Wednesday Skull Session

By Sarah on March 28, 2012 at 6:00a

Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, cats and dogs. Since the last time we Skull Sessioned together, the Ohio State basketball team won two games, just as they had done the previous week.

Let's keep that streak alive, shall we?

I trust everyone has firmed up their plans for this weekend. Although I will not be traveling to New Orleans, unless I suddenly win a contest that I didn't enter or the Mega Millions lottery that I didn't play, I have been singing Fats Domino the past few days1.

And if anyone happened to pick the correct lotto numbers, we're still taking donations for a couple more days so we can hire a full-time beat writer, someone who would be wonderfully busy today trying to cover both the basketball team's departure to the Final Four and the first day of spring football practice.

For those of you in Columbus, if you want to help send off the Buckeyes, hit High Street today, from Woodruff to West 11th, at 5:15. 

While Jared Sullinger was probably right when he said, "We're never going to beat Urban Meyer. He brought the most buzz to Columbus, Ohio, in a long time. Big ups to coach Meyer", it would be nice if fans could also prove him right when he added, "I think the buzz we've brought to Columbus, Ohio, with being known as not only a football school but a basketball school, is great." 

But if Sully wants to try to top the Urban chatter by bringing home a national championship, then I think he should do just that.  

IN THE SIMPLEST TERMS, IN THE MOST CONVENIENT DEFINITIONS. Ever since Thad Matta's first trip to the Final Four five years ago, hoops aficionados have bemoaned the lack of attention the basketball team has attracted compared to their football brethren. At this point, it shouldn't need to be stated that Buckeyeland has room for both. Sports is not in the monogamy business.  

In fact, Doug Lesmerises brought up that in the past decade, 11 schools have made the Final Four more than once. Ohio State is one of them, as are Kansas, Kentucky, and Louisville. And yet, Matta still has to remind everyone, "over the course of the last few years, this program has identified itself.”

Ohio State has plenty of tradition in basketball, but a lot of its most recent success can be traced back to the 2006-07 squad. That team was more talented, and at once more experienced and younger, than the current one. Nevertheless, there are similarities between the two: the All-American center, the relentless point guard, the streaky shooter. The chemistry between Sullinger and Craft, who played together on the AAU circuit, is akin to the one that Oden and Conley shared2

What Oden, Conley, and company helped do was shine a national spotlight on Ohio State basketball, which is of course beneficial in the recruiting game. Another trip to the Final Four, which the students gobbled up their tickets for, boosts the perception that this university is more than its football team, even if that's what will garner more headlines. 

Or to put it another way: 

"That's kind of how you gauge where your program is," Craft said. "It is a lot about winning, but a lot of it is based on how many Final Fours you can get to. Hopefully some younger kids like we were can watch us and see us having fun and playing basketball like it's supposed to be played and just enjoying our time."

BRING IT ON HOME TO ME. Despite some bumps and bruises along the way, Ohio State ended up where many thought they would at the beginning of the season. They now have the chance to earn the school's first basketball national championship in over 50 years. It won't be easy, but they can do it, especially if they channel their ruthless, revenge-minded side.

Jeff Goodman breaks down both why they will win the title and why they won't. According to him, their strengths lie in Sullinger and their "sharing is caring" ability to pass the ball. However, what could hinder their title aspirations is that their star will have to go up against other elite big men, first Thomas Robinson and then potentially Anthony Davis or Gorgui Dieng. The athleticism of those opposing players could cause him problems.

Craft's inimitable defense will also be key:

The team may need his offense as well if other players aren't making shots.

Speaking of Buford, if he struggles like he did last weekend, when he went 4/20 from the floor, then that could spell doom for the Buckeyes. It may sound obvious, but the best way for him to deslumpify is to get him open shots. In the tournament, he has only connected on 3/23 contested shots and is 10/26 on uncontested ones, including 7/16 from distance.

I hope he gets to tell the deer in his yard, "Hey fellas, Buckeyes won the national championship."Let's see this again on Monday

LIVIN' ON THE EDGE. As it should be for two teams facing off this late in the tournament, when examining the skill at different positions, Ohio State and Kansas are on the same level. SI's Rob Dauster did just that, looking at who has the edge in certain categories. 

