Wednesday Skull Session

By Sarah on March 21, 2012 at 6:00a

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I encourage everyone to rest up for another weekend of basketball, which tips off tomorrow at 7:15 when Wisconsin and Syracuse battle to take on the winner of Ohio State-Cincinnati, which should begin around 9:45.

While the late start is inconvenient for many folks, I admit to preferring that time, and not just because of my night owl tendencies. Even in this DVR age, I would rather watch my favorite shows live. In case you haven't been paying attention, that includes Community, which returned to delightful demographic ratings last week1.

That also means that between 9-11 on Sunday, no one better bother me because I will be glued to AMC, finally welcoming a new season of Mad Men.

But before that, Ohio State will play at least one and hopefully two basketball games. Doing so, though, will require them to move past the Sweet Sixteen, a goal in which they came up just short the previous two seasons. 

ALL THE CATS WANNA DANCE WITH SWEET LITTLE SIXTEEN. The Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises pointed out that making the Sweet 16 is a difficult enough task, as evidenced by only two teams—Ohio State and Kentucky—being able to accomplish that feat the past three years. However, as the higher seed each time, if the Buckeyes fail to go any further, they will have underachieved again.

In his press conference yesterday, Matta summarized, "Being in this situation is great, but being complacent or satisfied is something that we don't want to do." 

Matta went on to discuss why this year's team may be more equipped for a run, and it goes back to the final week of the regular season when his squad came away with road wins in two close contests. Toughing it out against Northwestern and Michigan State gave the Bucks a bit of confidence heading into postseason play, and their head coach believes it helped them sustain Gonzaga's runs on Saturday. 

The inability to close out their matchups with Tennessee in '10 and Kentucky last season is what cost them a chance to advance. In the past few weeks, they've proven capable of clutch play and may need to do so again to stay alive.

IT IS THE EAST. At this point in the tournament, many brackets are a mess2, meaning it's time to reevaluate predictions about which teams will continue to move on.

ESPN's Jason King re-seeded the Sweet Sixteen and ranked Ohio State just below Kentucky. He considers the Buckeyes the favorites to win the East Region because of Deshaun Thomas' stellar tournament play and the abilities of Aaron Craft and Jared Sullinger to step up when needed. CBS Sports' Gary Parrish, with his choice of Kentucky over OSU in the championship game, concurs 

SI's Luke Winn also gave a Craft a shout-out, citing his recent offensive emergence as a reason why they will win the East in his estimated all-Big Ten Elite Eight matchup between OSU and Wisconsin. 

His colleague, Andy Glockner, is the contrarian who picked Syracuse to survive. If so, that's good news for Jim Boeheim. Glockner thinks that he, along with Bo Ryan and Matta, are under pressure because they are all successful coaches whose teams haven't met expectations during recent tournaments. 

Still, his gamebreaker in the region is Thomas, whose size and offensive prowess could present problems for the Bearcats. Overall, that game is his "intriguing matchup" due to the two schools' proximity3 and history. 

For Matta, though, it doesn't matter who their competition is. As he stated, "This isn't about Ohio State-UC. This is about trying to get to the Elite Eight and have a chance to play for the national championship. That's my motivation with our guys."

Last year's averages: 17.2 points, 10.2 rebounds. This year's averages: 17.4 and 9.1. Hear me now and believe me later...

SULLY SESSION. Yesterday, Sullinger was named to another All-America team, this time the one voted on by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Joining him on the first team were the usual suspects: Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, Doug McDermott, and Thomas Robinson. 

Despite that recognition, Herb Gould of the Chicago Sun-Times believes that people are nitpicking Sully's game rather than showing it the proper respect. When it comes down to it, if the Buckeyes need a bucket, they still want the ball in the sophomore's hands. Like Matta said, "He's a winner. We'll ride that down the stretch."

Although he hasn't dominated yet during the Tourney, he totaled 18 points against Gonzaga, including some key baskets after the Bulldogs tied it up. And Sullinger can always silence the doubters by guiding his team further than the Sweet Sixteen. 

