Matta breaks down loss

Thad Matta had plenty of reasons why the Buckeyes lost on Saturday. Read on to see who he gave credit to and more.

Ohio State coach Thad Matta knew his team was in for a tough task on Saturday and for the most part, it was just as he expected.

“You know, I think this is probably, without a doubt, maybe his best team,” Matta said. “You know, we were talking about it the other day, probably 15 years ago to the day, I think I was a 10 seed and Arizona was a 2 seed with Gardner, Arenas, Jefferson, Wright and Woods with like nine All-Americans on the bench. That was a heck of a basketball team, too.

“I think Sean is doing a tremendous job when you watch him and you really zone in, preparation. You watch him during the year, I'm watching late-night TV, but when you start studying him, I mean, Sean is doing a heck of a job putting those guys in position to be successful.

“Quite honestly, we had to sort of pick our poison in terms of what we wanted to do today defensively because they can hurt you in so many different ways.”

Arizona’s size advantage posed a major problem for the Buckeyes, especially with D’Angelo Russell.

“You know, they had great length out there,” Matta said. “Obviously they were committing two guys to him off the ball screen and did a really nice job. You know, with that length, it was a little bit difficult to see around, but I thought he had some great looks at the basket.

“Unfortunately it was kind of one of those days for him in terms of the shots not going down. But as I told him, hey, he's got to keep shooting. We were hoping, as he's done so many times this year, he's kind of caught fire and put us on his back. It was unfortunately one of those games. The size may have had a little to do with it.”

Gabe York’s success did not come as a surprise to Matta, but he also believes a big chunk of that had to do with T.J. McConnell.

“Obviously he was in there to do one thing and one thing only,” Matta said of York. “In the first half they had a couple decent looks that didn't go down for them.

“Once he got going, and we made a couple of big-time mistakes in terms of our rotations, you know, that was kind of the difference in the game. They got into double-digits there.

“We were telling our guys, hey, they got one guy out there that's looking to shoot the basketball. The MVP for Arizona was McConnell. That kid was unbelievable both offensively and defensively today. Just did a great, great job. I kind of like coaching because he's out there having the time of his life.”


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