Dauster claims that Ohio State own the advantage at small forward and power forward. Erratic though he may be, when he's on, Buford has the ability to shoot better than his counterpart, Travis Releford. At PF, Deshaun Thomas has been nearly unstoppable in March, averaging 22.3 21.75 points in the Big Dance. He's tough to guard for any team, and Kansas will have to decide if they want to put Robinson on him or perhaps Jeff Withey or Kevin Young.

On the other hand, Dauster gives the Jayhawks the nod with their bench and coach. Like OSU, Kansas doesn't receive a ton of production from the bench, but Young and senior Conner Teahan are fairly significant, especially if Young can match up against Thomas. 

Every other position, including center, are considered even. And while everyone wants to see All-Americans Sullinger and Robinson battle one-on-one, it's possible that Withey, who has a few inches on Sully, could guard him instead.

REDEMPTION SONG. In December, when Sullinger was out with back spasms, we were denied watching him take on Robinson. As the sophomore sat on the bench, he was powerless to help as the Jayhawk junior scored 21 points in Ohio State's first loss of the season. Now, he'd like nothing more than to make up for that:

“I felt like I could have helped the team overcome the 10-point leads … the times when we had it down to four points, and we had a turnover or didn't score a basket. I felt like everything was my fault. I’ll take that as a little bit of motivation going into New Orleans and getting ready to play Kansas."

Even so, Sullinger's injury allowed Evan Ravenel and Amir Williams to put in valuable minutes. That experience came in handy against Syracuse, when Sully went to the bench in the first half with foul trouble, and could be important again.  

SPRING AWAKENING.  With the kickoff of spring practice, it's finally time for Urban Meyer to start roaming the football field again. The Dispatch's Tim May and Bill Rabinowitz discussed what they expect from his group in the offseason.

There are a lot of question marks on the OL, and because of that and the high praise Meyer has heaped on him, May believes that recently enrolled Taylor Decker has a chance of making an impact. Receiver is another position that needs player to step up, and like everyone, they think it's definitely time for Ohio State to utilize their TE talent3. Besides Stoneburner, who should become a focal point of the offense, back-ups Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett have also excited their new coach.

While the DL is loaded with returning players and five-star recruits, there's a little more uncertainty at linebacker. Ryan D. Shazier will only add to his collection of souls, but whether Etienne Sabino and Storm Klein can improve, or Curtis Grant can contribute, remains to be seen.

Despite their issues last season, Rabinowitz anticipates an improved secondary, even if Kerry Coombs, pumped as he is, was the 52nd cornerbacks coach to be hired. 

Both writers are curious to witness Meyer's competition-based practices, and Zach Boren's comments on the matter only amplify that:

"As intense as the offseason conditioning drills have been, the spring drills will be even more intense," Boren said in a press release. "There is no on-off switch. Everyone will be going full-go every play. It is going to be a physical spring with everyone putting everything on the line."

Maybe the spring game, on April 21st, will be a little more interesting than usual.   

A NOD IS AS GOOD AS A LINK. Tyshawn Taylor does not like domes... Evan Turner approves if John Groce is hired at Illinois... Minnesota will play in the NIT finals...  Purdue's Ishmael Aristide's campaign ad for student body president... The Wire wins this bracket... Belle & Sebastian cover the Primitives' "Crash"... *Phew*... Twins!

  • 1 That is, when "Zou Bisou Bisou" hasn't been stuck in my head. *shakes fist at Megan*
  • 2 Not only does Craft feel comfortable telling him what to do and vice versa, he also plays grammar cop to Sullinger and their other teammates. According to Craft, "I do correct their English because I'm trying to prepare them for a situation where they might be with someone important and they don’t want to have the same mistake there." I hope he's now ready to receive this card from his many adoring fans. 
  • 3 For real this time! But, like, actually for real. 


buckeyedude's picture

Basketball is a finesse game(at least it's supposed to be), just as golf is.  I've watched Buford shoot the ball, and he gets tight. I think his nerves get the better of him. When he's thinking too much, he gets tight and his shooting mechanics suffer. Same thing happens to me on the golf course.

