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Comment 31 May 2013

The response was so predictable. I never said that what Gee did is on a par with what Paterno did - I said that like Paterno Gee is hurting the institution and it may be appropriate to consider whether his strengths, whatever they may be, are outweighed by his weaknesses. In my opinion it reflects very badly on the university that spewing venom and stupidity is apparently an acceptable qualification for president.

All I am commenting on is Gee's comments and I make that clear from the beginning. If there is more to Gee than that then responsible debate calls on you to say what that is. "Gee has done great things" is a cliche when it's not backed up. He hangs out with students? that's what you want from a university president? Really, that's all? He does bring in $$ but it's not at all clear that a replacement couldn't do just as well. If he did anything else of note his defenders don't mention it.

Tressell too was defended on all fronts - until it was clear that he had to go and his replacement went 12-0. The only value that comes across consistently in 11W is that winning trumps all. That's sad.

BWH said: "Way too long, didn't read."  Gee had suggested that SEC students couldn't read. Am I the only one who finds this ironic?

Comment 24 May 2013

I was on a house painting crew with Clark one summer in the 70s in the Cleveland area. He was very tall and very nice. I don't think he was particularly dedicated to house painting, he never did master the fine art of painting a window with a roller.

Comment 23 May 2013

While I think it's rarely a good idea to take an opponent lightly I don't think that California is going to be be a real test. Dykes has an offensive system but his players don't know it yet, and might not be the right players to run it. They may become a real force but I'll be surprised if 2013 is a great year for them, definitely not by the second game of the year. Similarly, we have struggled with Purdue because of coaching matchups. If Hazell tries to replicate what the mustaches did then we could struggle again. But he isn't Hope or Tiller and probably has his own ideas, which will take time for the Boilermakers to learn and will be only as good as his players. Both coaching changes work to our advantage. I expect the coaching change in Madison to matter less for that team, because unless Anderson is an idiot he's going to play ball control behind a big offensive line. What hurts them is having fewer playmakers than in past years.


I was very surprised to read somewhere that NW on paper is pushovers. They don't have the best athletes, but they play disciplined and don't quit. Undersized disciplined defenses can neutralize a good offense - I still remember Navy against us a few years ago. This could be another Navy game, with every mistake we make being used against us. If we show up every week I think it is a two game regular season: Northwestern and The Game.

Comment 21 May 2013

The loss of the entire defensive line is huge, and will be felt most seriously against teams that can throw. IN nearly derailed us last year when we had a strong  line. By the time we face scUM, Gardner and a vastly improved set of WRs and a highly rated freshman RB should be working in synch. We might have to face that team twice and I can't say with confidence that nothing weird will happen against a team that will be ready for us. I also am not convinced that our offense will be unstoppable - it got stopped a couple of times last year and I don't think the O-line is going to be better, especially if anyone gets injured .Finally, our punting game is an almost complete unknown, and if Basil gets dinged we lose our place-kicker too. I think we are far and away the class of the B1G but an unbeaten season is a lot to expect.

Comment 20 May 2013

I'm going with no. He was never a demon on defense, and the extra weight may suggest that he was saving his energy for offense, and never cared enough about D to lose the weight. Not what pros want.  And if he really is only 6'5" he'll be on the small side at the next level, he won't be muscling for position. What potential does that suggest? Which doesn't mean that he should not have come out early, another year at OSU likely would not do that much for him, I just see him as the type that is never gonna wow an NBA GM working the draft unless he gets himself in shape. (Sully, though chubby,  did play defense and had solid technique)

Comment 11 May 2013

Too much is unknown to predict now. I think the most important factor is not Buckeye success but RDS success. How many really come back to win a title? not many.  If he has a monster year I think  he's gone like so many OSU defenders. If not he's more likely to take seriously the draft predictions and stay if he's outside the second round. One thing working against him is the feeling that however well he does this year will be against the weaker skill level of the B1G - is he the real deal or a big fish only in a small pond? After this last draft that could really deflate his draft position. But if RDS reads too many 11W press clippings he could leave early.

