Thursday Skull Session

By Alex on March 24, 2011 at 6:00a
Just like Rod TidwellCoach Cal has not been held in high class by many

Good morning Buckeye fans and welcome to this edition of Thursday Skull Session. The Fighting John "Slimeball" Calipari's are upon us, as we are now less than 48 hours until tip-off at the Prudential Center, a.ka. "The Rock", in Newark, New Jersey. I'd like to think that such a great state that served as home to yours truly would be able to produce some good karma for the Buckeyes tomorrow night (garbage dump jokes dismissed-that's Staten Island!), but right now it's hard not to fear the potential let down against a surging hot UK team.

Either way, I am sure we will see everything we have out of a Buckeye team that is hungry for a championship and lead by three seniors who want to go out with a bang. Unlike last year's squad that relied on one player to bring it to the promised land, this year's squad is leaving me much more confident that they'll bring their "A" game when the season is on the line. Couple in the fact that this could be both Jared Sullinger and William Buford's last college game, and you have the recipe to create an intangible that Kentucky may not be able to overcome, even if the Bucks aren't hitting their shots at the usual rate.

Touching on that last point, Buford has "indicated he will return", but many writers and fans still think he will go after what is turning into a very stellar tournament run. Jared Sullinger on the other hand, has been the subject of rumors that he too will return, passing up millions as lock to be selected in the top five picks of June's NBA Draft. His brother JJ may have confirmed that the younger Sully will be coming back to Columbus for year two, though, spoiling the element of surprise. H/T to JakeBuckeye for finding this note on Dave Biddle's twitter, as when asked if Jared will be returning, JJ said:

 "I'll say this, I'll be going to a lot of OSU games next year."

On that good piece of information, it's time to roll into this morning's Skull Session. Sit back, relax, and let the 11W ride take you on a journey to start this great Thursday morning off after the jump.

 Uh, let's do that again. After brackets all over America were busted last weekend, the experts have decided to make some revised picks now that the Sweet 16 is all set. The good news is that four out of six experts have now selected OSU to win it all (other two have Kansas) and five out of six have OSU in the Final Four (still don't like you Mandel), but the bad news is that most of these guys didn't pick right from the start. If you want a little more than just the basic flip of a coin picks, Andy Glockner breaks down the remaining teams and players in the East region, and after some analysis, comes to the conclusion Thad will be cutting down some net in early April. Make you any less nervous about tomorrow's game vs Kentucky? Not me.

 Comparing apples to oranges. Many people across the nation are talking about how if Bruce Pearl was fired, then Jim Tressel should be fired. Ohio State fans have tried to defend Gene Smith not giving Tress the pink slip, but with little factual/rational evidence to back-up their arguments. Enter our own Ramzy, who not only published a great article on 11W yesterday, but also produced this gem over at Bucknuts' new home at the 247 Network, comparing the Pearl and Tressel situation. If you haven't read the article yet, please do, as it is pure genius and by far the best, fair, and most rational defense of this situation I have seen yet.

 espTEN. Yes, you read that right. Usually, seeing the WWL's name spoofed to ESECPN, I found myself in udder shock to see the college football front page of the site blocked out in Big Ten talk yesterday. Included in their content was a podcast, a story linking Iowa's workout routine to the muscle disorder multiple players have been diagnosed with, projections of where the conference's draft eligible players will be selected, a link to the Big Ten Blog by Adam Rittenberg, and more. The best part about this was that there was very little mention of the Tressel situation. Did ESPN think April Fools Day came a week early?

Kecman moving on. With Thad Matta bringing in another five players to next year's basketball team, nine players scheduled to return (assuming nobody jumps to the NBA), and only 12 scholarships available to the program, the question has entered many minds on how in the world OSU would fit in all the players that signed NLOIs with the school back in the fall. The assumption was the Buford or Sullinger (or both) would move on to the league next season, but another answer has emerged. While WB and Sully still may make a leap to the pros, it will be former JuCo transfer, Nikola Kecman, who will forego his senior season after suffering kneww injuries in back to back years. Despite the possibility of never being able to play basketball again, the player once known as the "Serbian Ivan Harris" has earned a degree from The Ohio State University and was a part of the graduation ceremony held at Quicken Loans Arena before last Sunday's game. It's a shame that Kecman never really got to show OSU fans what he could do on the court, but as the article shows it appears that he certainly played a role off the court that is helping the Buckeyes chase their first national title since 1960.

Big Ten Bits. An interesting look at what the future holds for OSU basketball, in regards to that 2011 recruiting class joining the team next year. The Penn State spring football roster is finally out and Bob Flounders breaks it down. Tom Mulhern breaks down Wisconsin's football team by position as spring ball approaches. There are plenty of questions regarding the Iowa Hawkeyes on the gridiron this upcoming year. Here's a Q&A session with Michigan State signal caller, Kirk Cousins.