Just relax, Willie.

Just my opinion, but if I was Matta, I would have Buford shoot jump shots for two hours non-stop, just to get into a rhythm, before the game.  

Wish I was in C-bus today to see the boys off! Go Buckeyes! Beat the Jaybirds!



Orlando Buckeye's picture

Trade his Gatorade for beer. Cmon, he's a senior.

buckeyedude's picture

I think you're on to something there. A beer before the first hole works for me on the golf course.



GABuckeye's picture

He should try reading the articles in Playboy or something a la Rube Baker!

Squirrel Master's picture the ball buford! be the ball!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

March Madness is one of the greatest sporting events ever. It's exciting and fun to watch. I can't put into words how much more fun it is to have the men's basketball team competing in the Tourney and having a legit shot on an almost consistent basis. Matta has done that for the Buckeyes and our fans repay him by liking the football team but rooting for (insert some other team other than OSU) for basketball, which I just can't fathom. Not trying to attack anyone's personal opinions or beliefs, but I'm a Buckeye. Not just a Buckeye for football. I don't understand how someone can arrange things in their thought process that allows them room for anything that pulls away from Ohio State. I could understand rooting for a different team if you have a loved one on an oppossing team. Maybe if you grew up in a different state, but do it for all sports, right? Just pulling for Ohio State when they are playing football seems rather bandwagon to me. It seems like such betrayal. Again, not trying to attack anyone, just trying to gain an understanding and trying to explain how I perceive it.

Maybe if OSU wins it all, you can drop your "other" team?

LadyBuck's picture

Amen. I'm a Buckeye for every sport, every season.

awwwwwwop's picture

Agreed.  For a long time, I only wanted to be a Jayhawk, but when it came time to write applications, I filled out one, sent it to The Ohio State University and I never looked back.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

buckeyechad's picture

Going to highschool in Pittsburgh it was amazing how many people rooted for penn st. in football and pitt in bball even though they're supposed to be 'rivals'... actually, thinking about psu's bball team it kinda makes sense

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

That's what is typicall referred to as jumping on a bandwagon, right?  State Penn football is good, root for them.  Pitt basketball is good, root for them.  It appears to an outsider that folks will root for whoever is winning. 

LABuckeye's picture

It is just a matter than a subset of the Ohio State fanbase could care less about the school. They are fans that see the Ohio State football team as something akin to the Cleveland Browns: they are just a team, and nothing more.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

With saying that the OSU men's basketball team is like the Cavs?  Do people in Cleveland only root for the Browns, and not the Tribe or Cavs?  I know a few that don't, but I would guess that the vast majority pull for all three.  I've never lived in Cleveland, only been to a dozen or so games in Browns Stadium and whatever they are calling Jacobs Field now.  Most fans seem to root for all three.

timdogdad's picture

when i was in college, the osu bball team was pretty popular. '90-92 with jimmy jackson, the #2 ranking, big ten titles, etc.  while the football team was getting blown out in '91, and herby was the qb(ha).  those years were just sort of bland for football. '93 was the year the team took off and all of the talent came in.    i've always been as big of a bball fan as football. the bball season is almost more enjoyable because you can afford an early season loss.  it's fun to keep the good vibe going through the two sports all the way from sept to now.  it's a high time now folks-our possible 5th championship game appearance and the urban meyer era starts today.  awesome!  plus it drives mark may and the haters crazy.  all they want is osu to be an average program and we're actually ramping up to be even more successful. face it haters osu is the power school in america in the two major sports. or along with fla-4 titles in 2 sports.   

