Wednesday Skull Session

By Sarah on March 14, 2012 at 6:00a
25 Comments

Happy pre-NCAA Tournament Eve, everyone! Granted, the First Four action has already started, producing March-like results, and it will continue tonight when Lamar and Vermont face off, followed by California vs. South Florida.

But what we're all really waiting for is the Round of 64, which begins tomorrow afternoon at 12:15. By Sunday evening, you'll see basketball every time you close your eyes and then go through such serious withdrawal, that you might be tempted to watch the CBI the next day. That is, if you even get whatever channel that airs on.

Before we get to the news of the day, please allow me a little self-promotion. I filled in for Luke on this week's Dubcast, which will post at 1pm today. It was my first time in the podcasting game, and I haven't actually listened to it, so it's possible that Johnny dubbed over everything I said with sound clips from The Simpsons.

I can't promise that I said anything of much substance, since I chickened out about naming my Final Four picks. After all, I can't decided these matters until 4am hits tomorrow. What I can promise you is that, more than once, I tried to make a joke and then just trailed off and muttered something nonsensical.

One topic we did discuss, though I doubt we reached a definite conclusion1, is how the Big Ten will fare in the Big Dance. It was obviously the toughest conference this season, but how will that translate to the NCAA Tournament? 

PROVE IT ALL NIGHT. Writing about that very subject, Doug Lesmerises points out that the B1G leads all other conferences with five of the top 16 seeds. To prove their bona fides, the league needs to accomplish something none of its teams did last year: get past the Sweet Sixteen. 

There's no question that the style of play in the B1G is more of the knockdown-dragout variety, and as Evan Ravenel confirmed, "It was almost a culture shock when I came in. The Big Ten is a way more physical league from the ACC. It's a lot different."

In the Tourney, that usually means fouls that go uncalled during conference season suddenly receive a whistle, which can be good news for players like Jared Sullinger and potentially dangerous for ones like Aaron Craft. More up-tempo games are probably also on the horizon, and the teams with the best shot at advancing are those who can maintain their defensive efficiency while also keeping up with an opponent who likes to push the ball. 

It remains to be seen whether the rigors of the Big Ten season prepared the teams for what they will encounter this weekend. They're off to a good start in the NIT, anyway. 

YOU KNOW THE DEUCE IS STILL WILD. Even before yesterday's news that Syracuse center Fab Melo can't play in Tournament, Ohio State was Vegas' Final Four pick out of the East Region. In fact, they are just behind Kentucky as the favorites to win the championship.

Nate Silver, statistician extraordinaire, also gave Ohio State similar odds, which only increased after Melo was declared ineligible. Before he and British PM David Cameron two-bros'd their way around Dayton, the president joined in, filling out his bracket with Ohio State in the Final Four, along with Kentucky, Missouri, and UNC2.

Draymond Green: B1G Player of the Year, All-American, Rockette. This is not a foul in the Big Ten

The computers showed the Buckeyes some love, too. A simulation based on Jeff Sagarin's ratings agreed with Vegas that UK and then OSU have the best chances to emerge as champs. Those are also the top two teams in Ken Pomeroy's ratings

For those who are comforted by math, let me throw some cold water on you and remind you that last season, Ohio State had pretty good odds to win the title. Hope you meet the same fate, Kentucky3.  

BUT THE FIGHTER STILL REMAINS. Two weeks from today, spring practice begins for the football team. Yesterday, Urban Meyer spoke to the media, and as relayed by BSB's Jeff Svoboda, Meyer called the offseason "excellent" and outlined what's in store:

"Every Wednesday and Saturday in spring (after the first week) there will be a winner and a loser when you leave the practice field," he said. "It's a competition. Once again, it's creating environments and situations where I want to see who the fighters are and who the guys are who are going to compete.

"There will be rewards at the end of the day. You can get off the field with Gatorade if you win and if not, you drink out of a water hose and do some running. That includes the coaching staff."

 

In addition, Meyer informed the press that after these practices are finished, the depth chart will be decided, rather than waiting until fall. By then, the new coach prefers to focus on games, not who will be starting. That makes it tougher for freshmen to crack the two-deep, although six members of the '12 class have been at Ohio State since January and three more—Taylor Decker (OL), Se'Von Pittman (DE), and linebacker Luke Roberts (LB)—will enroll this spring. 