As he told Dana O'Neil, "we've got to get past it, it's as simple as that."

URBAN MATRIMONY AND THE SANDWICH ARTS. Recently, Urban Meyer headed out west to address the ACG Utah conference. While he was there, he took the time to answer a few questions from the Desert News

The former Utes head coach spoke fondly of Utah, but he reaffirmed that his heart belongs in Ohio. He also maintained the importance of molding his players into responsible men:

Q: What do you hope kids get out of playing for you?

A: I hope they develop a sense of selflessness, accountability with teammates and obviously get a great degree and get them prepared for life after football. (The lessons are) important — being a member of a team, having your teammates count on you.

Then, Meyer, Lane Kiffin, and new Penn State DC Ted Roof were asked by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about whether SEC speed4 was fact or fiction. 

According to Meyer:

"I think the SEC's speed is legit. And I can tell you for sure after next year. I haven't had enough experience yet in the Big Ten. Certainly, the defensive front seven is at a different level in the SEC. We went and recruited a bunch of good guys for our front seven this year for Ohio State, so I hope we can catch the SEC."

As long as we don't have to wear jorts, I can get behind that. 

QUARTERBACK RATING. Over at the Bleacher Report's new Big Ten blog, Adam Jacobi ranked the 2012 B1G QBs, ranging from Denard Robinson at #1 to Jon Budmayr5 at #12.

In the two spot, Braxton Miller was listed right behind Denard. Even though he's entering just his sophomore year, Miller improved enough in the second half of last season that with Urban at the helm, he should excel. His stats should only get better so that by his junior season, he'll be one of the nation's elite quarterbacks. 

In other Big Ten QB news, Danny O'Brien visited Penn State and is planning the same at Wisconsin. The graduate transfer out of Maryland is also looking at Ole Miss. Nittany Lions fans have to be praying they land him so they'd be spared another season of "Matt McGloin or Rob Bolden?"

For your daily dose of hate, Michigan is supposedly preparing more packages that involve backup QB Devin Gardner. Offensive coordinator Al Borges won't divulge what sets they're using during spring practice, though there is speculation that Gardner has lined up as a wideout. If that's the case, he better learn how to catch jump balls. 

LINKING ABOUT YOU. The OSU football team getting their community service on... Michigan State and Oregon scheduled a home and home... Five Southern Mississippi band members have been punished for their racist chant... Give the man his high five... At least the shark cooperated... Party Downton... 13 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Do... This dog does not seem to like traveling.

  • 1 I'm pretty sure that's all thanks to last week's Dubcast
  • 2 I'll spare you the details, but guilty. 
  • 3 Matta jokingly suggested the two teams play a future game at the Jeffersonville outlet mall, before reminding everyone for the 500th time, this week alone, that Ohio State has no plans to schedule a series with Cincinnati.
  • 4 Everyone's favorite topic!
  • 5 Wisconsin's QB, in case you couldn't guess by his name. 

Comments Show All Comments

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Nice Skully, Sarah.

. . . there is speculation that Gardner has lined up as a wideout. If that's the case, he better learn how to catch jump balls. 

Perhaps AACC coaches hope that a season of stretching out to catch Denard jump balls will add a couple of inches of height to Devin Gardner, who is listed at 6'4, but 6'6 would be even better.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

From Rob Oller in this morning's CD:

Yates [former UC player and coach] believes some highbrow Buckeyes are scared to put their school’s premier status to the test because they’re not sure what would happen.

What's a good way to encourage the Ohio State University to extend an invitation to UC for the two teams to play more regularly, although it benefits UC much more than Ohio State, and even though members of the UC athletic program previously engaged in hostile actions against Ohio State? I know, insult Ohio State! That should the trick.

BucksfanXC's picture

If only Thad Matta were Marty McFly.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Irricoir's picture

Wow, a lot of mule holes there on twitter, responding to Lebron. Seems like some of our fans are proving that "Myopic, @$$hole comment" true. Let go of the hate folks. There is no room for it as long as we have _ichigan in our lives.