Irricoir's picture

Fan of The Ohio State Buckeyes, Cleveland Browns, and Cincinnati Reds. Am I only allowed to choose one city when looking at a representative for our state? I may be different than a lot of folks out there or I may be the same. I don't know. I love the state of Ohio because it is where I was born and raised. For half of my life I have been removed from the state and wish I could return, if the jobs in my field weren't diminishing. I have always followed the Buckeyes and loved that team. I am in the south and oddly my desire to see the Buckeyes become more dominant on the national scene has continued to intensify every year. I choose Ohio State university because they represent what I love. I choose the Cleveland Browns because it was always my fathers favorite pro team and I grew up cheering for them because it pleased my father. Eventually, I started believing it for myself and got excited for them on my own. I also grew up a huge fan of the 80's Reds. Rose, Larkin, Bench and the list goes on. They had great players and I enjoyed watching them play. Maybe as a kid, I picked the more successful team at that time, but for me it was more about the players on that team that i wanted to emulate. Judge a kid for that if you want but my loyalties have never wavered. I guess what I am asking is why is it not okay to be a fan of different cities/teams in your state? I get it that if you were a student at a school then why would your loyalties flip? That is not the point in my case and all three teams I mentioned are in different venues too.

(Edit-I lived just a tad south of Columbus, virtually half way between Cinci and Clev)

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

Irricoir's picture

Btw, in the college atmosphere I choose the Buckeyes in everything. I follow the wrestling team and keep up with the updates on all of the other sports. Anytime we are crowned conference or national champions at anything, I am quick to copy and paste and send that out to all of my friends down here. I couldn't tell you the names of anyone on the synchronized swim team or fencing team but I am proud of the athletes and the work they do in representing our school and state. The response I get? If it ain't football, I ain't interested. Pointedly, after Florida beat us in the national championship at Basketball, they seemed to care an awful lot about it then. Simple fact is that if they aren't good at something like Wrestling or Basketball then it is irrelevant to them down here.

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

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

I guess that's a better point than the one I was failing to make.  It's not like the Cleveland Browns have a basketball team and a baseball team.  But Ohio State does.  

ArTbkward's picture

"I choose the Cleveland Browns because it was always my fathers favorite pro team and I grew up cheering for them because it pleased my father."

^This is why many, many of our loyalties fall the way they do.  I'm also a casual Browns-Reds fan because those are my dad's favorites teams, the same ones that were on all the time while I was growing up.  The Bengals didn't exist when he was a kid, so by default of state loyalty the Browns were the only option.  I'm much more passionate as a Buckeye fan although that was never a hard choice for me-  I was raised by two native Ohioans, in Ohio and graduated from Ohio State.

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

(Also, I'm not a dude)

RC's picture

I also have teams spread out across the country because I have lived in various places across the country.  Broncos fan in football, Royals fan in baseball (and that could NEVER be considered a bandwagon pick), and a Bulls fan in the NBA.  That's just the way it is I guess when you move around as a kid.  But in college sports it is just OSU and KU.

Denny's picture

'I choose the Cleveland Browns because it was my fathers favorite pro team and I gret up cheering for them because it pleased my father.'

I'm pretty much the opposite: I'm a Browns fan because I grew up around them (though they left me/were stolen from me in my formative years -- which is why I gravitate much more towards the Buckeyes than the Browns). My dad is a Steelers fan, as he grew up southeast of PGH; his father is also a Steelers fan. I took up the Browns not out of contrarianism or spite, but because they were the team that was inexorably linked to my youth and my friends growing up.

Sometimes I wish that I'd become a Steelers fan rather than a Browns fan, not because the Steelers are much, much better at football than the Browns (they are), but because it'd be nice to have the aspect of sentimentality to my fandom that you mentioned. It'd really be nice to have another common thread with my dad and his family, though it's certainly too late to jump ship. Maybe I'm romanticizing the idea a bit, but having not experienced that sort of commonality, it really sounds nice.

For what it's worth, my dad does seem to enjoy the Indians more than the Buckos, though those mid-90's Indians teams made it damn near impossible to not fall in love with them. So we've got that, at least.


Run_Fido_Run's picture

Good point. I didn't want to rub-it-in after the Buckeyes beat Cincy, but the dual-loyalty thing is one example of why/how Buckeye bball has sometimes been an afterthought compared to fball.

It was partly chicken/egg: for example, Cincy was a stronger bball program in the late 80s and 1990s, when many of our dual-loyalty fans were growing up; yet because a certain portion of Buckeye fans were either not especially interested in bball, or rooted for other more successful programs, it made it a little more difficult for the Buckeye bball program to break through (thanks, Thad).