Comment 06 May 2013

Whether or not and what kind of ring is warranted depends on whether the team achieved a goal the team and the accountants see as worth rewarding. I bet the first NW team that makes the Big Dance gets bling. On the other hand, if OSU is serious that nothing but an NC is a real goal then no Buckeye should get jewelry for anything less. If Texas wants to reward mediocrity that's their business - I'm not there, I'm not goin'. (I do think that positive reinforcement for young kids is different. Kids should be made to feel like winners - not every child is going to become an athlete, but every child should feel that effort is appreciated. Just include with the message that they should always aim high.)

Comment 02 May 2013

I understand the concept: limiting the opponent's offense can only help. And I think that Roby's approach to coverage - studying film and spotting trends - is right on. But I think that focusing on creating turnovers carries a risk. To a great degree an opponent's turnovers are more the product of their careless play then our good play - the pass that should not have been thrown, the ball not carried securely enough. Trying to get a turnover against a team that is playing soundly too often leads to the cornerback taking a bad angle, leading to a big play for them; a defender trying to strip the ball rather than just trying to tackle, leading to extra yardage. I'd rather the discussion not necessarily be on winning a turnover margin but on our offense avoiding careless play; and our defense playing sound, informed coverage and rushes. This way, we limit the number of our giveaways and limit the other team's big plays; and if in the course of doing our job well we can take the ball away that's the bonus. To me the keys are not turning it over ourselves and not letting the foe get more yards than it has to. The exception being if we're behind and time is running out we may have no alternative but to gamble on defense.

Comment 24 Apr 2013

What is the NCAA going to do about its FBS and FCS? Can we please go back to Div 1 and Div 1A?

Comment 24 Apr 2013

I'm gonna cast a second or third place vote for Maurice Clarett. He didn't lead the nation but he was the offense on a team that was very conservative offensively. His contributions in the NC game far exceeded his yardage - as much as anyone he was responsible for us winning. And he did it as a freshman.We know how it turned out. But if I could take any back who played in 2002 I'd probably keep Clarett over Johnson who broke 2000 yards for PSU.

Comment 17 Apr 2013

I know I'm in the minority but I have zero interest in forcing scoring. I think that keep-away is a perfectly legitimate way to run an offense and it is up to the defense to create a turnover or foul or do something. So I never felt a need for a shot clock and don't feel a need for one now.I'm more concerned about alternate possessions for tie-ups that give nothing to good defense - bring back a jump ball or just give the ball to the defense. And while I have your attention let's stop video reviews from giving a time out to a team that doesn't have one; and let's eliminate a time-out when a player fouls out - the coach should have known as soon as the player got #4 that #5 might be coming and been ready.

Comment 10 Apr 2013

 Offense first. Whether you like calling it a "Matta offense" the Buckeye coach works with basic sets. How else explain why Northwestern consistently played us tough except that Carmody knew what to expect and had his ever changing roster ready to face Matta? For the first 2/3 of the season just concluded the OSU offense was basically Thomas left, Thomas right and hope for rain (old baseball joke). This wasn't because everyone else on the roster was totally inept. Nor was it because no one else had learned the playbook yet - Craft and Smith were juniors; Thompson, Williams, Scott and Ravenel were in their second year at OSU. The problem was that Matta was trying to play square ball with round pegs. Eventually some of the pegs started fitting better but if the offense improved it was not because Matta started utilizing individual strengths, it was because players became a bit better at what Matta wanted them to do. I neither remember nor care what sets Matta ran seven years ago, my short-term memory tells me that for the last several years the OSU offense has had some common traits. This is not necessarily a criticism of Matta as an offensive coach, anymore than saying that Syracuse plays zone defense is a criticism of Beiheim.  If our offense was so potentially variable why was WSU so ready for us with just two days preparation? Our offense shot 31% for the game against a defense that had been letting teams shoot 40%. The shots we took weren't that bad, there were a lot of open looks and they were shots our coach did not mind (we attempted 10 threes in the first half and even more after intermission - we were not being steered away from threes).  WSU gambled that OSU would not make those shots and they were right, we didn't. We went down missing those shots because in a Matta offense that's what gets taken.

