Tuesday Skull Session

By Johnny Ginter on January 18, 2011 at 6:00a

Happy Tuesday everyone, and welcome to your morning Skull Session. I hope that you all had a safe and profitable Martin Luther King Day, possibly my favorite of the quirky Amero-centric federal holidays. I'm a big history buff, and the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s was definitely a watershed moment in America's past; and as far as it relates to the sports world, there are of course a number of incredibly significant black athletes who helped advance the cause of civil rights in the US. It might be a day late, but if you haven't heard about some of the lesser known athletes like Althea Gibson, John McLendon, or Larry Doby, bone up via the web and maybe check out some other black athlete pioneers while you're at it (Bill Willis shoutout).

Because frankly President's Day doesn't offer quite the same opportunity.

Curtis Grant Says He's Down To Florida And OSU BUT WHO CARES ABOUT THAT Yeah, yeah, yeah. Linebackers are great, we're the real Linebacker U, Marek, Spielman, Katzenmoyer, Hawk, Rolle, blah blah blah. We know the real update you've been wating for is about Georgia Long Snapper Bryce Haynes, who according to Adam Jardy (and various rumors on the internets), he is now down to just four lucky schools (Scout subscription required, which I don't normally go with but Jardy is great at his job and a good dude despite some questionable music choices), two of which are Harvard and Ohio State. Mark Titus... paging Mark "The Shark" Titus...

"You Can Use Statistics To Prove Anything, Kent. Forty Percent Of All People Know That" According to this statistical analysis, the second best offensive player in America, regardless of total minutes played, is Jon "Sir Dunksalot" Diebler. I'll let the blinding obviousness of that sink in for a second there while I point out that the interview that Luke and I did with John Gasaway opened my eyes up the the world of what is essentially basketball Sabermetrics. Baseball is very well suited to exhaustive statistical analysis due to the gigantic sample size, and I had always wondered how that could apply to other sports. By breaking down individual basketball statistics by possession and working with some other unique ideas, I think Ken Pomeroy, the guys at Basketball Prospecticus and others are really on to something here. Even if I don't really think the Diebster is quite as good as that particular stat might say.

Matta The Magnificent Bruce Hooley makes the case that Thad Matta has done possibly the best coaching job in any of the major sports at Ohio State. Ever. Bit of a stretch? Okay, yeah, of course it is, but the point Hooley is trying to make is that Matta has done what most people thought impossible: take OSU basketball from a position of being a complete afterthought to that of being... well, not an afterthought anyhow. I personally think that people often shortchange the Jim O'Brien era (he did coach a Final Four team in 1999), but Matta took over a program reeling from sanctions and turned it into a juggernaut in terms of the kind of recruits it routinely pulls and games that it appears in. One might argue that the steadily increasing profile of the Big Ten in b-ball has helped as well, but keep in mind that Matta has had success everywhere he's been, never winning less than 20 games in a season. I've complained about him more than anyone in the past, but even I have to admit that the dude can flat out run a program.

Hope You're Feeling Better Eddie You might've missed it, but basketball walk-on Eddie Days was hospitalized for a kidney infection at the end of December. Luckily he seems to be doing better and was released from the hospital on January 3rd, but he still hasn't appeared in a game since December 21st against UNC Ashville. Hopefully he gets back on the court soon and starts racking up the trillions.

Oh, and last thing, happy birthday Mom! 60 years ago the world got a lot brighter. And shorter, on average. But mostly brighter.

Either way, thanks for being a great mom, and here's to at least 60 more.

Love, Johnny


Comments Show All Comments

flipbuckeye's picture

Happy birthday Momma Bup^3.

tomcollins's picture

Re: Kenpom:

I was amazed that there were 7 people who were bigger ballhogs than Deshaun Thomas.

thePhilipJFry's picture

3 point specialist are highly valued by kenpom and with Diebler hitting at 50% combined with a low number of turnovers his points per possession used is going to be high.

nickma71's picture

So then you never saw Michael Jordan from 84-91?

KenK's picture

He's only a freshman, give him time.

Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

Carolina Buckeye's picture

1. I just hope we get Curtis Grant because as small as it is it would feel great to land him OVER Florida.  Just like Shazier.  That being said, I hope that WR JuJuan Story picks UF over Ohio State.  This kid only had 13 receptions as a junior and played qb his senior year not recording a catch.  In the under armor all american game he had 1 catch for 9 yards.  Why are we recruiting him over Cardale Jones (assuming he qualified academically) of Glenville?  Both would be major projects at any position and Cardale is jonesin (zing) to be a buckeye.  What promises we must have made to Braxton, oh well, can't complain.

