On the hoops front: With all the excitement for the start of football season around these parts, we haven't given the hoopsters their due respect. Their 3-0 trip to Canada is a few days old, but the only hoops news I have had a chance to cover since the Siena loss, is the BJ Mullen's career shortening decision, so don't get too upset.
Since the 11W budget doesn't include trips to foreign lands for exhibition play, we weren't able to witness the progress this team has made, but from the reports that were filed by the professionals, our excitement for this team is confirmed.
The lack of a post presence has hampered the Bucks since Oden left and it looks like Dallas Lauderdale took that to heart over the summer. Bob Baptist of the Dispatch did a nice piece on the big man earlier this week, talking about the month he spent in Boston working with ex-Pitt center, Bobby Martin, on everything from footwork to conditioning and nutrition. Dallas dropped his body fat by 2% and showed up to practice in better shape.
The results showed in the third game, when Lauderdale hit all 9 of his shots en route to 19 points. With the wide open style the Bucks hope to use this season, Dallas will have plenty of opportunities with the likes of Turner, Lighty, Buford, and yes, even PJ Hill dishing off inside the lane for easy dunks. I know there was a huge height advantage, so I don't expect 19 a night from Lauderdale during the season, but his improved conditioning will be huge for the Bucks. According to Baptist:
Lauderdale ran the floor as well as the guards did during the three games in Canada, an asset to a team that hopes to thrive on transition this season.
As we have predicted around these parts since last season, Evan Turner got the start at point, although it sounds like whoever gets the rebound is going to turn and go. According to Jeff Rapp of Bucknuts, Turner averaged 14.3 points, 7.3 boards, 4.3 assists and 2 steals in the 3 games. Those aren't surprising numbers and probably close to what he will average during the season, but the most important aspect for ET this year is the fact he won't have to do it all on his own. He had a tendency to dribble around too much last year, looking to create an opportunity, but with everyone back, that shouldn't come into play.
With Turner starting at the point, that will allow PJ Hill to come off the bench, which IMO, is a more effective role for him. I have always been a fan of the team's energy guy coming in off the bench. If the team has a slow start, bring in Hill and let his dreads get in the face of the opposition and spark a run. Throw this in with the return of David Lighty, the glue guy, and there shouldn't be too many down spots throughout each game.
I know it's early, but Chris and I were talking this week and this team is going to be really good. Matta has everyone returning for just the second time in his tenure here in Cbus, the last time it happened, he lead a scrappy bunch to the B10 title, the B10 tourney finals and the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament. With the recruiting class coming in next year, the 2009-2010 season should be the start of at least a 2 year run for Thad and his boys.
Football Facts: There is no doubt most of you readers know everything there is to know about the upcoming season and Ohio State in general, but I thought I would throw a few facts your way, so you can impress all of your poser friends at this weekend's tailgate.
- Ohio State is entering their 120th year of football, compiling a 808-307-53 record.
- Ohio State hasn't lost a home opener since 1978 (Woody's last season), when JoePa's Nittany Lions beat OSU 19-0.
- The Buckeyes have an all-time record in Ohio Stadium of 385-106-20, a winning clip of 77.4 percent.
- Tressel, entering his 9th season is 83-19 at OSU, with 9 of those losses coming over 2 seasons.
- Ohio State has won 15 straight Big Ten road games, with the last loss coming at Penn State in the 2005 season.
- Since 1950, only Oklahoma (75.8) has a better winning percentage than OSU (75.5).
- Since 2006, Ohio State leads the FBS in games holding opponents under 21 points, with 40. They are 38-2 in those games.
- The Buckeyes have not posted back-to-back losing seasons since 1922-24, a span of 84 seasons. They are second behind Tennessee, which is at 97 seasons, but posted a 5-7 record last year and very well could end the streak this year.
And finally, for those of you making your way to the game, allow yourself plenty of time to get in and out. With brutal construction on 315N, the local authorities are calling for at least a 2 hour delay getting away from the campus area after the game. We don't know who was in charge of the timing for this project, but they should lose their job for not starting it earlier.