(BTW, drive-n-dish and drive-n-kick are already parts of a Matta offense and have been. Whether it will work better next year than it did this year will depend on whether we set better interior screens, and whether we hit mid-range jumpers any better)

Defensively we finished the year ranked 40th in field goal percentage defense - not great - and 102nd in 3 point percentage defense - not good. These final numbers do not reflect whether we improved. For that we can look at stats from our final games: WSU made 40% of its threes, better than the percentage we gave up on the year, better than the percentage they had shot on the year. AZ shot 44% overall, 33% on 3s, both slightly worse than they had averaged on the year. ISU made 48% of 25 3s - needless to say we made them look very good. Iona and WIS struggled (though anyone who saw the Badgers very next game should question whether what happened in the B1G title games was good defense by us or really atrocious offense by WIS), MSU made 43% of its threes. In fact, looking at the latter part of the season we pretty much alternated good games defensively and bad. On the whole Kenpom likes us, to the tune of ranking us #9 defensively, but anyone who watched us in consecutive games at any point in the season including the end knows that by and large we were unable to string together consecutive 40 minute defensive successes. We were 87th in rebound margin because too often we were not in position to get missed shots. Our defense was premised on creating turnovers and in that we did very very well  but when we didn't create a turnover we did not do particularly well in preventing opponents from scoring. We did not hold a single Big Dance opponent to under 70, including the woeful Iona Gaels. We blew double digit second half leads against both ISU and AZ. The idea that we became a rock solid defensive unit is more myth than fact.

Can we become better next year? Of course. And I agree that it should not be hard to improve on Thomas' defensive contributions. But unless someone else contributes in the middle or Williams greatly improves (which he hasn't done in his first two years) our interior defense will be weaker without Ravenel. There is no human way a team can be the best defensive unit in the country with what can reasonably be expected from our centers. And if we want to go small - which was one of the things that helped us towards the end of the year - it is not clear that Q can do what Thomas did. #1 defense in the country? We're all entitled to dream big and dreams sometimes do come true. But dreaming big and downvoting someone who calls a dream a dream is just nasty. Try to be nicer than that DSK.

Comment 10 Apr 2013

AACC has replacements ready for Burke; MSU has big bodies who can replace Payne - neither team will be crippled by those losses.. The one from the list we were given for which there is not an immediate replacement is Hardaway. Though if I'd been given the choice I'd like to see McGary gone. Don't get distracted with what he didn't do when he was learning the game, what he showed late in the season makes Payne look like Ravenel. We beat MSU twice with Payne in the line-up - we haven't faced AACC with a strong McGary and I'd rather not.

Comment 10 Apr 2013

It's not as simple as that. Ravenel didn't take that many shots so his departure won't free up that many, and while he had zero offensive skills his shooting percentage was one of the highest on the team. What we are losing is his 154 rebounds - how will those be replaced? Thomas certainly did shoot a lot. In many games he shot too much. But he created shot opportunities in ways no other Buckeye could, and to a great degree the  Matta offense relies on players creating their own shots, the Matta offense is not based on lots of offensive patience. Ross will shoot more, no question. If Thompson learns to love the midrange jumper as much as he loves the highlight reel dunk he could take up some of the load (he could be our new Lighty which would be really good!) but who else do you want shooting more for OSU 2014? Craft and Smith are good defenders but very unreliable offensive players. Do you really want them taking that many more shots? Scott? Really?  Who are the "et al" you want taking shots for the Buckeyes? Who on the bench was not used enough this year? I'd love to see a better record next year than this, I'm just not convinced that this year the team becomes better by the loss of our primary offensive weapon and only thug inside.

Comment 10 Apr 2013

I'm looking at both teams as a whole. At one point in the NC game AACC was playing five freshmen. The most important game of the year and AACC had five froshes who could be relied on! That is a team with a deep, experienced roster. Two of whom can already run the point so the drop-off without Burke will not be devastating. They lose no seniors who contributed. If they can replace Hardaway they will be just as strong next year. And since they will be replacing non-productive seniors with new talent, and since Beilein's talent evaluation has been pretty good, wouldn't you say?, this will be a team to watch next year.


