Tuesday Skull Session

By Sarah on February 19, 2013 at 6:00a

Hello, Buckeye fans. We are exactly one month away from the start of the NCAA Tournament, and let's hope Ohio State rediscovers its defensive prowess before then.

Ever since the OT loss to Michigan, both teams seem to be a bit broken and each has reached its lowest ranking of the season in the latest polls. Ohio State is No. 18 while Michigan is No. 7.

During the Wisconsin game on Sunday, I nearly did something I never do and came close to turning the TV off well before the game was over. 

But I'm a completist. I suffered through all 15 hours of Les Misérables1 because I like to watch all the Best Picture nominees before the Oscars, so I sucked it up and watched the Buckeyes, well, suck it up. As displeasing as that game was — more of an eyesore than both their cursed alternate uniforms and that Rocky Dennis doppelganger Mike Bruesewitz — it's on to a new week and two more tough opponents.

First up is a typically mercurial Minnesota team2, who may be without Rodney Williams, thus denying us a dunk contest between him and Sam Thompson. A special guest, however, will be in attendance:

Then it's another Sunday game on CBS, this week against Michigan State. The Spartans have a huge matchup tonight in East Lansing against Indiana, their fellow conference leaders. Tipoff is 7 p.m. on ESPN.

While the outcome of that game may ultimately decide who wins the Big Ten regular season, I'm more concerned, of course, with how Ohio State responds to their latest drubbing and what it means for the team going forward. They were able to shake off the early conference loss to Illinois, and hopefully they can do the same now.

SEED OF DOUBT. Even though there's still quite a bit of basketball to play before the Tourney begins, at the same time, we're getting a better idea of who will make the Big Dance and who will be seeded where. To a point, that is. 

Rob Dauster of College Basketball Talk explains why, for example, he would give Illinois a higher seed than Ohio State, despite the Buckeyes' higher position in the B1G standings. Besides the head-to-head result, Dauster believes that the Illini's four wins over top 20 RPI teams make up for their bad losses, at least compared to Ohio State's resume, which lacks a key road win.

Jay Bilas, on the other hand, argues that Ohio State isn't getting enough credit. Apologies for linking to a paywall article, but I thought this was interesting:

Of course, when VCU plays teams tough and "almost wins," the basketball cognoscenti treat such losses as positives. Ohio State is not a great team, but this is a good team that should be a 3-seed or 4-seed in the NCAA tournament.

First of all, I've often wished that the word "cognoscenti" would find its way in more people's vocabulary, but his point is that although Ohio State doesn't have many wins against good teams, all their losses have come, more or less, against top-notch competition and that's clouding some bracketologists' judgment. 

Personally, I'm in wait and see mode. The Buckeyes have played like a 3-seed or better this season, yet their most recent performances make it easy to forget those halcyon days of a couple weeks ago and suggest that there's more wrong with this team than a brutal schedule. 

NO BIG LOSS. When it comes time to fill out brackets, we're always warned about picking a champion who has had a big loss, points-wise, on the season. After a week — and quite frankly, an entire season — that has seen its share of blowouts, Peter Tiernan of BracketScience.com breaks down whether a bad loss for a team means that an unforgiving March is on the horizon. 

Twenty years ago, eventual champion North Carolina3 fell to Wake Forest by 26 points during the regular season, but that's the exception, not the rule.

As Tiernan figured, "only three of the 28 champions in the 64-team bracket era have suffered a pre-tourney loss of 20 points or more."

He looked at the top 20 teams, at least according to last week's AP poll, and half of the them have been defeated by 17 or more points this season. Indiana, Kansas, and Louisville have not lost by double digits this season, and while that could speak well of their chances next month, this is also a strange college hoops year, one without a truly elite team. The usual criteria for a national championship may not apply this time around.

No one wins. One side just loses more slowly.Lester for NCAA president

WAY DOWN IN THE HOLE. Ever since Yahoo! brought our attention to booster Nevin Shapiro and all the debaucherous yacht orgies at Miami, we've been waiting for the NCAA to hammer Da U. 

Then the NCAA naturally screwed up by abusing their power in the investigation and after the investigation about the investigation, vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach has been fired. Roe Lach gave the OK, against legal advice, for the NCAA to put Shapiro's attorney, Maria Elena Perez, on their payroll. 