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

Denny's picture

But... but... he was really mean one time by doing that thing on the tv!

You're absolutely right re: letting it go. Being mad at a professional athlete for not living up to our absurd expectations is pretty silly. Responding to his ever-improving trollgaze on the Twitter is sad and childish.

(I'm pretty sure LeBron is one of the greatest trolls of our generation. That, or he has not a drop of self-awareness.)


DJ Byrnes's picture

LeBron doesn't have much self-awareness, but I can't blame him. Product of today's sports society.

And yes, Cavs fans need to come off it. LBJ has always been the affable douche, even when he was wearing the Wine and Gold. (Props to Wizards fans -- the first to realize this.) 

They can dislike him for eternity -- but this petty shit on Twitter has got to stop. Don't get it Twisted -- I'm down to fuck with anybody in the Twitsphere, but there is witty banter and then there is just apeish ignorance. 

It also comes from the same types of people groveling for a RT. 


TLDR; I hate people.

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

awwwwwwop's picture

I think the problem is that it was Lebron who promised to bring a title to Cleveland. It was Lebron who refused to tell free agents he would stay and then left because the team wasn't good enough.  It was Lebron who forced Gilbert to make terrible trades because they couldn't sign any free agents.   It was Lebron who chose not to inform Gilbert before the decision.  These are the problems with Lebron. 

You can't blame a person for wanting to live in Miami and play bball with their friends, but you can blame them for making false promises and citing things that were their fault as reasons to go.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

Denny's picture

Just about every athlete promises a championship. I'm not going to hold that over LeBron's head, because if I did that I'd have to do so with all athletes. 95% of them fall short on promises. Would you rather have a guy who says 'I just want to come to Denver to hang out, maybe ski a bit, and play some football'?

Gilbert didn't make the trades, Ferry did -- and sure, his hands were tied, but he also made the most of what he could. Free agents just don't want to go to Cleveland in general. That's our reality. LeBron's non-commital didn't help, but if he'd have said he was leaving ahead of time the divorce between him and the fans would have been even worse (see: Paul, Chris).

Gilbert just did everything he could to cater to LeBron and enable his big-headedness. LeBron owed him nothing.


awwwwwwop's picture

That isn't the reality.  People wanted to play with Lebron, but they didn't want to be stuck in Cleveland in 2 years with him gone.  If your excuse for leaving is that the team isnt good enough, do what Durant did and do something about it.  I'm really not even mad at LeBron, but LeBron owed more to Cleveland. Screw Gilbert.  People don't ever win trades in the NBA, you end up with guys like Wally Szerbiak as your deadline win if your stars won't help you bring in free agents.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

Baroclinicity's picture

^  This.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Denny's picture

I think it's pretty silly to think that professional athletes owe a city anything. They're mercenaries, nothing more.


DJ Byrnes's picture

Every single person has said dumb shit they never ended up fulfilling. Most of us don't have microphones under our faces when we say them tho.

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

Denny's picture

"You mean you're doing an E! True Hollywood Story on yourself? Sandy, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."


BTwrestle04's picture

Horrible movie aside from Phillip Seymour Hoffman. "Oh, man, I'm so friggin' horny." "I tried to fart and a little shit came out. I just sharted. Now let's go."

yrro's picture

I forget where I read it, but someone smart said that the real issue with the James debacle was it reminded all of us of this truth. Which is a really bad idea when the entire industry *depends* on ignoring it.

Poison nuts's picture


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

btalbert25's picture

I think when all is said and done this year Braxton will be the number 1 QB in the conference.  Denard is a dynamic play maker, but not much of a QB.  Braxton will be both a dynamic play maker and very good passer when all is said and done.  I think we'll see a much improved Braxton Miller this season.

Maestro's picture

Fingers crossed on the very good passer part.

vacuuming sucks

Baroclinicity's picture

I think we saw the potential there.  He threaded some nice ones.  I'm not too worried, despite some of the ducks that were chucked early on.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

btalbert25's picture

Urban has commented a few times about how well he throws the ball.  I'm optimistic about it.