Comments Show All Comments

johnblairgobucks's picture

you know, if OSU happens to fall to Kentucky tomorrow, that will be 3 tournament exits in the past 5 years to an SEC teams? What will be said, if this happens: we don't have SEC bench strength?  don't have SEC leaping ability?  Guys down South jump higher?  SEC players can dribble better when the game is on the line?

Hopefully the Buckeyes put the ball in the basket, more times than Kentucky, so as to avoid the SEC monkey jumping on our backs.  Didn't we just get rid of those punks 4 months ago?

Doc's picture

Here is the first part of a 2 parter that the O-Zone has on the game.  The article is written by some dude from "Big Blue Nation".  Enjoy!

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

RBuck's picture

This is the first time I read or heard that tOSU is still under probation from the O'Brien thing...could mean bad news.

Long live the southend.

bcWEcouldn'tGOfor3's picture

I know it is only a blow-out-of-proportions rumor but...

If Tressel does (AND I AM NOT SAYING HE SHOULD) get fired, would you want Meyer roaming the sidelines?

Buckeye Scottie's picture

Hellz Noze.  Go from firing a guy for violations, to hiring one that led the world in convicted felons on his last team.

bcWEcouldn'tGOfor3's picture

And I will say this about the Tressel/Pearl comparison that Ramzy made...

IMO, the lying to NCAA is by far the most damaging of any of the transgressions.  You lose all credibility with your players. All it takes is one "Aww $#&@!" to ruin the reputation of someone in the spotlight.  How can a coach get in front of his players and preach to them about integrity and excellence when he has demonstrated he doesn't always have integrity?  And I'm not talking about lying that he stole a coke from the office snack bar.

Think of a church minister who admits to stealing money from the congregation.  The minister admits he was wrong and you forgive him...but do you still trust him? Does he still remain your pastor? How does the pastor stand up in front of the congregation and preach about how you should give money to the church and stealing is bad?

You can forgive someone...but that doesn't mean they keep their job.

I love Tressel. He has done a lot during his tenure. But his "Aww $#&@!" moment is pretty bad. 

I guess we will wait and see.

Bucks's picture

I guess I just don't see this in the same way you do. There is a monumental difference between committing an act and covering it up, meaning you actively broke rules yourself ... and finding out that someone else may have broken some rules and sitting on that information.

I loved Ramzy's writeup on this b/c it is very sickening to see ppl comparing Pearl to Tressel in this. Pearl violated rules he was aware of (based off having already gotten in trouble previously for it) & then lied when presented with proof. Jim Tressel would have had to take these kids to the tattoo parlor and supervised the sales, therefore committing the act himself for it to be comparable.

I understand the comparison you make to the minister, but again the big difference is JT didn't have involvement in the action that brought this whole thing about. He found out and sat on it (to the best of our knowledge). Big difference.

As for the players who have been under him through his life, I have yet to see a single one of them come out and say anything but good, going so far as to say he saved their life, would walk through fire for, take bullets for, and are thankful he was their coach. I'm not concerned in the slightest that he will have any less impact in the future.

bcWEcouldn'tGOfor3's picture

I have no doubt he will continue to impact people in a positive way...I just think he has lost a lot of credibility. You preach and preach and preach about integrity, and then you do something that shows you don't have integrity. 

If I lie or you really isn't a big deal because we don't preach about integrity and doing what is right, even when no one is looking.  When someone who showcases themself as a person with unquestionable integrity, and you lie...that can shatter your reputation beyond repair.

I love Tressel...I just don't think he survives this. I'm trying to view this as just an average fan...not a Buckeye fanatic.

Tressel's case isn't as bad as Pearl's (like you said), but IMO it is pretty close. 

btalbert25's picture

So anyone who has ever told a lie has no integrity?  I guess each person will have their own definitions of integrity and a situation like this will  shape everyone's opinion of Tressel a different way.  You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but sometimes great people do things that aren't great.  In my eyes you judge the man by the whole body of work. The 20+ years as a head coach. Not one transgression. 

bcWEcouldn'tGOfor3's picture

I'm not saying the scrutiny of Tressel's integrity is right...but being in the spotlight and constantly preaching integrity, and then breaking that integrity, is kind of a big deal.

Anyone who has strong convictions about something, and goes around spreading their opinions about those convictions, are often held at a higher standard when they don't follow those convictions.

Example 1 - A politician who is a big advocate against adultery and sexual immorality is caught cheating on his wife with another man.

Example 2 - A normal average joe cheats on his wife with another man.

