How does Thad Matta's first season back at Butler compare to his first season at Ohio State?
Thad Matta is back in college basketball.
The winningest coach in Ohio State men's basketball history returned to the sport for the 2022-23 season after five seasons of retirement, resigning from his post after a 17-15 campaign in 2016-17, where the Buckeyes missed the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season.
Now, in 2022-23, Matta is courtside with Butler, the first program he was a head coach for in 2000-01. For Matta, it has been a bit of a slow start.
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Here's how his first season back with the Bulldogs compares to his first season at Ohio State in 2004-05.
Thad Matta missed the NCAA Tournament in his first season with Ohio State
Coming into his coaching tenure at Ohio State, Matta carried a four-season streak of leading teams to the NCAA Tournament with Butler and Xavier from 2000-04.
In his first season with Ohio State, that streak ended, finishing sixth in the Big Ten with a 20-12 overall record while winning only eight of 16 conference games with Terence Dials and Tony Stockman, who each averaged more than 10 points per game.
But Matta and the Buckeyes still had moments signifying what was to come.
After losing three of its four matchups against ranked teams, including a 19-point road loss to No. 1 Illinois to begin Big Ten play, the Buckeyes capped off its regular season with revenge against the No. 1 Fighting Illini, using a 3-point make by Matt Sylvester to hand Illinois its first loss of the season.
After a three-point win against Penn State in the first round of the Big Ten tournament, Ohio State finished its season with an 11-point loss to No. 23 Wisconsin.
Matta's first campaign with Ohio State sparked a 10-season run where the Buckeyes finished as regular season champions five times and conference tournament champions four times, playing in nine NCAA Tournaments, two Final Fours and one national championship game.
Butler has struggled in Thad Matta's first season back
Matta's return to Butler has proved to be a struggle.
After an 8-3 start in non-conference play, Butler has won only three games in Big East play, beating Georgetown, DePaul and Villanova. The Bulldogs sit in 10th in the Big East ahead of only Georgetown.
In each of their matchups against ranked teams — No. 22 Tennessee, No. 3 and No. 15 Connecticut, and No. 23 Providence — the Bulldogs have lost by an average of nearly 25 points.
In Matta's first season back, Butler's offense is averaging 67.9 points per game: No. 282 of 363 college basketball teams in Division 1. The Bulldogs also average only 30.4 rebounds per game, which is No. 357 in the country.
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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Thad Matta's first season at Butler vs first with Ohio State basketball