It seems as though the 2016-17 season for the Ohio State men's basketball team has reached its end.
The NCAA Tournament bracket was announced Sunday evening and did not feature OSU for a second-consecutive season. A couple hours after the 68-team field for the Big Dance was announced, the 32 squads that will be participating in the National Invitation Tournament were unveiled.
The Buckeyes were not mentioned in that bracket either. In fact, they were not given an invitation, NIT chairman Reggie Minton said on ESPNU after the field was released.
“I think we have two (teams) that jump out at you (as being on the cusp for qualifying). Probably Ohio State and UNC-Asheville," Minton said. "And both of those teams were tough decisions for us. They were worthy, but when we matched them up against the other resumes from the other teams, we just felt that they came a bit short.”
Minton added that no teams declined invitations this year.
OSU head coach Thad Matta and his club currently own a 17-15 overall record and a 7-11 mark in the Big Ten. The squad lost to Rutgers in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament on Wednesday.
If this is the end of the Buckeyes’ season, it will be the first time in Matta’s 13-year career as the OSU mentor that an eligible team will not participate in a postseason event, excluding the conference tournament. The Scarlet and Gray were ineligible for postseason play in Matta’s first season in 2004-05 due to the program being charged with committing several violations in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The last time an eligible Buckeye squad did not qualify for postseason play was in 2003-04 when the club finished with a 15-17 overall record in Jim O’Brien’s last season as the head coach.
As for the 2016-17 Buckeyes, finishing with 17 wins will also signal the first time in Matta’s 17-year career as a college basketball head coach that he did not lead his team to at least 20 victories.
If you enjoyed this story, you will love Buckeye Sports Bulletin, the newspaper “For The Buckeye Fan Who Needs To Know More” since 1981. For four free trial issues of Buckeye Sports Bulletin with no obligation, click here.