Wednesday Skull Session

By Sarah on February 15, 2012 at 6:00a
48 Comments

Greetings, commenters and lurkers of 11W! I hope everyone enjoyed a lovely evening of Solomon Burke music and Ohio State basketball last night, which is a typical Tuesday for me.

So, just a reminder, today is in fact Wednesday, which might confuse fans of the Dubcast when it posts later this afternoon in a new time slot. Word on the street is that this edition is an early front-runner for the 2012 PodCast Awards. Or, to keep expectations from reaching Sam Thompson heights, I guess it's supposed to be somewhat decent.

After Saturday, when we were all metaphorically hit in the crotch à la Jared Sullinger via Andre Hollins1, it was comforting to watch the Buckeyes play much more competently, especially in a tough environment. Unfortunately, none of the five remaining games are gimmes, so they have to make sure that the team who suited up against the Spartans never sees the light of day again. 

AW YEAH, IT'S BUSINESS TIME. Before last night's contest, Bob Baptist noted that the players acted very serious and determined, like they were on a mission to prove that the Michigan State game was nothing but a fluke.

As Aaron Craft put it, "Any time you lose a game like we did Saturday, you have to refocus. We knew we had to get better, and we couldn't just wave off the loss and act like it didn't happen. It was something we had to accept and move on from. It was good to see our basketball team grow."

William Buford appeared to have a short memory, getting off to an auspicious start that saw him scoring more points in the first few minutes than he did all game against Sparty. That 2/12 performance was followed by a 10/17 one against the Gophers. Besides the opening minutes, he also sparked the team in the second half when Minnesota cut into Ohio State's lead. 

Overall, the senior tallied an impressive stat line: 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. If this Buford shows up every time the Buckeyes take the court, they're near unstoppable. That's especially the case when Sullinger is on his game like he was at The Barn, bouncing back with 23 points of his own. Unfortunately, Buford's evil twin likes to drop by from time to time, which makes it difficult to predict how far this team will go. 

THE SWELL OFFSEASON. Yesterday, Adam Rittenberg talked about which football players he thinks need to step up during the offseason. The three he mentioned were seniors Jordan Hall and Etienne Sabino along with junior Philly Brown.

Besides being the most veteran running back on the team, Hall also has the kind of versatility that Urban Meyer likes to use to his advantage. Though he did not record as many receptions last season as some of us thought he would, no one was hauling in catches at a steady rate2. Hall certainly has the ability to do so, and Rittenberg believes that if he can learn Meyer's system this spring, it could be the offense in which he flourishes.  

Philly Brown has the type of speed that Meyer may be looking for in the Percy Harvin/hybrid role. He battled injuries but came on later in the season, at least as much as a marine mammal-run offense led by a freshman QB would allow. 

On the defensive side, Rittenberg said that while John Simon will no doubt bring leadership to the DL, the linebacking corps needs one of their own to do the same. The 2011 Ohio State defense was not up to the usual Silver Bullet standards, particularly at the LB position. Ryan Shazier is a future All-American, but just a sophomore, he doesn't have the same level of experience as Sabino. Although the senior has not lived up to his hype yet, he's got another year to try, and the best way to start is to take charge of this group. 

Evil Twin Buford should wear an eye patch so we're prepared when he visits. William the Conqueror surfaced last night

ROUND THE WAY THEY CALL ME BUBBLES. We're now in the bubble watch part of the season, and both the BTN's Brent Yarina and ESPN's Eamonn Brennan contend that five teams in the Big Ten are guaranteed to make the Tourney while four still have the potential to do so.

Of the bubble teams, Illinois has lost six of seven. Northwestern falls short every year. Purdue lacks signature wins. And Minnesota's remaining schedule is no cakewalk. They each still have chances to plead their case on the court, and ultimately, Yarina predicts that eight of the squads will make the cut.

At the moment, Jerry Palm includes all nine in his bracket, with the locks as follows: Ohio State (#2 seed), Michigan State (#2), Michigan (#4), Wisconsin (#5), and Indiana (#5). Though he thinks that one or two of the fringe teams will be left out, he also points out, "All nine Big Ten teams in the bracket rate higher in the RPI than every Pac 12 team except Cal."

