Tuesday Skull Session

By Danny on January 17, 2012 at 6:00a

Good morning Buckeye faithful and welcome to your Tuesday Skull Session.

Last Sunday, the Ohio State men's hockey team faced off against the Michigan Wolverines. This game would've been big enough on paper for your average hockey fan, but it also helped that the game was played outdoors.

Fans filled Progressive Field in Cleveland, home to the Cleveland Indians to watch to top ranked teams face off. I, unfortunately, was not able to go, but I would love the opportunity to get another shot to.

I'm not a big hockey fan, in fact, watching hockey on T.V. is nearly impossible for me, but to be in that crowd and that atmosphere last Sunday must've been something.

I can only hope Ohio State does something like this annually because I think it would be the start of a very unique tradition.

ONE STEP BACK, TWO STEPS FORWARD. ESPN's Myron Medcalf released his power rankings for Big Ten basketball squads after this week.

Even though the Buckeyes lost to a pesky Illinois team early last week, Medcalf still ranks the Buckeyes at #2 in the B1G after a statement win over Indiana last Saturday.

The only team listed ahead of OSU is Tom Izzo's Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans reeled off 15 straight wins and hadn't lost since November before losing to Northwestern last Saturday.

Before the season's end, I expect Ohio State to be playing more consistent than MSU and eventually surpass them in Medcalf's rankings. However, for that to happen, OSU must play better on the road.

Thad Matta's team is a completely different team at home, and all of the Buckeyes' losses have come to teams on the road. Granted, all of OSU's losses have come to quality opponents, but the Buckeyes still need to find a way to close out big games on the road if they want a high seed in the NCAA tournament.

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. Jared Sullinger and William Buford gave up millions of dollars from the NBA to return to college for this season. Buford, the team's only senior, will have no choice but to go to the NBA next season, but will Sully leave as well with two years of eligibility left?

We won't know the answer to this question until the end of the season, but it's never too early to have a little fun and project where the Buckeyes' leading scorers would end up in the NBA draft after this season.

CollegeHoops.net surmises that Sullinger will go number five overall to the Charlotte Bobcats and Buford will go number 25 overall to the San Antonio Spurs in their NBA mock draft. While Ohio State is no Kentucky, which annually puts out about five first-round draft picks a season, it certainly does speak highly of Thad Matta's program to see OSU put out two first-round quality players.

It's a no-brainer that anyone associated with Ohio State wants to see Sullinger stay, but in my opinion, I expect all-American center to leave because his draft value will never be higher than after this season. However, if the Buckeyes don't will a title this season, it will be incredibly difficult for the sophomore to leave the college atmosphere and school that he's come to love.


PAY ATTENTION ON THURSDAY. This Thursday, Cameron Burrows, one of state of Ohio's top football prospects, will make his decision on where he will play college football.

The junior cornerback from Trotwood-Madison High School will choose between Ohio State, Stanford, Michigan, Wisconsin, LSU, Alabama, and Tennessee.

It would be a big pickup for the Buckeyes who just released cornerback Dominic Clarke. It would also be nice to see Urban Meyer keep a homegrown product in state.

CAN'T BEAT THEM, SO LEARN FROM THEM. Urban Meyer plans to have former Florida players come and work out with Ohio State's football team, according to Fear The Hat.

The list of possible players includes several prominent NFL players, including the holy of holies, Timothy Tebow. While we all despise Florida for making life miserable for the Buckeyes in our past two bowl game meetings, it could be very beneficial for OSU's players to learn a thing or two from players who've played under Meyer in the past.

LOS LINKS. Meet your OSU coaching staff... Your NCAA basketball coaches poll... Montana hangs it up at Washington... Smith Jr. overcomes illness before a huge night against IU... A new approach for the Buckeyes?



Comments Show All Comments

Michael's picture

I can't be the only person who could really care less about NCAA basketball rankings, can I? In the end, it's great to be a #1 seed, but I think that puts more pressure on a team ranked #2/3. And really, one of the biggest determining factors isn't necessarily your ranking, but which bracket you get put in. I'd rather be a lower ranked team in a weak bracket than a #1 in a stacked one.

Also, that mock draft has Sullinger going #7. How high would he have gone last year? I thought he was a lock for the Top 5. Did he hurt his draft stock by staying the extra year or are there just more impressive performers around the league (compared to last year)?

Squirrel Master's picture

how about these 2 tidbits then.

as a #1 seed you pretty much know its a lock that you will win the first week. A #1 seed has never lost in the first round. #2/3 have lost before and #3 is a constant upset.