I suspect that kids growing up now, who root for Ohio State fball, will be less likely in the future to have such dual-loyalties; all along, though, Thad was building up the program and therefore its fan support depsite the previous obstacles, which in turn lays the groundwork for converting future Buckeyes.    

Doc's picture

I'm ALL Bucks ALL the time.  Rooting for a different school for different sports is like school in summer.

"Say my name."

cronimi's picture

+1. And I like the Fat Albert reference.

RC's picture

I'm also a Buckeye, for all sports.  I was born a Buckeye and graduated from THE Ohio State University.  However, I am also a Jayhawk fan.  I have been since 1985 when I lived in Kansas City and Danny Manning was at Kansas.  I had never really followed college basketball much up until that point (I was 11) but I watched them play and I was hooked.  That 85-86 team went to the Final Four (and was actually a better team than the team that won in '88).  I was living back in Columbus by 1988 but I was already a Jayhawk fan for life at that point.  I follow Kansas basketball and Ohio State basketball with equal amounts of passion.  I also root for Kansas in all other sports.  I follow Kansas football but not as passionately as I follow Buckeye football, frankly because they are not as relevant or as exciting to watch (and I think the Charlie Weis hiring was a much of a mistake as the Mark Mangino firing).  When they play each other in basketball as they did earlier this year and as they are this coming Saturday, I am neutral and I will just watch and enjoy the game (and hope neither wins by too much).  I don't consider Kansas or Ohio State as my "other" team in this matchup, they are both just my team.  I don't know if that explains it all that well but that is my situation.  I don't consider it a betrayal of either team to be neutral while watching the game Saturday.  I will be elated for the team moving on and sad for the team and fans that are not.  Quite honestly as far as fan bases go, this means more overall to Kansas fans than it does to Buckeye fans.  I mean if OSU loses, then it's on to spring football.  If Kansas loses then it's on to recruiting season for basketball.  Sorry, that was much longer than I intended, I hope I didn't put anybody to sleep. 

buckeyedude's picture

The Ohio State Buckeyes, first. I mostly watch OSU football and basketball, and am interested in OSU hockey.

After that, the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings(sometimes, when I go to a Tigers game, just for fun I'll wear an Ohio State t-shirt. You should see the looks and comments I get, LOL.) I grew up in north Toledo, just a short 40 min. drive up I-75 from old Tiger Stadium. I have to admit, it is weird sitting amongst and cheering along with what I know are probably Michelin fans.

I also root for the Toledo Rockets and Bowling Green Falcons, when they aren't playing Ohio State.

I take most pride in Ohio State, because I feel they represent the entire State of Ohio.

When I go on vacation(as I am next week, to Daytona Beach, Fl.), and if someone asks me "where you from, Bro?" I say "O-H-I-O".  And on the drive down, my van will be plastered with Ohio State magnetics.



hodge's picture

I could tell that you were a Toledo man by your choice of brew in your ID pic.  I love Buckeye Beer!  Pretty tough to find down here in the Capital City, though.

buckeyedude's picture

Maumee Bay Brewing stills sells their version of Buckeye Beer Pale Ale. Personally, I like heavier beer, but on the flip side, it gives me gas. :(



hodge's picture

I'm with you, I dig the buckeye beer, but my tastes tend more toward Belgians, IPAs, and dark beer.  I don't think there's any more refreshing beer than a pilsner, though.

LadyBuck's picture

Nice skull session, Sarah. Always good to hear from you. 

Isn't it awesome that Aaron Craft is on our team? God, he must be such a pest to every other opposing point guard and fan base. I don't know if I could hate him if he played for another team. Thank you Sully for recruiting him.

For the Kansas game, I think that DT is the most important match-up. If he can guard Robinson (who reminds me kinda-sort-maybe-not-a-lot of Draymon Green in the fact that they both are mobile, dominant big men) decently, and then clean up and attack like he's been doing all tournament, we can win this easier than we think. Naturally, I would love to see Buford have a huge, efficient shooting night, but that is very improbable at this point in time. I am definitely interested in the Tyshawn Taylor - Aaron Craft PG match up, too. Kansas fans are being a bit high on this one, and I can't wait to shut them down.