Which of those two people would you dislike more?  Probably example 1.  It isn't right...but that's reality.

btalbert25's picture

There was an article about Bruce Pearl yesterday that I saw on a friend's facebook page.  I think it was from deadspin.  Anyway, this guy has been an absolute shitbag his whole career, even back to the 80's when he was an assitant coach.  There are no comparisons between Pearl and Tressel.  Tressel made a mistake, we all know that, but there's never been talk from other people in the profession about him being sleezy, about him promissing the world to a player only to pull the rug out from under him, nothing has ever indicated that he has cooked up stories to get other coaches in trouble, and he doesn't use negative recruiting.  Pearl has been accused of all of these things in his years as a head coach and assitant.  He's a slimeball. 

Tressel fucked up, and it was bad.  However, we all make mistakes, and can still come out on top.  His players current and former don't question what kind of leader or man he is.  He's proven time and again that these kids, and the Ohio State fans are his family.  Hell, he's even gone out of his way to help MoC, the guy who damn near took Ohio State down.  If the people who basically put their lives and futures into his hand don't have a problem with the guy.  If they don't think less of him because of this mistake, why the hell should any of us who don't even know the guy?

Doc's picture

Tressel fucked up, and it was bad.  However, we all make mistakes, and can still come out on top.  His players current and former don't question what kind of leader or man he is.  He's proven time and again that these kids, and the Ohio State fans are his family.  Hell, he's even gone out of his way to help MoC, the guy who damn near took Ohio State down.  If the people who basically put their lives and futures into his hand don't have a problem with the guy.  If they don't think less of him because of this mistake, why the hell should any of us who don't even know the guy?


BT, you put the entire thing into a nut shell.  Well said.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Maestro's picture

I second the nut shell sentiment.

vacuuming sucks

Bucksfan's picture

Tressel is not going to be fired.  People need to get over it.  Since no recruiting violations occurred, the NCAA is not going to dock scholarships or limit the coach's contact with recruits.  Even if that were the case, this situation probably wouldn't affect many recruits' minds when it comes to playing at the baddest fucking football facilities in college football.

Worst case scenario, the NCAA will try to neuralize 2010 from our memories.  Might go back to 0-9 against the SEC.  Michigan gets to say they didn't lose to Ohio State for the first time since 2003, and Tressel still hasn't won a big regular season game since Texas in 2006....but only officially.  Reality is a bitch, especially if you try to say it didn't happen. 

The Michigan Fab 5 would not have had an ESPN special about them if the NCAA didn't vacate those wins and put the banners in a closet.  People would look back on that and say, that was a good basketball team, and that'd be it.  But there's something extra in everyone's memories because they've been martyred.  The Tat-5 and the 2010 season might become a very strong memory for everyone if they try to say that it didn't count.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Isn't tOSU 5-0 against Kunt-ucky in the tournament? Hopefully, after Friday night, we are 6-0. Sorry if that word is offensive : ) but eff them and Coach Cal. The Pete Carroll of college hoops.

"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

RoweTrain's picture

I don't find anything offensive about the word 'hopefully'.  It just shows that you are not overconfident.

"Just bow up and go out and play." ~ D. Lee

"As it stands right now, I know I am the best athlete in college football." ~ B. Miller

German Buckeye's picture

Can we please NOT talk about football right now.  We'll have 4-5 months a sports desolation after the 2nd week of April to discuss the Vest's situation and anything else pertaining to the football program.  Let's PLEASE enjoy, support and otherwise gloat about the truly outstanding basketball team we are witnessing at the moment. 

I have absolutely no fear (none, zip, zero) of playing Kentucky tomorrow (and probably NC on Sunday).  I predict double digit wins in both:  OSU 87, KY 65 and then OSU 79, NC 67.   WHY? ----- DEFENSE.   GO BUCKS!


Natty Light's picture

i love the description of Craft's "Norad-like defense" in the break down link in the 1st bullet point

tomcollins's picture

Mandel's from Cincitucky, so I am not surprised.

Bucksfan's picture

I would say it's more that he went to college at Northwestern.

btalbert25's picture

I think it's very likely the winner of tomorrow night's game will be in the final four.  I'm very confident that Ohio State wins this game, but if UK pulls of the upset, would it be a shock?  Jones and Knight are extremely talented.  The guy may be hack and he may not like Ohio State, but he's certainly not the only person in America who thinks Ohio State could actually lose before the Final Four.  The results of today's poll show that there are quite a few in the ranks here in Columbus who are worried about the game. It doesn't matter that the guy is From Cincitucy (clever as EsecPN) only not nearly as accurate.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Mandela is another media puke I wouldn't piss on if he were engulfed in flames. Dudes one of the biggest hacks on SI.

"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

Nik's picture

Why do you have to bring Mandela into this? 

btalbert25's picture

lol I was going to say isn't he too busy freedom fighting and crushing opression to write about NCAA basketball?