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Ohio State coaching candidates to replace Thad Matta, grouped by plausibility

Ohio State coaching candidates to replace Thad Matta, grouped by plausibility

The Ohio State Buckeyes parted ways with long-time head basketball coach Thad Matta this afternoon in a surprise move. Ohio State isn't anywhere near the top of the Big Ten as Matta exits.

Matta underwent emergency back surgery during the summer of 2007 and wears a supportive brace on his lower right leg because of nerve damage.

Matta's Musketeers won 26 games in each of his three seasons and advanced in the NCAA tournament all three years he was in Cincinnati.

At 49 years old, with a 439-154 overall record between Ohio State, Xavier and Butler, Matta is among the 50 winningest active coaches in college basketball, while having coached the fewest seasons of those 50 coaches.

A current National Basketball Association head coach? "I couldn't take my shoes off after a game, I couldn't take my trousers off after a game". "We started talking about that on Friday (and) the flow of the conversation took me to the reality".

"My whole focus right now is trying to get health, that's all I am concerned about", Matta said.

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Although the Buckeyes missed the NCAA tournament the past two seasons, director of athletics Gene Smith announced just before the end of the season Matta would return for 2017-18.

Because of the condition of his back, Matta wasn't able to ascend those steps, and you had to come to him for media opportunities.

With a national search now underway, here are three names that could be of interest to the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes finished 17-15 overall and 7-11 in the league, ending the season with a Big Ten Tournament loss to Rutgers. Xavier has won at least 21 games in seven of those seasons and 23 or more in six campaigns. That might be enough to keep it from happening, to say nothing of the fact that Ohio State and IN are Big Ten rivals, but Crean is probably the best coach now out of work.

The obvious names for Ohio State include Chris Mack, Chris Holtmann & Mick Cronin. And that to me is something that I want to hold or hang my hat on.

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