2. haha that 99' final four team never happened,...right?

3. Happy b-day Mom

Johnny Ginter's picture

2. haha that 99' final four team never happened,...right?


they can remove em from the record books, but not my heart

Matthew's picture

Said the USC football fan.


I keed, I keed.


But seriously, if I want to hate on USC for that, I have to accept that the 99 Final Four actually doesn't exist.

Class of 2010

tomcollins's picture

I wouldn't.  Such a BS reason to take away a final 4.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

I still put Matta ahead of Tress when it comes to the best coach for tOSU. Tress has done an extraordinary job over the last 10 years. But Matta has turned the basketball program into one of the top squads in the nation. And he has done it more than once...

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

btalbert25's picture

Let's give Matta 10 years and see if he has the consistency.  Other than the final four team his best result has been a sweet 16.  I'm not saying Matta hasn't been great, but until the basketball bucks are a perennial top 5, it's hard to say he's done more for the program than Tressel has with the football Bucks.

tomcollins's picture

It's a shame to judge a basketball coach by tournament results and not by the entire season.  The tourney comes down to so much luck, it's hard to really gauge things on that.

He's 276-85.  .763.  Coach K is .786 at Duke. Roy Williams .805 at Kansas, .779 at UNC.  That's very impressive.

3 Big Ten titles (2 outright) out of 6 years.  In 5 eligible years for the tourney, he's got 7 wins (and 4 losses).  It's very impressive by any standard.

Also keep in mind O'Brien won 60% of his games, so it's a huge improvement.  While the football program had 2 down years before Tressel came, it was a powerhouse throughout the 90s, so the improvement isn't quite as much.

Both are on pretty equal levels to me, although Tressel has had more success more consistently.  Basketball's tough to compare, though.

btalbert25's picture

Sure it's unfair, but don't we judge the success of football coaches by BCS bowls and bowl wins, despite the team losing only 1 or 2 games a year?  Bowls aren't neccessarily and accurate guage for the success of a football team because of layoff, disappointment of the bowl they ended up in, and just lack of focus for all the other things going on with a bowl.

I'm not suggesting that you are saying this is a fair way, but if we are going to say Thad has been more successful than Tress, we need to judge him the same way as we do Tressel, and that's end result. 

I definitely don't think it's fair to just judge a coach based on these criteria, but that seems to be what the majority of fans and media use.  At the same time you do have coaches who have great records and teams the always perform well in the regular season, but fall on their face as soon as they get to March.  So, you definitely have to take it into consideration.

tomcollins's picture

Football is a bit weird because we have very few meaningful games.  Bowl games tend to be the most meaningful (especially BCS).

End results need to be compared to something fair.  Winning a 6 game tournament is really, really hard to do, even if you have the best team.  I'd be more suited to judge him by what seed we got going into the tournament, than the actual results.

His results there are:

#2 2010

#8 2009

N/A (NIT Champ) 2008

#1 2007

#2 2006

2 down years, but not even that far down.  It's a bit harder to be consistent in basketball since you get a lot of 1-year players and have to be constantly recruiting.

Judging someone based on flawed standards just because the majority use it is silly.

btalbert25's picture

I never said he had to win all 6 games to be successful, but I do think a great program/coach should consistently be at least a sweet 16 and possibly elite 8 team.  Which, if you are a 1 or 2 seed, it's not that hard to get to the sweet 16, it should be a given.  That's why as I said, there's just not enough of a sample size to be able to say what Matta has done is better than or equal to what Tress has done. 

I would argue, that you don't play nearly as many meaningful games in college basketball as you do in football where every game is meaningful in the regular season.  College basketball is mostly an exhibition until you hit the last 12 games and the conference tournament.  In a lot of ways I think the only meaningful games occur in March. A 10 loss team can get a top 4 seed. Michigan State proves that every year.  They get ranked high, lose a bunch in non-conference then end up an elite 8 or final four team damn near every year. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Tom, for a football program to be in the position to "play very few meaningful games," it first has to be a powerhouse program. Good but not great football programs like Okla State, Nebraska, V Tech, PSU, and UGA have all played a lot of meaningful games over the past few years because they weren't good enough to make them meaningless. We have to give JT full credit for turning Ohio State into such a powerhouse that his program plays only 2-3 "meaningful" games per year.