Go bucks!

Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

I like the PG match-up for OSU. Craft is playing at a very high level save for his two minute stretch against Syracuse where his adrenaline after a great play got the better of him and cost him two fouls.

His defense on Taylor could completely alter that game.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I agree. Dauster's position-by-position comparisons should be especially encouraging to the Buckeyes because for two "positions" that Dauster concludes are either even or a KU advantage - PG and bench - his reasoning is either flawed/incomplete, or appears to be superficial.

PG = even?

. . . Aaron Craft is arguably the best on-ball defender in the country. He doesn't give ball-handlers an inch of space and forces enough turnovers that's Luke Winn created a stat just to track them. Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor, on the other hand, has become notorious for the turnovers he commits and the bad shots that he takes . . . He had 22 points, six boards, five assists and five steals against North Carolina.

Taylor is an excellent player, but the evidence Dauster uses for concluding he is on par with Craft is his production against UNC, which was playing its third string PG?

Bench = KU advantage?

Neither team has much of a bench. Evan Ravenel and Amir Williams have both provided quality minutes when Sullinger gets in foul trouble, while Jordan Sibert and Sam Thompson have both seen minutes off the bench during the tournament. The reason that Kansas gets the advantage, however, is because of Kevin Young and Conner Teahan. Teahan has been an important piece for the Jayhawks all year with an ability to shoot the ball, but the more valuable piece will be Young. Early in the season, it was difficult to imagine Young earning playing time. But as the season went on, he's developed into a valuable piece off the bench. He brings energy and athleticism, and, more importantly, he allows the Jayhawks to go small when Withey is faced with a mismatch.

KU's bench might be better than the Buckeyes, but Dauster appears to have based his "analysis" of Ohio State's bench on the stats alone. Ugh, Sibert rarely plays now, definitely hasn't seen any quality minutes. Meanwhile, Dauster neglects to mention S. Scott, who has been getting many quality minutes and whom is an outstanding ballhandler and defender, although he has very limited scoring potential. If I didn't know any better, I might think that Dauster has watched a lot of KU and very little of Ohio State.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

P.s., statistically, Ohio State has gotten more production from its bench this year than has KU, which is even more interesting when you consider the Thad-factor.

RC's picture

I would say the PG position is pretty even overall.  They both do different things.  Tyshawn is much more of an offensive scoring threat than Craft is (and has to be for his team).  Both are good facilitators and although Tyshawn is prone to some boneheaded plays at times, Craft is not immune to the same.  Both are good defenders although Craft would definitely get the edge there.  Overall I'd say it is about even but Tyshawn has the ability to explode offensively more than Craft does and Craft has the ability to frustrate defensively more than Tyshawn.

As for the bench, I would call that even as well.  I think Teahan can get hot and hit 4 or 5 threes but you can't count on it.  I actually would give a slight edge to Kansas at the 2 with EJ over LSJr, but on any given night either could outplay the other.  

Either way, it is going to be a great game and should be competitive until the end.  Any Kansas fan that is underestimating the Buckeyes is fooling themselves and vice versa.

William's picture

Tyshawn Taylor nearly averages twice the amount of turnovers that Craft does per game, Craft and Taylor are however tied at 13 turnovers so far in this tourney. As for point production in the tourney, Craft is averaging 10.3 points per game and Taylor is averaging 12 points per game. They're a lot closer offensively than people realize. The player I'm most worried about is Withey, the guy can flat out block anything and I can see him frustrating Sullinger all day. Releford and Young don't scare me in the least, and the same goes for both Johnson and Taylor. Thomas Robinson will get his double-double, that's bound to happen, but outside of Withey possibly owning Sullinger in the paint, this game doesn't have me worried.