NCAA president Mark Emmert is pretty much, "nothing more to see here, folks" and is ready to focus back on Miami now:

Emmert said the NCAA's investigation into Miami remains active and will go forward to the committee on infractions, likely ruling out a summary disposition in the case. But as a result of interviews stemming from two "tainted" depositions by Perez, the NCAA has thrown out 20 percent of its evidence in the case.

But Miami president Donna Shalala unsurprisingly feels that her school should be off the hook, saying, "we have been wronged in this investigation, and we believe that this process must come to a swift resolution, which includes no additional punitive measures beyond those already self-imposed."

The university self-imposed a bowl ban after both the 2011 and 2012 seasons, along with scholarship reductions. 

While this all makes it seem like the NCAA should hit itself with a lack of institutional control, the amount of corruption all around, the institutional failure, and the feeling that justice will not be served for anyone also brings to mind The Wire. As does this:

Yes, the NCAA used a burner phone to call Nevin Shapiro in prison. And paid Shapiro himself, their star witness, $4,500 for his cooperation.

Stringer Bell approved.

COMBINE FORCES. The NFL Combine starts this week and seven former Ohio State players, including Johnathan Hankins and John Simon, will take part. For those not invited to Indianapolis, Ohio State's pro day will be March 8. 

Players who either attended a smaller school or aren't coming straight out of college, however, may try to demonstrate their skills at a regional combine, such as one that was held on Sunday in Berea. Among the participants were guys eligible for the NFL Draft, like Akron's Quentin Hines, and older players who are trying to return to the NFL, like Glenville product and former Wolverine Pierre Woods.

There are 10 regional combines and the players who did the best in their drills are selected to move on to a super regional at Cowboys Stadium in April. Last season, 14 players who started at a regional combine made an NFL roster and 14 more were signed to practice squads.

LINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. Gene Smith says there's a "strong likelihood" that Ohio State and Michigan will be in the same division... Spring practice dates around college football... Crean being Crean... Manziel being Manziel... The Hamburglar is upping his game... Dog name trends... I had never noticed this suggestive Easter Egg in Prisoner of Azkaban before... Methopoly: Breaking Bad Monopoly.

  • 1 I'm not anti-musical at all, but it was bloated, boring, and sterile with one-dimensional characters who I didn't care about. Definitely my least favorite of the Best Picture nominees. I mean, I had my issues with Amour but at least I could respect it on an artistic level.
  • 2 In what is becoming a common theme recently, Ohio State's opponent is coming off a hard-to-digest loss.
  • 3 They beat the Fab Five* in the title game.

Comments Show All Comments

Baroclinicity's picture

Good to know about the NCAA tourney winners and the lack of a loss with a large point differential.  I'll take that into consideration this year when making my picks.  Can't hurt; I'm generally terrible at picking winners.
I also think the polls have been way too lenient with us.  I'm not sure we should be ranked right now having lost 3 of 4.  I was shocked last week when we only dropped to 13th (I think it was) after losing 2 games the previous week despite the high quality opponents. 

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

popeurban's picture

Regarding picking winners, good thinking!  Problem is now we all are going to follow this.  ;0)

chicagobuckeye's picture

Its hard to fault a team for losing to two top 10 teams especially when one of them went to OT. Its one thing if they are a top 5 team themselves, but the Buckeye's shouldn't be faulted for losing to teams they are suppose to lose to.  Now losing to Wisconsin on the other hand is a terrible loss.

BuckeyeMike2002's picture

The Buckeyes will only go as far as their defensive work will take them. At this point I think a sweet 16 is a best case scenario in the tournament anyway. There are to many variables working against them. A cold shooting night and they score 49. Defensive breakdowns, somebody in on the other team gets hot. This is a transition team to the next really great team.

Q: What is the difference between the Michigan Football Team and a bag of crap. A: The Bag.

Poison nuts's picture

As of right now, I love that Rutgers & Maryland have joined the B1G. The results: OSU & Tsun in the same division and no more Legends & Leaders...Next issue up, how long can it stay the Big Ten with 14 teams?

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

popeurban's picture

I am in the camp that it never has to change; it is a brand.  Another approach would be to go strictly with the B1G logo, that may give us an out if we stick with 14+.

81Alum's picture

16 teams will go with the BIG logo.