So far, the group Meyer seemed most bullish on was the tight end corps. He was impressed with Jake Stoneburner's speed and hoped that he'll help answer the question mark about who will catch passes. As for other receivers, he's also happy with the work Philly Brown has put in during the offseason. 

HERMAN'S HEAD. In an interview with the Plain Dealer, offensive coordinator Tom Herman detailed his philosophy and what he expects from the '12 Ohio State offense. In short, "We're going to be a [shot]gun, spread, run-oriented football team that has tremendous balance through the play-action pass."

Even though establishing the run first is a basic tenet of the Scarlet and Gray system, changes will occur, such as a quicker tempo and no-huddle look. The players will have to adjust accordingly, but they must be ready for Braxton Miller to line up under center at times, too.

While a power running game is still imperative, Herman does not appear to have much faith in Dave, saying, "if you have the ability to go under center, there are a few things that open up to you, but I think you have to be creative in the way that you do it." Otherwise, it's too easy for defenses to stop.  

With an offense that may lack playmakers, Herman wants the ball in Miller's hands and doesn't seem too worried about possible injuries because of the prevalence of mobile quarterbacks these days. If he's not 100%, they'll make the necessary tweaks to the playcalling to avoid him getting hit too much. If he's healthy, they'll do what many of us clamored for all last season: turn him loose. 

LET THE GIRLS BE GIRLS. Slam Online recently profiled Buckeye point guard, and Big Ten Player of the Year, Samantha Prahalis. Dazzling onlookers with her basketball skills since childhood, the B1G's career leader in assists admits that her brazen style is somewhat polarizing. However, what matters most to her is making plays. Or, as she put it, "I ain't no circus—I'm a basketball player."

She backed that up with the numbers she posted this season, averaging 20.1 points, 6.4 assists and 2.2 steals. Unfortunately, the senior's Ohio State career probably won't last much longer. Although their opening round takes place at nearby BGSU, if the Lady Buckeyes can get past Florida on Sunday, they will then have to meet undefeated Baylor, the number one overall seed. 

Upset that his squad received an 8 seed, Jim Foster complained, "In 26 years of being involved in this tournament, this is the most egregious thing I have witnessed." Ohio State finished the season with a 25-6 record, and eight of those wins came against the RPI top 50. Dooming them, perhaps, was the Big Ten's weak reputation in women's hoops. 

YOU LOOK LIKE YOU NEED A LINK. Athlon Sports breaks down the Big Ten football schedule... Members of the OSU women's lacrosse team were evaluated for rhabdomyolysis... John Groce could be a candidate for the Nebraska job... Former UNC safety Deunta Williams would like the NCAA to go after the SEC... You can stream the new Shins album on iTunes... Troll penguin... Hey McFly... Community's Law & Order intro4.

  • 1 I'm really selling this Dubcast, aren't I?
  • 2 Acceptable: I agree/disagree with the president's Final Four picks. Unacceptable: I agree/disagree with the president's policy on [divisive political issue that no one can talk reasonably about on the internet]. 
  • 3 According to Mike DeCourcy, "what happened to Ohio State last year was as much a product of really bad bracketing by the committee as it was anything else."
  • 4 It returns tomorrow at 8, meaning it won't air opposite of OSU's first round game vs. Loyola. Let's reward a show that takes chances, often to successfully hilarious heights, by actually watching it. Network TV needs programs that don't always play it safe. 
25 Comments

Comments

Buckeye414's picture

Another key point is that Fragel Rock is over 300 pounds now.  Excited to see him at Otackle.

-Go Bucks!

FutureBuckeye's picture

It's unfortunate that the Ohio State women's team was snubbed an eighth seed. A silver lining for me however, is that they play 20 minutes from where I live. (I live in Toledo) It will be tough to beat Florida, but our ladies are more than capable.

Is anyone else a little wary about everyone has us winning the East region? It seems, to me anyways, that when the pressure is on, we don't perform in the tournament the way we could. To me, WB is the catalyst of this team.

I really like Urban's idea of having "winners & losers" in practice. This should definitely push the players (& coaches) & make for a more intense workout. I can't wait to see this team's spring game! But for now, let's worry about the NCCAB tournament! Go Bucks!

