The Buckeyes' basketball program doesn't seem to be in a good place.
Ohio State's basketball program hit a new low this weekend.
JaQuan Lyle, perhaps the lone bright spot on an OSU team that's had a bunch of players disappoint and/or leave, was arrested in Indiana after allegedly punching a police car. Hours after the guard's arrest, Ohio State announced that Lyle had actually quit the team about a month ago.
- How did that not come out until now?
- It's not good.
Thad Matta's team has been trending downward for a couple of seasons now. The 2016-17 season ended with no postseason appearance. The 2015-16 season ended with a loss in the NIT. The previous two seasons ended with defeats in the NCAA Tournament's first weekend.
Ohio State has been one of college basketball's best programs since Matta arrived in 2004. But the Buckeyes aren't in the elite class of Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, etc. There are going to be some down times. What's concerning about these down times, though, is that they seem to be getting worse with no signs of it getting better anytime soon.
Darius Bazley, the top recruit in the state of Ohio for 2018, decommitted from the Buckeyes at the end of April because things were looking so rough.
“Ohio State, they didn’t make the NCAA Tournament this year,” Bazley told The Dispatch. “They didn’t even make the NIT, which is unfortunate, but I looked into the recruits they have coming into next year, they didn’t look too good for the future. So I felt like when my class came in, yeah, we would’ve been OK, but good enough to make the tournament? I don’t know. I just felt as if I was to de-commit, actually take my time, figure everything out it would just be a lot better.”
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith issued a public statement in support of Matta toward the end of the 2016-17 season. Is there still a ton of support behind the Buckeyes' head coach, though?
If OSU has another bad season in 2017-18 - and based on the players they're bring back, it looks like they will - this once-elite program could be hitting the reset button.