RC's picture

Yes, if you take a 4 game snapshot of the season then Craft and Tyshawn are close in point production.  The point is, Tyshawn is much more capable of putting up a 24 point performance than is Craft on a given night.  And I like how you choose to take just tournament games into account to support your theory that TT and Craft are close offensively but then you seem to discount the fact that Johnson has been money in the tournament up to this point (you said you were not scared of him "in the least")  It just seems to me that many of the same Buckeye fans that believed 4 weeks ago that OSU would be bounced in the 2nd or 3rd round are now not worried about a Final 4 matchup against a legit team.  Take this game lightly at your own peril.  OSU could very well come out and play lights out while Kansas has an off night and OSU wins by 15 or so.  But the opposite could also very well happen.  I tend to think that it will be a 5 pt or less margin either way but in a best of 5 I would take OSU 3-2 so I will predict a 2 pt win for the Buckeyes.  But as a Buckeye fan I would be worried about this game.

William's picture

Johnson shot well against Detroit, Purdue, and NC State. Those teams respectively rank 157th, 84th, and 65th defensively. However once he played a defense with a pulse in UNC, which is ranked 10th, he shot 27% from the field, much lower than his percentages against the three previous teams. Smith Jr. is a better defender than anyone he has previously faced in this tournament, and that is why I'm not worried. The guy that worries me is Withey, that's it, unless Robinson goes off for a 35+ point night.

Doc's picture

I agree with you here, RC.  Kansas is scaring me a bit.  They beat us once already.  IF we come out flat, or go into one of our famous lulls this game is over.  BB can be a fickle game.  If shots aren't dropping they aren't dropping.  Just look at our tourney loss to KY last year.

"Say my name."

William's picture

They beat us without our two-time All-American, on their homecourt, at a point in time in which we were relying on Buford as our main scorer. I'd like to see how KU would've done playing at the Schott without Thomas Robinson.

hodge's picture

It's entirely plausable that he kind of skewed his analysis for dramatic effect.  An "even" match up on both sides adds to the hype of this game.  UK is supposed to beat Louisville (UK -8.5), this game is damn near a toss up (OSU -2.5).

BuckeyeSki's picture

While there is certainly room for both sports in C-Bus, football has been and always will be king. That being said, I haven't been this excited about bball  in a long, long time. As an avid non-fan of shooty hoops in general, I'm impressed with this teams grit and fight. They've had me watching every game since the B1G Tourney started. Hope they are cutting the nets late Monday night

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Maybe Matta has won you over and you have to start rocking your OSU gear in NY a little harding during basketball season moving forward.....

BED's picture

"A Nod is as Good as a Link" #SubtleMontyPythonReferencesFTW

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

pcon258's picture

very unrelated to the majority of the article, but i loved the fats domino reference. its amazing that in 1949 he wrote a song about how fat he was, saying that he was "over 200 pounds." today, id say the majority of grown men are easily over 200 pounds. 

slight digression, but had to be said. gettin pumped for final four and spring game, love that osu is a two sport school

awwwwwwop's picture

I think the Fencing and Synchro Swimming National Champions would have something to say about a TWO sport school. haha

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

ArTbkward's picture

As would the men's volleyball team

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

(Also, I'm not a dude)

RedStorm45's picture

I never thought I'd see someone post about the Synchronized Swim team...I only say that beacuse my sister is a sophomore in high school, and her dream is to swim synchro at OSU.  All the other "national powerhouses" are out west.  

Run_Fido_Run's picture

If a guy dreams of being on Ohio State's synchro swim team, would that make it a wet dream?

buckeyedude's picture




William's picture

I get what you're saying in reference to being overweight, but in saying that "the majority of grown men these days are easily over 200 pounds", I think you fail to realize that the average height of a man in the 1940s was 5'6" whereas the average height is now 5'9"-5'10", secondly people didn't lift weights back then, and that surely has to contribute to some men weighing more now, than they would have back then. I'm not arguing that dietary measures have led to the increase in average weight in the US, it surely has and is probably the most common cause, but there are other physiological and lifestyle changes that have also had a large impact on the change in average weight in the US.

Doc's picture

As a country, we be a bunch of fat asses.

"Say my name."