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Not worried about experts and/or fan polls picking Ohio State in the F4. The Buckeyes just came out of a highly-pressurized grind in the best bball conference this year, in which they got humbled on several occasions. 

If they do the little things right and shoot at least moderately well, they can beat all but a few of the top teams. If they do the little things right and shoot well, they have a shot at all the marbles.

If anything, pressure and attention should only help this team refocus its attentions on those little things. I don't see this team's inconsistencies as having been a product of them panicking under the spot light; rather, they lost their intensity, edge, self-discipline at times.

Yeah, the way this team is constructed, they'll go cold at times, a la the 2H of the B1G championship game, at which point they'll be vulnerable to the really good teams no matter how well they do the little things. But when they're playing intense, well-rounded bball, their margin for error is wider than it was three weeks ago. They'll get plenty of easy shots in the first few rounds, for example, and will find that guarding offensive attacks from the likes of Gonzaga/WVU and FSU/Cincy is a lot easier than checking Purdue or Indiana, and then they'll start feeding off their own frenzy. 

The biggest risk I see is that they make it to the sweet 16 round iafter utterly destroying their first two opponents and enter next week feeling a bit superior and thus veer toward complacency again. But it won't be because experts picked them before the tournament started; it will be because they're hyping themselves, in their own minds.       

FutureBuckeye's picture

I understand & agree with what your saying whole heartedly. I still have the Bucks in my Final Four, but sometimes pressure is a negative thing. For example, the Eagles of last year. Now, I know it's two different sports completely & they didn't have much time to gel, but there has been reports & even players saying at some points, this team loses focus & their chemistry lacks. Agreed, I know they have not "choked" in the spotlight because of added pressure this year, but I mean I just hope they don't try to over do themselves, if that makes sense? I don't want them to overlook the little things & try to get "pretty" wins. I'm not saying they will do that, just hoping it doesn't. But again, I am a sort of pessimist around this time of the year.. Playing in the best basketball conference definitely will help us in the tournament & if we play like we did in the B1G Ten championship tourney (excluding the 2H against MSU) then this team will be fine.

Poison nuts's picture

I like that everyone has us going to the final four...

I don't like that everyone has going to the final four...

Football coming!

Ohio takes out M*chigan in the tourney. Fact. You can go ahead & put money on it...

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

flipbuckeye's picture

Nice Herman's Head reference.

btalbert25's picture

Everyone should have the Buckeyes in the Final Four, they are the best team in the bracket.  If they play like t hey did last weekend, they'll be in the Final Four. 

I have this feeling that Urban and the Buckeyes are going to stomp everyone next year.  I'm jacked up and ready to bust some skulls just reading about how he is preparing this team. 

Squirrel Master's picture

Vincent D'onofrio is a twisted actor. Great in FMJ and was still wacked as a cop in Law and Order. Love him!

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

klfeck's picture

Been there done that

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

Maestro's picture

Happy Humpday everyone!! (two exclamations FOREVER)

vacuuming sucks

ArTbkward's picture

And Happy Pi Day!

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...
(Also, I'm not a dude)

Maestro's picture

Pi day falling on a Humpday is certainly a sign of something right?

vacuuming sucks

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Because it's pi day, does that give the nerds from Cal (Berkeley) an advantage over South Florida? 

flipbuckeye's picture

I believe you mean space and two exclamations !!

Maestro's picture

Thanks for understanding flip.

vacuuming sucks

thatlillefty's picture

B1G with a very weak OOC schedule this year. Only that school up north playing a real prime time game.

timdogdad's picture

quick question, with the spring game expecting basically as many fans as a regular game, will they have parking at the oh historical center off of rte 71? with the shuttle bus?  i like that better than coming down 315 and parking around there.  thanks 11 dubsters  

playing in the big ten will help us now. it will give sully a number of more free throws in the tourney.  we're used to wrestle ball and only a take down gets called for a foul.  lets let sully pound it til they stop him.   

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

When I'm in Cbus for games, I generally can find parking on/near Summit.  Less than a mile from the stadium.

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

Denny's picture

Six seasons and a movie.

Taquitos.

osubuckeye4life's picture

I love Urban's Philosphy on Football. 

Granted, it's March Madness and I'm all about bball until the Spring game. 

 

Definitely, a weak ooc on paper. The conference schedule has some tough ones at East Lansing, Happy Valley, Camp Randall and of course The Game.