Bucksfan's picture

When does that "Everyone plays 1 Pac-12 game a year" start?  Is the Oregon-Michigan St. part of that?

Squirrel Master's picture

Braxton is a much better passer than Denard already. He has his misses but overall, a much better ball. I feel pretty good in saying Braxton is alot like RG3. Similar height, talents.

I'm sorry, I disagree with that link about "Money for Nothing". It does not condemn musicians from the 80's. It glorifies them as what blue collar workers wish they were doing. Yes it does use the repeated word fa**ot, which is horrible but at the time wasn't considered a bad word. But the author left out the most important part between "that ain't workin" and "Money for Nothing and your chicks for free", the line "that's the way to do it". Yes musicians at the time were considered odd and different but everyone wanted to be a rock star! If you could get paid mad money, rock out for a job and get laid by the hottest groupies, "if that is torture, chain me to the wall!"


I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Joe Beale's picture

In fact, "Money For Nothing" was written when Mark Knopfler was visiting an appliance store and heard some yahoo popping off about whatever singer he was watching on MTV. Knopfler wrote down what the guy said and made it into a song. I saw him tell the whole story on an interview once. In fact, this is so well known that I'm surprised the guy writing this story didn't know it.  Oh well.

joel121270's picture

Man, talk about going back in the way back machine. I was in high school when this came out and everyone loved it....awesome memories!

timdogdad's picture

joe is that 12 12 70 your birthdate? i'm around there too. i remember listening to brothers in arms on "cassette" real well.   on that note-hey sarah,  i have a feeling 80's big hair is coming back. i've seen a few examples. 

Joe Beale's picture

I still have my old "Brothers in Arms" cassette. I can remember listening to it as I was pulling into the Polo Grounds to park for an OSU football game in the fall of 1985 back when it was all over the radio. Great memories.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

The anticipation of watching THE new Ohio State offense and what Braxton can actually do when utilized properly is probably going to cause some sleepless and giddy nights for the Buckeye Nation!  The fact that even with the most anemic offensive game plan, horrid QB coaching and guidance, the kid just flat out played far above what he should have been able to achieve.  His errant passing was a direct result of lack of coaching, terrible play calling, and a total lack of throwing practice and game reps.  All of that will change now and we are going to see a much different Braxton in the upcoming years!!!  Going to be great to watch!!!

As for the Buckeye BB team - I can only say I am cautiously optimistic that we can beat up on UC and advance.  I am hoping the team continues excelling and that Buford actually gets his shot back!!!  GO BUCKEYES!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Poison nuts's picture

Great link on the song lyrics. I never listened to Brown Sugar close enough to know it was about rhe rape of slaves...

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

acBuckeye's picture

I was surprised Under the Bridge wasn't on that list.

acBuckeye's picture

The Kevin Love .gif was sheer greatness.

Urban makes a great point: what has separated the SEC from everyone else (besides more-than-normal shady practices and oversigning) is not the "speed" from the skill positions like the idiot talking-heads would try to convince you. Everyone has fast receivers and running backs. Where the SEC has the edge is on the defensive front, and quite frankly, the head coaches. This is why Urban has made the O-line and D-line a priority.

phxbuck's picture

I agree AC, Alabama (and the SEC) has been dominant due to their O-Line & D-Line.  Nick Fairley in my opinion single-handedly won Auburn that National Championship 2 years ago and the O-Line for Alabama this year and in 2009 were incredibly dominant.  They didn't win with superstar QB's that could run around but QB's that had days to pick apart the D and a consistent running game.  

Baroclinicity's picture

Threadjack:  Sean Payton suspended for the season and Tebow to the ... Jets?

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Lampidudelj's picture

I would like to point out that Buckeye fencing team (ranked No 1. mens, No 2 - womens) is starting a quest for schools third National championship tomorrow on the home turf!!! For the next four days come and support our team -