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Ohio State AD: Matta to return as men's basketball coach

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith issued a statement Wednesday in support of men's basketball coach Thad Matta.

Smith's support comes as the 11th-seeded Buckeyes prepare for Wednesday's Big Ten tournament game with last-place Rutgers.

“Recently, Thad and I had a great discussion regarding the future of our Men’s Basketball Program,” Smith said. “Thad’s record at Ohio State is an outstanding 337-122; a winning percentage of .734. He is the all-time wins leader and owns the record for most games coached at Ohio State. His teams have won five Big Ten titles, and made nine NCAA postseason appearances. What Thad’s teams at Ohio State have accomplished – both on and off the court – is highly commendable.

“While we are not currently where we aspire to be with our performance on the court, Thad understands better than anyone that component has to improve. I am confident in his leadership to return the program to the winning ways that we have all enjoyed during his 13 year tenure.

“We have had tremendous success with Thad as our basketball coach. His commitment to developing young men in a holistic way and running our program with the highest of integrity continue to be hallmarks of his leadership.”

Matta took over for Jim O'Brien in 2004 with the program in trouble with the NCAA. His Buckeyes, ineligible for the NCAA Tournament in 2005, won two-straight Big Ten regular season titles in 2006 and 2007 and lost to Florida in the 2007 national championship game. He has taken Ohio State to the NCAA Tournament nine times, including Final Four appearances in 2007 and 2012 and made three other trips to the Sweet 16.

Ohio State, which currently sits 17-14, will need to win three postseason games to avoid the first season under Matta with less than 20 wins. The only other time a Matta-coached Buckeye team won less than 20 regular season games was 2007-08. The Buckeyes won the NIT that season. Unless the Buckeyes win the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, this team will set a season-high for losses in the Matta era with 15.

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