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

They could call it the Big Nasty...
Not sure why, just because it sounds tough.

81Alum's picture

+1 for words like "cognoscenti".
+++ for Sarah, always enjoy her writing.

cplunk's picture

Funny that you mention being a completist.
My completionism is almost a theology. I refuse to turn off even a moment of any game involving my teams. In the case of a big win, I want the opportunity to see the backups and potential future starters play. In the case of a big loss, I tell myself "Don't turn this off. Watch every second and remember how much you hate this." 
I watched every second of the game-that-shall-not-be-mentioned-against-our-current-coach* including the after game interviews. Every second. 
The victories are so much sweeter when you've experienced the totality of the defeats.
*apologies for even coming this close

faux_maestro's picture

I am exactly the same way with watching and attending games EXCEPT in probably 1999 we got trucked in the second half by Ron Dayne. Had to leave that one out of disgust.

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

Devin1024's picture

Love the Rocky Dennis reference!

MattyBeingMatty's picture

Keep it coming with The Wire references.  My favorite series of all time. Snoop and Chris would make a lethal back court combination, literally.
Then it hits me... My Wire starting five (muscle):
PG - Snoop
SG - Chris
SF - Omar
PF - Wee Bey
C - Slim Charles

“Not everybody’s the perfect person in the world, I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever. I think that people need a second chance, and I’ve always looked up to Mike Vick." -TP

cinserious's picture

Nice team but I would put Avon Barksdale in at SF. Omar could come off the bench specifically to commit (way too)personal fouls.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

PhillyBuckeye27's picture

If O State is a 3 or 4 seed in the NCAA tourney I will eat my shorts....The way they are playing I really wonder if they will even MAKE the tourney. 

Buckeye Yard Dog's picture

I wont eat your shorts. But, I will second that. No way are they a 3 or 4 seed. This team is very soft and has NO heart. They lack,team chemistry and the ability to play defense for a whole game let alone for a full shot clock. Play the scrubs and let the players sit that dont want to play. I much rather watch a butt kicking with players on the floor that are actually playing as hard as they can, than watch the same guys go out there and go thru the motion half assed.

Buckeye Yard Dog

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

All they gotta do is get hot in the B1G tourney and ride that momentum all the way... look at UConn a few years back... they struggled all year, blew thru the Big East tourney, and crushed the NCAA field!

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

I'm looking forward to Ohio State being a "Cinderella" this year... get a 6 or 7 seed... knock off some higher seeded ACC or Big East teams... and make the elite 8!

Nappy's picture

I'm attending the Combine again this year on Sunday.  It just sucks there won't be any OSU guys participating. 
No way are we anything better than a 6 seed at this point.  Maybe if we make a nice run in the B1G tourney we could slide up a couple spots, but a 3 or 4 seed?  No way.
And despite the fact the NCAA botched part of this investigation, I still want the book thrown at Miami.  The NCAA exists solely to prevent the type of things that were going on there and to drop the ball as bad as they further proves what a joke the NCAA has become. 

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

OSUbucknut's picture

I wonder if Jim Tressel would still be our coach if the IT Department just deleted the emails on their server?  Watching the kids on last years team suffer because some older guys got a few free tattoo's seems so petty when you compare the other stuff that never gets punished.  I don't see why anyone would cooperate with the NCAA.  They are just a bunch of corrupt hypocrites collecting paychecks because of some outdated rules that were put in place 100 years ago.

3 Yards And A Cloud of Dust's picture

"Gene Smith has no clue..."  I take the comment out of context, but truer words were never spoken.

GoBucks713's picture

How about after Thad's kids pounds ND into the hardwood at the Asbestos Center, Gordon Gee's bowtie fires Gene Smith just to rub salt in the wound?

-The Aristocrats!

Bucksfan's picture

Finally, the B1G is coming to their senses and refraining from over-thinking the division split.

gwalther's picture


Class of 2008

ArTbkward's picture

Les Mis was very overhyped in my opinion as was Anne Hathaway's approximate 10 minutes of screen time but Beasts of the Southern Wild is by far my least favorite Best Picture nominee so far*.  For me, Argo is the movie to beat.
*Seeing Django Unchained tonight and Amour on Friday

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

(Also, I'm not a dude)

penult's picture

The Hamburglar is upping his game... 

I was hoping that link would have something to do with Bobby Bowden