The win over the Boilermakers improved Ohio State to 3-4 in games decided by two or fewer possessions. Matta said that the reason for the losses is that the team has been trying to come back in nearly all of those games, but the coach does think his team is well-suited to win in crunch time.
A win over the Nittany Lions (15-14, 3-13) would be No. 297 for Matta at Ohio State. That would tie him with legendary Ohio State coach Fred Taylor for the most in program history. Matta, however, hasn’t had time to think about such big-picture landmarks during the season.
The next step for the Buckeyes is getting a win over Penn State. While Ohio State topped the Nittany Lions by 20 points in early February, Penn State has been in most games this season, especially at home. The Nittany Lions lost by just three points at Indiana, forced overtime at home against Purdue and fell by single digits to Maryland and Wisconsin, the top two teams in the league, at home.
Some other interesting notes from Tuesday’s interviews that weren’t caught on camera:
- On being part of the team that gets Matta the coaching wins record, Sam Thompson said that tomorrow doesn’t matter. “No one wants to tie, no one cares about a tie,” the senior said.
- Kam Williams said that he is the fastest player on the team and that has helped him improve his defense as the year has gone on. Thompson took issue with that.
“I know for a fact that if somebody gets a steal at the top and there’s a dunk to be had on the other end, there’s nobody in the country that’s faster baseline to baseline than me,” Thompson said. “So no, Kam’s not faster than me.”
- Thompson was asked if he will participate in the collegiate dunk contest this year. The senior said that the only way he is going to the Final Four (when the contest is held) is if he is playing. He won’t be going for an exhibition. After a long pause he added: “There is no question that I’d win anyway so there’s no reason to do it.”