As a #1 seed you pretty much get to select what area of the nation you get to play in. Of course I mean #1 overall seed. It really helps when you can play in your backyard the first couple of games. Also you can use that to your advantage and force the 3/4 overall seeds to have to play out west. Syracuse and Kentucky out west would not be an advantage for them.

Now I do agree that there is more pressure but that happens later on in the tournament and you can pretty much say any team feels pressure especially when they have lofty goals. Lofty goals are not necessarily tied to being #1 seed.

Sullinger really should have left last year. He would have easily been a top 5 pick. I don't see any world where Tristan Thompson would have been taken by CLEVELAND over Sullinger.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

btalbert25's picture

You definitely want to be a number 1 seed.  I'll never forget hearing Rick Pitino talk about rankings one time.  His team was number 1, he said I don't care about the rankings just give me a number 1 seed.  That is key.  Do I believe Ohio State felt pressure as the number 1 overall seed to win it all last year?  Not especially.  What did stink was the helacious bracket they were put in.  I don't care what the seeds were anytime you are put in a bracket with Kentucky and North Carolina, it's not going to be an easy road.

Squirrel Master's picture

very good point. Another reason why you should want the overall #1 seed is to get the best bracket. Unfortunately they did not. Kentucky was the most talented and best coached team not a 1/2 seed. Kentucky should have easily been a #2 seed. And North Carolina should have been a #1 seed. so if you look at the top 3 seeds of each bracket it would look like this:

1. OSU 2. North Carolina 3. Kentucky

1. Duke 2. SDSU 3. Uconn (granted was a tough draw for Duke there even though Duke never made it)

1. Kansas 2. Notre Dame 3. Purdue (seriously, ND as a 2 seed over Kentucky?)

1. Pitt 2. Florida 3. BYU (Seriously, Pitt as 1 seed over UNC?)

Buckeyes were straight up screwed!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

btalbert25's picture

Yeah the draw was really weird last year.  I'm not sure how the hell FLorida got a 2 seed and Kentucky didn't.  This wasn't the first time a number 1 overall got a tough draw though. I think a couple of years ago when Michigan State played UNC in the tournament Louisville was the number 1 overall.  I went to the sweet 16 and elite 8 at Lucas oil that year.  That bracket had Louisville, Kansas, and Michigan State.  Granted Michigan State wasn't expected to pull off what they did but everyone knows in March, Izzo's teams are really tough. That's a tough sweet 16 and elite 8.  Of Course Arizona made it into the sweet 16 that year and they weren't very good, but that regional was tough.  Granted it was only 100 miles from Louisville but still it wasn't an easy road.

I'd still much rather be the number 1 overall than the best 2 seed or 3 seed though.

Squirrel Master's picture

agreed. Louisville was robbed that year too. No matter what happens after the first 2 rounds, a #1 seed gets the easiest route in those first 2 rounds. I see OSU getting a #1 seed but not overall #1 which hopefully can be advantageous this year. It would be nice to not get Baylor and North Carolina as your 2 and 3 seeds (and that can easily happen this year). you would be facing possibly the 2 most stacked teams that would not be #1 seeds. I feel for any team that would face that in the tourney.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

btalbert25's picture

Definitely, my friend was trying to get me to get tickets for the first 2 rounds in Indy this year.  I considered it.  There's a possibility that Ohio State, Kentucky, and at one time Xavier may have been playing up there.  I considered it but it would require me taking Thursday and Friday off work.  Of course if Kentucky were playing there I could probably sell the tickets to their games and make my money back.  That's one benefit of living in UK country, there are always fans looking for tickets.

PNW-Buckeye's picture

Gene Smith, 2011 NCAA Tournament Selection Committee Chair: Don't worry, Thad, I'll get you in a sweet bracket!

Thad Matta: Really?

Gene: Guaranteed!!

...And scene.

buckeyepastor's picture

I think Sullinger did hurt his chances a bit.  Slight injury earlier this year, some back issues have surfaced, and although he's played well and been a beast, not a demonstrable jump in my opinion so far from what we saw last year.  

I hope we get Burrows, though it will be interesting to watch Alabama squirm and, sadly, cut loose some other great young talent if he happens to choose them.  Of course, Saban could honestly tell Burrows that they already have their limit and can't take him in, but we all know that's not likely.  

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

buckeyedude's picture

Or, Saban could get him a job, maybe cleaning the coaches offices, and grayshirt him for a year. He has many options, this man.