Hopefully come March, that competitiveness will benefit the B1G in the Big Dance. There's this factor, too:

COACH CONTROL. Speaking of Tom Crean, there are quite a few personalities when it comes to Big Ten coaches in both football and basketball. Well, maybe not Kirk Ferentz. I'm pretty sure that guy eats Wonderbread toast every morning and washes it down with a glass of 2% milk3. And I'm fairly certain Indiana's football coach is just a piece of cardboard with googly eyes attached. Plus, who knows anything about Patrick Chambers, other than his name makes him sound like a bratty rich teenager on a CW show? 

First up in B1G coaching news, Ferentz's BB counterpart at Iowa, Fran McCaffery, helped raise money for the baseball team by autographing the chair he slammed at Michigan State. That display earned him a technical foul and a rebuke from Dr. Claw Jim Delany, but the chair, which McCaffery signed, "Coach With Passion", brought in $2,100. 

The Chicago Tribune's Shannon Ryan writes that Bruce Weber is on the hot seat after the Illini's collapse, similar to the one their football team experienced. Athletic director Mike Thomas is unhappy with the recent turn of events, saying, "It's not a question of being in the tournament. That should be a given. It should be what seed." Whether that means he gets rid of Weber like he did Ron Zook remains to be seen. How Illinois fares these next couple week will determine that.

Meanwhile, details of Bill O'Brien's contract were released yesterday. Joe Pa's successor will receive a $104,000 bonus in his first year if Penn State simply reaches a bowl game. It's an incentive not even included in Urban Meyer's contract, probably because after this season, it's just assumed that Ohio State will always head to a bowl game. PSU's Board of Trustees also revealed that it will consult the Paternos and different groups affiliated with the school to decide how to pay tribute to Joe Pa.

In the Twittersphere, Pat Fitzgerald caught some flack when the following tweet showed up on his account: "Officially on the Jeremy Lin bandwagon. There’s finally an NBA player who plays hard and says the right things off the court." Even though Doug Meffley, who is in charge of social media for Northwestern athletics, accidentally tweeted it under Fitzgerald's name instead of his own, it received quite a bit of attention from people who took it as a slam against Chicago's Derrick Rose.

Basically, it's much ado about nothing, and as much as I love Twitter, that's not out of the ordinary. 

COLLEGE HUMOR. The blog Online Colleges put together a list of what they deemed the 25 funniest college sports traditions. Revered ones like Script Ohio do not fit that description, but the Mirror Lake jump does, coming in at #21.

The mere existence of the Stanford Tree landed at #1, and three Big Ten selections were included in the top 10. Michigan hockey fans, who heckle the other team's goalie by elaborately telling him he sucks, earned the #3 ranking. Surprisingly, their football fans were snubbed. I know I always find their key-jingling LOL-worthy. 

Wisconsin received both the #5 spot, with the overrated "Jump Around"4, and the #10 spot, with the homecoming cane toss, something I had never even heard of before. It involves bowler hats and law students and sounds completely inane, which I suppose is how most traditions seem to outsiders.

IN THE LINK OF A YOUNG GIRL'S EYE. The baseball team is picked to finish fifth in the B1G... West Virginia and the Big East are now divorced... Danny O'Brien could wind up at Wisconsin... How John Naismith and John B. McLendon, Jr. beat segregation... Clear Eyes, Full Parks, Can't Lose... Make it stop, indeed... Every show has an Omar Little... Happy Day After Valentine's Day.

  • 1 Not a foul, by the way. /B1G ref'd
  • 2 In case you had understandably wiped it from your brain, Devin Smith, Philly, and Jake Stoneburner led the team in receptions with 14 each. 
  • 3 I guess you could call him "milquetoast"...I'll show myself out.
  • 4 Unless Malcolm Jenkins is doing it. 
48 Comments

Comments

Denny's picture

Aaron Craft was wearing his business socks... and you know what that means.

Taquitos.

Maestro's picture

but today is Wednesday.  He was a day too early.

vacuuming sucks

Rooster Buckburn's picture

Good to see Buford on his A game last night.  In the words of the immortal David Lee Roth, 'Big bad Bill is sweet William now'.

Doc's picture

Rooster, tell me your a David Lee Roth lead Van Halen fan. With your admiration of the Gipper and VH you could be my new best friend;) j/k, but seriously you could.

"Say my name."

Rooster Buckburn's picture

Best lead man for a band ever!!

