

Points Scored: Gary Bradds (49, 1964)
Rebounds: Frank Howard (32, 1956)
Steals: Troy Taylor (8, 1983)

All statistical data taken from.

Notable players

Evan Turner, Ohio State Buckeyes forward and 2010 National Player of the Year
Jerry Lucas, Ohio State Buckeyes center and 2-time National Player of the Year (1961-62)
Gary BraddsF1961–641964 AP Player of the Year
1964 UPI College Player of the Year
1964 Adolph Rupp Trophy Winner
1962-63 Consensus Second Team All-American
1963-64 Consensus First Team All-American
2x Chicago Tribune Silver Basketball (Big Ten MVP) (1963–64)
ABA Champion (1969)
1963 Pan American Games Men's Basketball Gold Medalist
Wes FeslerG1928–311930-31 Consensus First Team All-American
Robin FreemanG1953-561954-55 Consensus Second Team All-American
1955-56 Consensus First Team All-American
1956 Chicago Tribune Silver Basketball
Jimmy HullF1938–391938-39 Consensus First Team All-American
1939 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player
Jim JacksonG1989–921992 UPI College Player of the Year
2× Big Ten Conference Player of the Year (1991–1992)
2× Consensus First Team All-American (1991–1992)
1991 Pan American Games Men's Basketball Bronze Medalist
Jerry LucasC1959–622× AP Player of the Year (1961–1962)
2× NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (1960–1961)
3× Consensus NCAA All-American First Team (1960–1962)
NCAA Champion (1960)
NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
NBA Champion (1973)
7× NBA All-Star (1964–1969, 1971)
NBA All-Star Game MVP (1965)
3× All-NBA First Team (1965–1966, 1968)
2× All-NBA Second Team (1964, 1967)
NBA Rookie of the Year (1964)
NBA All-Rookie First Team (1964)
Dick SchnittkerF1948–501950 Consensus First Team All-American
2x NBA Champion (1953, 1954)
Evan TurnerF2007–10Consensus First Team All-American (2010)
2010 National Player of the Year (AP, NABC, Naismith, Robertson, Wooden)
Big Ten Conference Player of the Year (2010)
Big Ten Tournament MVP (2010)

Retired numbers

Honored coaches

Two longtime head coaches have been honored with banners which hang alongside the retired numbers:

External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article Ohio State Buckeyes men's basketball, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.