BTwrestle04's picture

You do realize Burrows is a 2013 class prospect (as in next year) right? Or are you just anticipating that next year Alabama will be in the same boat with having to shaft commits due to oversigning? The latter isn't that far fetched.

btalbert25's picture

I was thinking the same thing.  Plus, I don't think it's likely Saban would be putting this kid on Grayshirt.  He's a top 10 player in America.  He'd be making room for this kid, not putting off his contributions.

ArTbkward's picture

The hockey game was cool, so cool in fact, that my group left after the second period for fear of frost bite. 

It was a neat experience, and I'm sure it was awesome for the players.  They listed attendance at ~25,800.  People were cheering and chanting as we walked in but after dusk it got more quiet- partially because a fair amount left and partially because the ones that stayed were frozen.

I hope it does become an annual thing, this is apparently the second year Progressive Field has had their Snow Days with the rink, skating and tubing.  It would be nice if they started it about 3pm vs 5pm though.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

Squirrel Master's picture


I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

pcon258's picture

yea atmosphere was great for the first two periods, after which it got way too cold and depressing (OSU just couldn't get the puck out of their zone). also another problem could have been that the student seating was all the way down the third base line, where it was virtually impossible to see anything at all. my group moved snuck up to better seats, but the majority of students would have been unable to do that, so maybe next year theyll plan ahead a little better

ArTbkward's picture

My group was down the right field line, in the top section.  Virtually everyone in the top deck moved seats.  There were plenty of open ones closer to the rink.  I think the view from the top deck was probably better than the lower one.  Even in our originial seats, we could see very well, even better once we moved.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

NC_Buckeye's picture

God, was that cold! I've been in NC too long.

Crowd was 1/3 Michigan. 2/3 Ohio State. I believe the official attendance figure (25,864) to be accurate. Progressive Field was more than half full.

Highlights included many snowball fights between Ohio State and Michigan fans. (There was still much snow to be found under the seats from the previous day's snowfall.) Brutus taunting Michigan fans. Them responding with snowballs (which he for the most part successfully evaded.) Script Ohio on ice -- very cool. No highlights on the ice though. :-(

Michigan fans confirmed all my preconceived notions about Michigan fans. Douchebaggery seemed to be the rule of the day. Conversations I heard from the Michiganders in the row behind me included: This outdoor event was weak compared to their Bill Chill in the Big House. This Buckeye home game was as much an away game for us as it was for you. The Buckeyes are overrated. We swept you at Yost in November so I guess you're overrated too. Cal Heeter is not as good as his press. Fuck Michigan. Ohio State fans don't understand hockey / their fans are not into this game like our fans are. Fuck the horse you rode in on too. These are probably the worst seats I've ever had for a hockey game. Really. I don't hear any of the many Buckeye fans around you complaining.

The Michiganders in the row behind me then left before the end of the second period... presumably to find some wine and cheese at a Cleveland establishment which I'm certain they found lacking in some way.

I hope our next outdoor hockey game is against the Nittany Lions at PNC Park... and is about 20 degrees warmer. (I haven't experienced sub-20 temps in about 15 years.) At least the PSU folk aren't douchey in their hate.

I have pictures that I'll go over tonight. If any are postable (can't be certain the digital camera was working very well in those temps), I'll put up a blog post.

BuckeyeMark's picture

so that's a giant tubing hill I see there?  wow.  love living in the south but there are times I'd like to see that white stuff ... what's it called again?  snoo or something like that...

Squirrel Master's picture

if you make it down to Miami they have their own version of Snow. Just ask for Nevin Shapiro! lol

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

ArTbkward's picture

It is a giant tubing hill, Brutus and the cheerleaders slid down it waving the OSU flags at one point, which was neat.

Progressive Field opens up all of those winter faciilties for an all you can skate-tube price.  There is also an ice track around hill.  They make their own snow in there, there was some in Cleveland but not nearly as much as that picture makes it look.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

Bucks43201's picture

speaking of NBA draft, I was disappointed nobody took David Lighty, i.e. the Cavs. I understand he's playing in Italy, but Jon Diebler was selected by Portland in the 2nd round and he is playing in Greece. Does anyone know if that is for the entire season, or is there a chance he will come back and we can see him in a Blazers uniform this season? thanks

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

awwwwwwop's picture

I think I read in an article on Diebler that he does not have an opt out clause in his contract.  As for Lighty, his agent (this could be pure fluff) said more than 1 team expressed interest in drafting him then having him play overseas for a year (similar to Diebler) but that Lighty wanted to take his chances in free agency but with the lockout he didnt have much of a choice but to play overseas.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch