Tuesday Skull Session

By Danny on February 28, 2012 at 6:00a

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

All the things that could be said about the horrors of the Chardon school shootings have been said already. I am certainly not alone when I write that my thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the community as a whole.

Ohio State University as a community, all 60,000 students at all levels, and its alumni need to rally around this community. By going to OSU or having any sense of connection with the school, there should be a connection to the state of Ohio and its residents.

For people like me who have known Ohio as home from birth, and to those who have adopted Ohio as a second home through Ohio State, we must never forget what happened yesterday.

I know that the Ohio State community is thinking of all those feeling the effects of the shootings, and I can only hope the healing process begins sooner rather than later for Chardon, Ohio.

WHAT'S HAPPENING TO US? ESPN's Eamonn Brennan wrote an article simply entitled: "What happened to Ohio State?"

Brennan mentions what many have been speculating about this team for a while now: This team has no outside game and William Buford is playing horribly when it matters most. We all know it's clear that the Buckeyes miss John Diebler's touch from behind the arch, but Brennan discusses how chemistry and coaching issues could be playing a role as well in OSU's poor play.

Brennan cites Elevenwarriors' Monday Skull Session when he discusses how Thad Matta was forced to kick his team out of practice last Saturday due to lack of effort. He also goes on to question whether the Buckeyes' lack of upper classmen leadership is a factor for the team.

However, as Brennan points out later on, the team's source of frustration mainly stems from their offensive woes. Yes, it's obvious this team has issues off the court that need to be worked out, but the best solution is for this team is to win and play well. It also wouldn't hurt to focus a little bit more on offense.

Thad Matta has not lost his team and there is still time to turn things around. It seems that people forget that Ohio State is playing in arguably the best conference in college basketball and that they are still one of the best teams in the country. It's better that they are having these problems emerge now before the NCAA tournament so that they still have time to turn things around.

Have faith, Buckeye nation, it's not over yet.

BLAST FROM THE PAST. If there is one Ohio State player I miss more than any other, I think it has to be Ron Lewis. His last second shot to tie Xavier in the NCAA tournament in 2007 still gives me goose bumps to this day.

While he is still remembered amongst true fans of Ohio State, it's hard to keep track of where he is nowadays. Today, Ron Lewis plays for Hapoel Holon in Israel. He is playing the best of any Buckeye overseas, averaging 19.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.9 assists, according to Brandon Castel of The-Ozone.net.

Just last night, Lewis was rewarded the opportunity to participate in the Lotto league's all-star 2012 three point contest. It appears as though the talented player from years ago is making his mark overseas and is impressing many. Hopefully one day he gets a chance to play in the NBA because I'd love to see such a great Buckeye's hard work rewarded.

Very few chemistry problems from this crew.

SMALL ARRESTED. Former Ohio State player Ray Small was arrested yesterday evening on a number of charges.

According to police, Small was arrested after being caught in possession of "243 pills believed to be Oxycontin, an undisclosed amount of suspected heroin, some hand-rolled marijuana cigarettes and a loaded 25 caliber pistol."

This isn't Small's first brush with the law as he was also arrested for a misdemeanor of driving on a suspended license in 2007 when he was still with the football program. Small also made headlines by telling The Lantern in an interview about players selling their memorabilia.  "They have a lot (of dirt) on everybody," Small said, "cause everybody was doing it."

Something tells me this recent hit for Small will be much harder to get up from than this one.

BUCKEYE HOOPS. Down goes Ohio State with their recent loss at home to Wisconsin in this week's coaches poll. Ohio State came in at #11 as we near the end of the regular season.

The top five featured #1 Kentucky, #2 Syracuse, #3 Duke, #4 Kansas, and #5 Michigan State. This week, Ohio State will play Northwestern on the road on Wednesday and will cap off the season on Sunday in East Lansing against Michigan State.

This will be a very important week if the Buckeyes hope to gain some momentum before the Big Ten tournament. The Big Ten tournament will begin for OSU on March 8 in Indianapolis.

LOS LINKS. Bo Ryan making me dislike Bo Ryan even more... Samantha Prahalis wins a big honor... What is going on with Davonte Neal... Like NFL like NCAA... Temple all in on the Big East.


Comments Show All Comments

LadyBuck's picture

What happened at Chardon is horrible. I grew up literally minutes away, and it's horrifiying to say the least. Prayers and thoughts to them back home.

As for the basketball team, I'm most worried about Northwestern tomorrow. They always have a way to play closer than we ever expect in Welsh-Ryan. Heck, we almost lost there last year. Plus, if anyone's visited, the students are right on top of the court. It'll be hard. As for East Lansing, well, that'll take a miracle. Who knows? 

Bucks's picture

Sadly, my news ticker is saying a second teen has passed away. Terrible.

dubjayfootball90's picture

Ron Lewis shot almost made me cry. It was so beautiful

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

AC1972's picture

It's funny what, as a fan, you remember most.  I remember exactly where I was and what was going through my head during the end of that game.  It was, "Aww man, we can't lose this way, we can't exit the tourney like this!!!!" and then seconds later I screamed and my eyes did swell..man I love Ron Lewis!

Jack Fu's picture

I don't mean to bag on Danny, and I could be wrong about this, but I feel like a lot of his posts focus on "having faith" and "believing" that the Buckeyes are going to win, in spite of his conceding that there's mounting evidence to the contrary. I have no ill will toward the guy, but that rubs me the wrong way, and I can't really say why. Maybe it's that my understanding of "belief" is to "have confidence that a certain thing will occur," and I think it's just patently silly to blindly believe that the Buckeyes are going to win any particular game given the way they're playing right now. To have confidence that something will occur, I need reasons, or at least more reasons than "there's still time."  "Hope" that they win? Obviously. "Root for them" to win? Equally obvious. "Believe"? Eh, you're losing me there.

With regard to why they are playing the way they are, according to ESPN box scores in the last five games the Bucks have turned it over on 20% of their offensive possessions. That's bad. Offensive rebounding rate and free throw rate have stayed pretty constant, but shooting is down (and it wasn't as good as last year even before the current slide) and turnover percentage is up. I wish there was some way to divide up eFG so it takes into account both 1.) shooting ability, and 2.) shot selection, but alas, there's no such metric that I know of.

Brutus's picture

Why on Earth do you care if Danny is trying to maintain a positive outlook on the season?  He is not telling you what to think, just offering his perspective.  And his perspective is "have faith", because the season is not over and all the players that got us this far are still there, which is a perfectly true statement.  He doesn't say he believes the Buckeyes will win.  In fact, the word belief doesn't even appear in this post.  You cited him as writing it, but he never did.

Not to bag on you Jack Fu, but this post epitomizes what I've grown to despise about our fanbase (just to be clear, I don't despise you.  I don't know you from Adam so please don't take this personally).  Several months ago, we had a Skull Session devolve into 200+ posts about why being optimistic is stupid and homerish and a waste of time.  Those who argue for the fatalistic approach, which as of late appears to be the majority, will say that there is nothing wrong with critical analysis and pointing out the deficiences of the team.  This doesn't make anyone less of a fan.  And I agree with this.  Criticize all you want.  I think we take it way too far and make it way too personal sometimes (Buford), but that's how it is with sports.  However, I have a real problem with attacking someone because he/she remains hopeful that the Buckeyes can turn it around (Jack Fu, I don't think your post rises to the level of an attack, but it happens a lot with other posters...again nothing personal).  If you believe the team is going to lose because they've been playing so badly lately, that's your right.  But don't call me silly for believing otherwise.  Why bother watching a game and cheering if you already believe the game is lost? 

Done with the rant. Jack Fu, I didn't mean to attack you.  I've tried to avoid confrontation on these boards because internets fights are just so damn stupid. I guess I was just looking for a place to vent and this happened to be it. 

Jack Fu's picture

No worries, Brutus.

For pointless perspective, I first noticed this in football season. There was a skull session where the author talked about an upcoming football game (one that the Buckeyes ended up losing), and he pointed out how things were not going great for the Bucks and the other team was playing really well, and on and on, and then at the end was all of a sudden like "I still believe OSU has the better team, so I think we'll win on Saturday." And I was like, "Huh ... okay..." And I've noticed that kind of "faith" and "believe" language several other times. I never commented on it, and annoyance apparently just built up until this one became the proverbial straw that broke my... keyboard?

According to Merriam-Webster, faith, in the context it was used here, is defined as "firm belief in something for which there is no proof," or, alternatively, "complete trust" (FWIW, "belief" has very similar definitions, focusing on "trust" and "confidence" in something). Does anyone really have complete trust in this team? I would venture to say no. Considering the way the team is playing, having "faith" in them is clearly believing in something for which there is no proof (Aside: we could go round and round in circles about whether or not "how the team played in November and December" constitutes "proof" that could justify "faith" in them, which I don't feel like doing. [The counter, obviously, is that how the team is playing now is much more predictive of how they'll play in the next game than how they were playing two months ago.] Just know that I recognize the argument).

I don't care that the author is "trying to maintain a positive outlook." In the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, I will look at such Pollyanna-ism with my head cocked to the side and my eyes squinted, but hey, everyone is entitled to feel how they want to feel.  But the author is imploring others to "have faith," essentially asking others to believe in something for which there is no proof. And that bothers me in basically every single context in which it could ever occur. I have absolutely no problem with being hopeful. My comment in fact says exactly that. I have no problem with optimism; optimism is, when appropriately tempered, a good thing. But optimism based on nothing more than "this is the team I root for, so I have to think they're going to win, regardless of context" is just silly. I need logic. I need reasons. In the face of excessive turnovers, poor shot selection, missed free throws, and more than occasional lethargy, "faith" ain't gonna cut it, at least not for me.

Is this a bunch of wrangling over semantics? Maybe. But I think that semantics are incredibly important given that the backbone of our communication is words and words are just pointless jumbles of letters without the meanings we attach to them.

Brutus's picture

Thanks for the explanation and response.  It's an interesting and very sensible perspective.  And I happen to agree that based on the way things are going, we are not likely to have much success moving forward.  But I read the "have faith" comment a little differently.  Apart from Jakebuckeye, I don't know that anyone around here really believes the Buckeyes will make a deep run in the tournament.  But whether the empirical data supports it or not, I see no harm in trying to maintain a positive outlook with the knowledge that things might not work out that way.  If Danny wrote that he just had a gut feeling that the Bucks would turn it around and everything would be alright, then I too would call BS.  But I think the point is that we still have at least four games left to play (2 regular season, 1 B1G tourney, 1 NCAA tourney) with a team that is very talented and in the midst of a grinding schedule, so there's no reason to pack it in yet.  The sky is the limit with this team.  They just have to get out of their own way.



Colin's picture

Well done Ray Ray. Always knew you would go far, especially after how you played in the Rose Bowl.

cplunk's picture

Congrats to Sammy P. One of the best ever to come to OSU. 

AcrossTheField11's picture

Maybe Ray and the guy who lit him up in that video can share a cell.


Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

slippy's picture

Oh how quickly we forget.


After that Xavier game Ron lewis finished his career 5-22 from 3 PT range.  That included 0-3 in the final four and 0-4 in the championship game.  Another mediocre player remembered for one great shot.  He took a lot of ill-timed 3s that missed.  Made one and everyone loves him.

AcrossTheField11's picture

...made one that kept our asses in the tournament instead of getting bounced in the 2nd round.  And it was on St. Patrick's day to boot.  I'll keep my fond memories of that game.  Ask NYG fans what they think of David Tyree.  Its not that uncommon.  Good points and kudos for a different perspective though.

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

acBuckeye's picture

Mediocre? Lewis was the best scorer on that team, and the guy Thad went to in crunch-time on a team filled with McD's AAs. One of my favorite Buckeye players of all time. The dude was an assassin. When his jumper wasn't falling, he took you to the rack. Quit hatin. He wasn't the reason we lost to Florida..... the defense was.

RedStorm45's picture

or the lack of 3 pt shooting...from anyone.

slippy's picture

7th on the team in FG%, 4th in 3PT (not counting O Hunter's 2/5) averaged under 13 points per game (which was 2nd on the team, I'll give you that).  When his jumper wasn't falling, he took you to the rack, where he missed.


For this season's reference Lewis shot worse from 3 and the field than Buford, worse FT percentage and scored less points per game.  He also grabbed over 1 board less than WB per game.  And there's is nothing but hate for Buford.


Making a few clutch shots does not make up for an entire castle of bricks.


I'm not saying it was his fault we lost against Florida.  Just saying this 'assassin' didn't exactly help on the offensive end.

TNBuckeye1421's picture

At this point what seed do you think we get??? Im gonna still say a 2 no lower than a 3.

TLB's picture

Depends on this week and our first B1G tourney game.  If they don't go well, it could be a 4. If they go very well, it could be a 2.

CoachGrasso's picture

Couldn't agree with you more re: Ron "Lew-Baby" Lewis. He was the lone major senior contributor (Ivan Harris was the other senior) on that amazing 2006-07 squad. He didn't appear to be an overly vocal guy but he led the "Thad Five" by example by playing with intensity on the defensive end and explosiveness on the offensive end. As proved by that youtube video of "The Shot", he also had the elusive "clutch gene". I honestly believe he was the key to that team. If you think about it he paralells Buford in a lot of ways, but unfortunately that comparison highlights the important qualities that Buf has failed to show to this point. Here's to hoping the WB can bottle some of that "Lew-Baby" magic in here in the next month.

Side note on "The Shot": My wife (gf at the time) and I moved to St. Pete, FL in 2006 following graduation. Football season was awesome down in Gator country until (mind erased memory). This game took place on St Patty's Day when we had several friends visiting during spring break. We were at our fav hangout (Courtside in Clearwater) where naturally there were more than a few gator-chompings geared in our direction. After that shot fell, we all did about 10 laps around the bar (and about that many jaeger-bombs), and that quickly became one of my most memorable Patty's Days. In addition, we passed the word about that place to our fellow Buckeyes in the area and I bet we had it 40-50% Scarlet and Gray for the rest of that tourney. Good times.

BTW you can follow Ron Lewis @_Defined_LEW. Nothing over the top just good posts about his recent games and so forth. Here's to Ron Lewis, a real Buckeye!

GABuckeye's picture

I love how Notre Dame officials said that Neal will have his "academics taken care of."  Great choice of words their chief.

RedStorm45's picture

I remember Daquean Cook not being a great part of that "team chemistry," but that was about it.  Looking back...Xavier hits their free throws at the end of regulation, we lose in the 2nd round.  If Tennessee doesn't blow a 20 point halftime lead, we lose in the sweet 16.  Oden/Hibbert didn't pan out in the 1st half of the final 4 matchup beacuse of fouls.  So many things have to go right to have a run.  Granted, guys like Oden, Conley, and Lewis stepped up when the opportunity was there.  Just hoping this year's team can get some breaks.

Pam's picture

If Oden had been called for a flagrant foul instead of a foul, Xavier gets the free throws and gets the ball back and wins the game.

btalbert25's picture

EXACTLY, 2 of my best friends a X fans.  I was watching the game with them, and I even had to admit, X got HOSED on that call.

Pam's picture

If I recall Oden got pretty hacked up and no calls. Maybe the ref's wanted make up for those they missed. When I guy is a big as Greg is, if they bump someone they will go flying, so it is hard to distinguish a flagrant from a regular foul. I think that was one of those calls that could have gone either way.  Just glad it went our way. What really cost X the game was not fouling Lewis before he hit the 3 to tie.

btalbert25's picture

I guess, even as a biased Ohio State fan it was pretty clear to me that the foul was an intentional foul or flagrant whatever they call it these days.  He definitely wasn't making a play on the ball.  I guess it doesn't matter now, but I think 9 times out of 10 that call is goes down and an intentional/flagrant.  I remember telling my buddies, it was BS, but I'll take it.  

NC_Buckeye's picture

MAC is better off without Temple IMO. Temple and UMass Amherst just muddy the conference as football only members.

I'd love for a couple of the MAC schools to go D-I in ice hockey. Ohio Univ and Buffalo have the most interest. (Buffalo was actually trying to work out some kind of facility sharing arrangement with Canisius College or Niagara University at one time.) After them best candidates are Northern Illlinois and Toledo. Of course, they'd have to get Miami and Western Mich out of the NCHC to meet the NCAA conference requirement.

GABuckeye's picture

I think you kind of said it without saying it, but I find it extremely difficult to get Miami out of the NCHC.  That conference is STACKED!!

NC_Buckeye's picture

STACKED is not necessarily a good thing. What do you think are Miami & Western Michigan's chances of making the NCAA tourney with these guys as conf co-members:
Colorado College
Univ of Denver
North Dakota
St. Cloud State

versus these:
Ohio Univ
Northern Illinois

I think the deal breaker would more likely be the possible revenues from NCHC's contract with the CBS Sports Network. Or possibly the exposure from being on a nationwide network.

FWIW I still think that internet streaming is going to replace satellite & cable as the primary delivery vehicle of network broadcasting in the future. If I were MAC commissioner Steinbrecher, I'd be doing a lot of research into creating and implementing a trimmed-down streamable MAC channel.

Incidentally BTN with it's BTN2Go appears primed for this once TVs are more streaming-friendly. 

GABuckeye's picture

You're absolutely right that it'll be much harder to make the tournament against a better conference.  On the other hand, if you play against weak competition, which new schools would offer for the first several years, you don't get any better as a team.  Recruiting is another reason you'd want to be in a better conference.  Kids like to play against the best because it makes them better.  I hate to say it, but the SEC is a great example of that.  

Bottom line, and you said it, is that it's about money.  This will create more revenue for these schools.

NC_Buckeye's picture

College hockey is different. If you have access to a nice facility and hire a top-notch coach, you can be competitive in 2-3 years. Perfect example of this is Nebraska-Omaha. This happens as a result of most of the talent coming out of the junior leagues (only the M-states and Wisky are actually recruiting out of their high schools).

Having said that any of the four MAC schools I mentioned could be competitive very quickly if a rich donor(s) stepped up with money for an arena. Northern Illinois could be the breakout of that batch because their area DOES have highly developed high school leagues which for the most part go untapped.

Which is a good segue for something that's been on my mind a lot lately... it's time for Ohio State to build a hockey-only arena. We're about to become the poor country cousins when the Big Ten starts hockey play in 2013-2014. We're going to get outclassed facility-wise by everyone including the new kids (Penn State).

O-H-I-Owe-U's picture

If a chemistry issue is at the root of this, I hate to see it. Put the team first, guys. Go bucks.

DJ Byrnes's picture

That's been my layman's diagnosis from the handful of games I've watched them play. They're playing like a team who just don't like each other/believe in each other. 

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

buckeyechad's picture

Better buzzer beater 3: Ron Lewis vs Xavier or Evan Turner vs Michigan

I'd go with Lewis just because it kept us in the tournament

buckeyefan927's picture

Well after this year, we won't have Buford, and most likely won't have Sullinger and Thomas (I really do think he will go pro) so unless there are people on the bench that work on their jumpshot/scoring ability overall, next years basketball team could be pretty difficult to watch.

Poison nuts's picture

Damn - hate to say it but ESPNs story was right on IMO...Another thing I've been thinking is that unless turn around pretty quickly - Sullinger might want to consider another year in Columbus. Without the same supporting cast he just isn't quite as good as he looked last year.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

He won't look much better next year when we lose a good* perimeter player and do not gain much in return.  Perhaps if A. Williams improves dramatically, along with the rest of the bench.  Next year could be ugly.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  "We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!"

Poison nuts's picture

I'm thinking the same thing but another year with Sullinger would be better than without...maybe.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

AltaBuck's picture

I thought it accurate as well. 

Strengths: Excellent defensive team, Post Game and athleticism

Weaknesses: Outside shooting, bench offensive production

I would really like to see this team push the ball more often to create more easy baskets. Allowing opponents to set their D in the half court is a huge advantage for them. It seems like, especially versus B1G teams, they are allowing the opposition to dictate a halfcourt game tempo. Push the ball....this team has the atheletes to do so.





I am Groot - Groot

buckeyebell's picture

Right now, this team lacks heart and determination.  That goes along with a lack of coaching.  Don't get me wrong, Matta and his staff trys to do a good job.  However, A) If at this point of the season you have no bench, and have no confidense in your bench, that's on coachs for not using practice time to get the rest of the players ready, and B) If they are not ready, then they aren't as good as advertised, and again that's on the coaches for not making the right decisions on players.  This team is tired, and it shows by their laziness at the end of games.  Other teams look fresher from the 5 minute to go mark on, while we are sucking wind.  If no one steps up to the plate, holds his teamates accountable from here on out, and puts them on his shoulders for what could be a long ride, then this team won't make it out of the 2nd round of the tournament.  They have to remember, when they are pointing the finger at the others, there are at least 3 fingers pointing back.  Look yourselves in the mirror, leave the egos back at the dorm, play for and with each other, and this team can still reach its dreams.  That goes for each player and coach.  No one is unaccountable.