William's picture

Note where I said "most common cause." The thing people aren't taking into account is that you didn't have guys that were 6'2" 250 that were running 4.5 40s and putting up insane bench/squat numbers in the 1940s. Also people are just taller now as well. That must also be taken into account. I'm not disagreeing with anyway that the most probable reason for a man weighing over 200 lbs. is that he is unfit, or overweight. I'm just saying that there are a multitude of other reasons as well, which are also fairly prominent.

Irricoir's picture

Hey! I weigh over two hundred pounds. You hurt my feelings!!

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

Denny's picture

People used to lift weights even in like 1900 lol.


Run_Fido_Run's picture

Plus, back in the day, a lot men were "pumping iron," but it wasn't for sake of health or leisure. They got paid to lift girders, turn wrenches, hoist cross beams, and so forth.


Run_Fido_Run's picture

To be fair, though, William has a point. There was a lot of under-/malnurishment in those days, too, which causes stunted growth and so forth. From a community health perspective, it's better to have an abundance of affordable food; but, yes, abundance (among many other factors) can also contribute to negative trends as well. 

Maestro's picture

Spring Football.....YES!!!!!!!!!!!!

vacuuming sucks

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

My birthday is March 31st - and the present I want the most?  Buford to actually show up and make a positive contribution to the game!!!  Come on man, get your head into the game and play like we all know you can!!!

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

hodge's picture

You're going to have the best birthday weekend, ever.  Not only is Ohio State in the Final Four, but Game of Thrones returns to HBO on Sunday...the only problem is that the time slot conflicts with Mad Men--but that's why God gave us the DVR.

Sarah's picture

Mad Men only started at 9 this past Sunday because of its two-hour premiere. Now it's back to 10pm while GoT is in the 9pm time slot.  

hodge's picture

You just made my day!  Not to mention Saturday's premiere of Travis Rice's Supernatural on NBC at 1, this might be the best TV weekend in a long, long time!

Bucksfan's picture

Roger Sterling: "Bonjour!"

Bucksfan's picture

Ha!  Great gif.  Sending it to my wife.

RedStorm45's picture

"Deshaun Thomas has been nearly unstoppable in March, averaging 22.3 points in the Big Dance."

If by Big Dance you mean the past 4 games, checking my math...87 points over the last 4 games is good for 21.75 points a game.  (wow, I'm nitpicking today haha)


Very sad about Willie B.  25 of 78 from the floor since the game winner over Appling.  Used to be automatic at the line, now he's good for about a miss a game.  STRUGGLING behind the arc.  Charge a game.  At least he's grabbing boards, but that's about it.  Wonder if Ross had not been inelgible in fall quarter how much time he'd see (and probably then almost none from S. Thompson, right?) if his shot is as good as everyone is saying it is.  

That Taylor stat on domes is hilarious.  Hope it gets in his head and he forces his shot.

Sarah's picture

I didn't calculate that stat myself; I got it from the SI article. I think the discrepancy is from a mistake in the UC box score. Originally, Thomas was credited with 26 points but after the game, it was reviewed and two of his points were actually scored by Lenzelle Smith. 

So, 21.75 is right, but the error was based off the wrong stat, not bad math. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Originally, Thomas was credited with 26 points but after the game, it was reviewed and two of his points were actually scored by Lenzelle Smith. 

After hearing about this adjustment, Tank was reportedly furious.

RedStorm45's picture

That's bizarre.  Did SI just credit Thomas or not look at an updated box score?  That's pretty funny though.

frozen buckeye's picture

Any ideas of how to get the S I cover's greasy mojo off our team? 



Run_Fido_Run's picture

I think the S.I. curse has lifted. The magazine is no longer relevant enough to sustain a curse. It's like being cursed by an apprentice witch doctor.

osubuckeye4life's picture

OSU all the time in college sports. 


Can't wait for tonight! It's gonna be a great game.

I think we'll get it done but it's going to take a team effort. Willy buckets must hit some shots.

I like the match up of Craft badger on Taylor. I also like that Taylor is terrible shooting in domes and he is their other top scorer (besides Robinson).

Another thing I like is they are not a deep team unlike other ones we're faced in the tourny.

They just can't give a ton of fouls.

However, OSU must make foul shots.