Doc's picture

Have you heard the new album? It really does sound like old school VH. It rocks!

"Say my name."

William's picture

Best lead= Robert Plant, easily.

AcrossTheField11's picture

We almost got through the whole article with no Jeremy Lin references... sigh.  I'll try again tomorrow.

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

AcrossTheField11's picture

Hahaha I see what you did there.

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

Luke's picture

This might be the best comment ever in the history of the site.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I don't really follow the NBA, but I did take notice of Floyd Mayweather's idiotic comment that "Black players do what he [Lin] does every night and don't get the same praise." I took a quick glance at Lin's stats and in the last six games (ever since he's been in the starting lineup and logging serious minutes), and his numbers have been at elite PG level: 26.8 pts/game and 8.5 assts/game, although his T.O. average has been high during those six games, at 5.2/game.

Basically, Lin's been "doing what" the likes of R. Westbrook and D. Williams "do every night." Hmmm . . . let's see . . . I don't even follow the NBA, yet how many times have I heard Westbrook and Williams get praised by the NBA hype machine?

Mayweather, I'd say you should stick to boxing, but that's probably why your brain was scrambled in the first place.

awwwwwwop's picture

Considering no person since the merger has scored as much what he did in his first 4 games, I would politely disagree with Mr. Mayweather, and then he would kill me.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

Bam_Childress's picture

Jewemy Rin! Jewemy Rin! Jewemy Rin!

5 ft 9 in - 185 lbs - ALL HEART

Squirrel Master's picture

good comment. I have been trying to hold back about making a comment about Lin but I totally agree with you. It should not be about race but if it is, how about the fact that this kid has to do what he has done over the past 6 games to be even recognized while players from other races get recognized in college and high school. Want to talk about black players getting recognition, how about Lebron James being known when he was 16 and a sophomore in high school. The guy doesn't even play one play in the NBA and he was basically one foot into the hall of fame (in the media's eyes at the time). Lin does something a player has never done before (I seriously can't think of any undrafted, non college stars who have played like this), and it becomes about his race? Mayweather is just wrong. and I hate the fact that he is known for saying this crap to gain publicity for his fights. I have never watched one of his fights and I never will!

Paquiao baby!

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

Denny's picture

Come on, man! Lin is doing what has never been done before -- taking a Harvard business degree and making millions with it.

/ducks

Taquitos.

Squirrel Master's picture

lol. very funny but he hasn't made his millions yet. still under minimum contract.

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

Denny's picture

I like Jeremy Lin because everyone is talking about him and therefore I feel the need to like him to fit in.

Taquitos.

flipbuckeye's picture

I dislike Jeremy Lin because everyone is talking about him, and therefore I feel the need to dislike him to be different.

Denny's picture

Consider this a warning of the coming backlash to your Jeremy Lin backlash.

Taquitos.

dubjayfootball90's picture

That "Silent Night" is actually pretty cool, and funny as well, gave me a good laugh

btalbert25's picture

Did anyone else think the team snapped back too far in the other direction?  It seemed like last night at times they'd make or try to make too many passes.  It also seemed like they were being overly agressive on D.  Over persuing and leaving people wide open.  Don't get me wrong, it was a welcome change from the lazy uninspired effort they gave Saturday, I just think that maybe they were over doing it a bit last night.  I think they could dial it down just a bit and be a better team as a result.  Overall I was pretty happy with last nights game though.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Maybe, but it's easier to get guys who are playing with frenzied intensity to better focus their aggression than it is to get guys who are going through the motions to ramp up their intensity levels.

Same thing with the passing: this team must begin from a foundation of moving the ball quickly and precisely, because they have only two guys who can create their own offense: Buford (when he's hot) and Sully (heck, even Thomas, who is a great scorer, is better when another player initiates the sequence). Once the team is in a good flow, it's then easier for Thad to say, "great ball movement, but when an offensive opportunity presents itself, even if it's early in a sequence, be aggressive at the right times." It better suits this team to start off overpassing, if anything, and then finding the right balance from there, than going into a game with a dribble drive mentality.

No more David Lighty slashing, no more Diebler on the outside. Now, when someone slashes and kicks it out to Craft, Sam Thompson, or S. Scott, those guys aren't deadly from outside.

They now need to get the ball to Sully in a timely fashion and in better spots on the floor, while otherwise constantly moving the ball to capatalize on their supreme athleticism - and they did a good job of that last night.     