As for Matta v. JT: both great coaches, but JT has built a top 5 program, whereas Matta probably isn't there yet. If Matta wins a NC this year, though, the Ohio State program will be considered (at least on active basis, if not long-term) a top 5 program. Certainly, you could grade Matta on a curve, for reasons we all know perhaps too well, but that would go against the grain of sports culture, which demands results, no excuses.       

btalbert25's picture

I also would like to add, that I think it's really pretty foolish to compare the 2 anyway.  The accomplishments of one certainly don't diminish the accomplishments of the other.  I just  think to do so, you have the basketball program mentioned consistently in the same breath as Kansas, Duke, Michigan state etc.  The football program is there, the basketball Bucks have a ways to go before that happens.  That's why I feel you have to wait a few more years to compare Matta's success to Tressel's.

The_Lurker's picture

+ Gradishar, + Cousineau, + Pepper Johnson, + Little Animal

The_Lurker's picture

O'Brien loses any credit for a Final Four team because of the scandal. The O'Brien era is dead to me.

Matta has been great for the program. I just wish he was as good at getting guys to stay for a second or third season as he is at getting them to come to OSU in the first place.

Dean's picture

For what it's worth, subsequent events seem to have at least partially exonerated O'Brien, looks like the NCAA shot first and asked questions later:


The_Lurker's picture

When they restore the vacated wins/Final Four, he'll be far less dead to me. Humanitarian reasons or not, coaches shouldn't give or loan money to a recruit or his family.

btalbert25's picture

Arguably the best player to Matta has ever coached stayed for 3 years.  I agree it would've been nice for Connely and Oden to have come back, but can't slight guys like Lighty and Bufford who have been good players for this team.  May lose Sullinger after this year, but no way Craft will be ready for the NBA.  Thomas still has some room to grow too.  1 and dones are a part of the game, it's just finding a balance of guys who will play well but maybe aren't ready for the NBA after one year and getting that 1 or 2 recruits who may only be around for a year.

ERIC OSU's picture

I totally agree with you Btalbert that finding a mixture of one and dones + 3/4 year guys will continue to bring success. And let it be known future buckeyes laquinton Ross and Shannon Scott had huuuuge weekends at the basketball showcase in Mass. The future is filthy(ully) bright!

Nick's picture

The one year rule is on the chopping block in the new NBA CBA, so we'll see how that turns out.

btalbert25's picture

Until basketball adopts a policy like baseball and football it's always going to be tough to have sustained success in a program.  I remember when Rick Pitino was recruiting Sebastian Telfair, it basically chased Rajon Rondo to UK.  Rondo was set to go to Louisville then Telfair commited.  Telfair backed out and went to the NBA out of highschool basically leaving Louisville SOL.  Anytime a kid has a great year he's going to take off fo the NBA, with a few exceptions.  So whether they commit to the school then back out and go strait to the NBA or they are a 1 and done, it's really no different. It's still going to hurt the team's abilitiy to build a successful program for more than 1 year at a time. 

Irricoir's picture

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

BacknBlack's picture

What is the Date/Time of the 2011 Spring Game? Are they doing the combo w/ the lacrosse team again? Thanks in advance.

Jason Priestas's picture

Nothing's been announced yet, but I imagine it will be on Saturday 4/23. Would also think the double-header with the lacrosse team will be back and for years to come.

Irricoir's picture

Any updates on the Wrestling team this year?

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

Jason Priestas's picture

I'm probably into the wrestling program more than most if only because it's a sport I participated in from 7th - 12th grade and I understand the rigors of going through it and what these guys go through (example: I thought football practices and Parris Island were a joke from a physical standpoint compared to the hell I went through in wrestling).

That said, we simply don't have the resources to cover it as much as we'd like to. And I kind of lost a little bit of interest after the drubbing at the hands of Penn State. However, if you'd like to be our OSU wrestling "correspondent", you can always keep us abreast via the user blog feature. :)

NW Buckeye's picture

Anyone catch the Kansas/Baylor game last night?  Just before half Mushmouth gushed that the Big12 was second to only the Big East in strength of conference.  Did not even mention the strength of the B1G.  Typical of ESecPN - downplay the B1G at every chance.