How Ohio State turned it around

A total mess just weeks ago, the Buckeyes are a title threat. What happened?

Updated: March 21, 2013, 12:58 PM ET
By John Gasaway | ESPN Insider
Deshaun ThomasGreg Bartram/USA TODAY SportsDeshaun Thomas is averaging 35.3 minutes a game this season. Will he hold up in the tourney?

On Feb. 17, one month to the day before Selection Sunday, Ohio State lost to Wisconsin 71-49 in Madison. "We've seen the results if we're not going to play defensively," Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta said after the game. "We're not a good basketball team. If we're going to rely on trying to outscore people, that's not going to happen."

In the aftermath of that game, Ohio State was being projected as a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament, but apparently Matta's players took his words to heart. Since that day in Madison, OSU has reeled off eight straight wins. Today Matta's team is on the 2-line in the West Region, and the Buckeyes are a trendy pick to make it to the Final Four.

In other words, Ohio State has had one very good month. In my mind that raises two questions as the Buckeyes prepare to open the NCAA tournament against Iona in Dayton.

What happened, and can Matta's team keep it going?