If anything, I felt that last night would have been a blowout if only they had been able to make a few more of their open 3P attempts. Both Smith and Thomas were cold from the outside and Buford missed back-to-back uncontentested threes in the 1H. Fortunately, Buford was money last night when he didn't settle for the three and instead ball faked, pulling up for a midrange jumper, or slashing to the bucket.   

btalbert25's picture

I am much more encouraged by the effort shown last night as opposed to the effort shown Saturday to be sure.  Just think they may have lost to a good team last night because of being overly agressive.  I know sounds crazy but they made a few turnovers by trying to make an extra pass.  Easy baskets, whether it's from playing lazy on D or playing too aggressive are still easy shots.  The way Michigan has been shooting the ball of late, we can't afford to have guys getting wide open shots. 

That's all I'm saying.  Great effort last night, but they need to maybe dial down the intesity just a bit.  Sometimes playing too aggressive is as damaging as playing lazy.  Last night was a good game for them though.  Saturday will be a good game too.  I mean it's Michigan, no way you come out flat against them right, even in basketball.

Squirrel Master's picture

They call you bubbles huh? Solomon must have done his magic last night while you were writing this! lol

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7msjs_saturday-night-live-googly-eyes-...

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

The_Lurker's picture

Greetings, commenters and lurkers of 11W! 

 

And greetings right back at ya, Sarah. Thanks for the shout-out.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Now I feel left out, though, because Sarah didn't do a shout-out to the droolers of 11W.

Maestro's picture

By the way I like the little tags next to the usernames.  Helpful.

vacuuming sucks

hodge's picture

Oh man, a Flight of the Conchords and a Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova reference in the same Skull Session?  It's far too early to be making my Wednesday like this!

thatlillefty's picture

You come at the king, you best not miss.

macbraddy's picture

What stood out to me was Buford's rebounding and he had some really nice passes to set up easy baskets. I wonder if he can ever get that fully engaged in a game when his shot is NOT falling. Past evidence says no and he is running of future in terms of being a Buckeye. Let's hope he plays at this high level and we can make a deep run. We can lose to anybody and we can be anybody. Don't tell me Kentucky is invincible, that was us last year.

Go Bucks!!!

btalbert25's picture

I had a friend trying to say Kentucky can't be beat.  I said please, if UK didn't win it all 2 years ago no team they trot out there is a lock.  He said well the cats are definitely the best team right now.  I said you are right and I'll gladly give Kentucky the number 1 overall seed because it seems like the number 1 overall never wins it all and gets the worst bracket of all the number 1 seeds. 

The_Lurker's picture

A Tom Crean coached team beat Kentucky, therefore Kentucky is not unbeatable.

btalbert25's picture

I guess any team that is not undefeated is beatable, but watching some of the championships over the years some teams are just absolutely unbeatable when it comes to the tournament.  Kentucky in 96, about 10 UCLA teams, Carolina a couple of years ago, Florida's last title(they went through the motions until the tournament then boom) 

A fluke 3 at the buzzer on a freshman filled team's first road game of the year doesn't convince me they are beatable.  Especially since, if that shot doesn't fall they are still unbeaten.  What makes me think they won't win it all is their coach has failed to do it with more talented teams, they are loaded with freshman that have never been in the tournament before, they play in a horrible conference, and their PG is easily the worst PG their coach has had in 5 years. 

I don't think they are going to win it all, but I don't think the Buckeyes are either.  I think UNC wins it all personally.  They kind of remind me of their last team who won it all and the last Florida team that won it.  They returned a ton of talent, have underachieved a little, but they are loaded.  I think in the tournament setting the light bulb is going to kick on and they are going to blast through.  I just have a feeling they have been kind of going through the motions to get to March. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

If you're right, will UNC be the first team ever to lose a game by +30 pts yet win it all?

btalbert25's picture

That would take a little homework for me to find out.  I was thinking maybe UConn last year, but did a quick search and though they were only 8-8 in conference play I think they worst loss was 17 or something like that. 

Ethos's picture

someone needs to explain to me how "rubbing a rock" is funnier then throwing a fish on to the ice.

"What do you need water for, Sunshine?!" - Coach Coombs, if you don't love this man, you have no soul.

Bucksfan's picture

Bret Bielema just loves ACC sloppy seconds.

Squirrel Master's picture

I read in the recap of last night's game that Ross is not happy with his PT. He should really not complain. First of all, he knew going in there were upperclassmen that would start ahead of him. Secondly, he was not able to play early on which means he would take longer to get into the flow of the game. I know he is just a young player but maybe he should relax just a bit. He very well may be the starter at SF next year. Buford and Sully are gone. Just need patience.

If anyone should complain it should be Weatherspoon. He has been solid and a worker for this team. He has not shown any reason why he should not be out on that floor more often. I love how he drives the lane. If he could just get some more PT, I definitely see a Vince Carter player.

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

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

I gotta believe that the key to keeping Buford going, like any other player, is getting him touches early. I liked the way the set up screens for him in the early going of the game to get him open looks. That look away pass to Thomas was pretty slick too.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

bukyze's picture

Is it just me, or does Craft pass up way too many open shots.  If he could develop a consistent 3 point shot, he would be unstoppable.  They should also run more isolations for him.  Noone can stop him one on one if he can drive to the basket - he's got a great first step.  He blows by his man, then either runs to a clogged up middle lane and dishes it out, or goes in for the easy layup/reverse layup when the lane is clear.

AcrossTheField11's picture

He would be one of the best, if not the best on-ball defender in the NBA were he to leave college today.  He can also slash and distribute.  Developing an outside shot could make him a top 10 draft pick at some point.  I'd like to think he'll be focusing on that this offseason.

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

acBuckeye's picture

I love me some Craft, but no way will he EVER be a top 10 pick, even if he was a better shooter. Not only can he not shoot, but he would have to work on becoming a better playmaker b/c the NBA game is all about the high pick and roll, and the PG needs to be able to score in order to effectively run that set. I wont argue with his on-ball defense, but he loses his guy off the ball a little too much. I'm just glad we'll have him for two more seasons though b/c i love the guy.

Squirrel Master's picture

I think alot of the players were passing up open outside shots last night. For the stretch near the end of the first half, they were not creating plays but just passing it around a bit too much. I am not one for isolation plays but I do think you need a player on the floor who can and will create his own shot. I have my issues with Buford but at least he will create for himself when needed. Just needs to be more consistant.

 

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

bukyze's picture

I guess "isolation" would be too strong of a word.  Not really the type of isolation game that the NBA is.  Just semi-disguised.  More along the lines of Craft saying to the team with a head nod ' Guys, get out of the way - I've got this chump on me, and  I'm gonna drive around him since there's nothing he can do about it.'  It would be nice for him to have a little more space after he gets by his defender (instead of a clogged lane), even if it is just a couple of times a game.

acBuckeye's picture

Buford drives me crazy this year. In the past, he was so reliable to hit a big shot when we needed it..... then the UK game happened. Now (and i think its b/c he's the only senior), he feels like he needs to do more than he is capable of doing. He presses too much, especially when the team's offense goes cold. He takes unnecessary shots that i don't ever recall him taking. He also is trying to rely on his 3-pt shot more this year (b/c i think he feels he needs to make up for Deibler) instead of using his dribble and his beautiful mid-range pull-up game. Its a joy to watch him execute that, and he's at his best offensively when he pumps and drives, then pulls up for the J.

Last night was a microcosm of his entire season: 1) makes a big shot with the shot-clock winding down to bail his team out. 2) follows that up with a nice defensive stop in the paint, topped off with the defensive board. 3) then inexplicably fumbles a pass away that would've led to a wide-open 3-pt attempt at the top of the key, the easiest 3-pt shot in basketball. 4) proceeds to compound that problem with an intentional foul.

He's maddening this year to watch b/c of what we know he's capable of when he doesn't try to do too much.

Squirrel Master's picture

I can agree with everything you just said. I never really thought Buford was that great of a player. He is just too inconsistant.

I will say this though, seeing that baseline jumper with the clock winding down tells me he may be a sleeper for the NBA. Some of the things he does is what NBA teams want. It just doesn't help as much in college. I would prefer more consistancy throughout the game so he doesn't have to take or make those NBA quality plays. If he can clean it up, this team should not be in close games.

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

acBuckeye's picture

"Though he did not record as many receptions last season as some of us thought he would, no one was hauling in catches at a steady rate."

*Bollman'd*