This is a much different picture from Columbus. The Buckeyes don't have a deep bench. With 13 scholarships to give out the Buckeyes played eight guys - and Ravenel got big minutes only because the starter was not good. That's five scholarships that contributed nothing and all of them are coming back (unless someone quits). We don't even have a Henderson (Louisville walk-on) who can ht a couple of threes. Other than Q and Scott who can you point to on the bench who is likely to contribute next year? and what do you base it on? We were weak at center this year, and the loss of Ravenel is a serious blow to the rotation at that spot. Tank was a big body with the bulk to play center when we went small - I don't think Q can do that. And Q was the sub for Smith or Thompson - with Q starting who comes off the  bench? We're getting a new guard who's supposed to be pretty good, but while it's good to have lots of back-up at that spot (Burke, LeVerte and Albrecht, for example) and prepare for the future what we need now is productive size, and lots of it. Unless and until Smith and Craft show that they need to be guarded teams will dare them to shoot as WSU did (Craft making one three against AZ does not make him a shooter, as WSU proved).

So even if the number of players lost is the same for both teams it's the players who will return and the new players coming in that, to me, make scUM much stronger than OSU in 2014. And if McGary returns - and I'm sure he will - I think scUM will be better than us even if GRIII leaves because of the overall rosters. Of course if we get someone who can patrol the paint and a forward who can shoot reliably (Loving?) then I might be proven wrong.

I agree about Matta's job this year. I think he left potential undeveloped in past years, failed to adjust in games when needed, but this year there was not a whole lot more he could have done short of putting the ball in the basket himself. It was a terrific coaching job. I'm not fully sold on his recruiting top to bottom, it remains to be seen if next year's squad gets the pieces to compete at the highest level.

Comment 09 Apr 2013

Chad Ford has about 15 lottery picks. Obviously not all his predictions will come true (Robinson ahead of Olynyk and Plumlee??? Really???). NBA Draft Room has McGary in the "Staying In School" category.


Robinson probably does not need the money, and his father probably is telling him that Ford might not be right this year but could be right next year (though NBA Draft Room rates Robinson higher than Thomas, so who knows?). I still think both stay in school, but soon  no guesswork will be needed.

Comment 09 Apr 2013

And Burke was ranked behind Scott - we've seen how that's worked out. Albrecht has no stats because he has been behind Burke and MI has been loaded and Spike and hasn't needed to score. I only know what I've seen - when he's been in he plays with composure and his stroke is clean. Much better looking shooter than many of the Buckeyes. He is good enough that if teams leave him alone he will score. I don't think he will replace Burke but I think he's good enough to ease MI's pain.


Who do you see leaving, besides Burke and Hardaway? In another post I say why I don't think McGary or Robinson will. Why do you think they will? And what other contributors even might? How do you get to 5 or 6 MI players leaving early - or are you counting the non-playing seniors?

Comment 09 Apr 2013

I know there is talk of McGary and Robinson leaving. If so scUM will obviously be worse off. I don't think either goes. McGary did not arrive in Ann Arbor as a one-and-done so hasn't had that mind set. He played really well in the tournament but I think is still obviously rough, a late first round or second round guy. If he stays he could be a lottery pick next year, and the difference in money could be enough to keep in school someone who doesn't mind being there. I expect this year's NBA class to include Withey, Plumlee, Noel, Zeller, Olynyk, Len, Dieng, Bennett, Payne, Kadji  and more. McGary is not obviously better than those.


There is a reason why every mention of GRIII includes who his father was - he hasn't done enough to distinguish himself. I think he goes undrafted if he comes out now. We'll find out soon enough, my prediction for AACC is based on my belief that they will lose only Burke and Hardaway.

Comment 05 Jan 2013

Thanks for the history, I had forgotten it. I'm sorry you took anything in this post as rhetorical, nothing was meant that way. Nothing is meant to express my own opinion. All are questions I was interested in getting answers to.

Comment 05 Jan 2013

DSK, you're still essentially ready to say anything, no matter how off point, to mock me. Sam Thompson was not on the 2010-2011 roster, he was not an option for Matta when Buford was killing our title hopes. At least for the moment can we please stick with KY, since you are the one who invoked Jordan Sibert. You want to talk last year or this year I'll be glad to do that next.

At no time have I ever said that Buford should have been sat for the rest of the game, to be replaced by someone who was not ready to carry that weight. I have suggested that when someone is taking a LOT of shots and missing almost all of them what that does to both an offensive and defensive flow is so disruptive that there might have been little loss by replacing Buford with Smith - or Sibert or Days. But I don't think that was Matta's best option. I have yet to hear anything other than the blind trust in Matta's infallibility justifying not taking Buford out for a minute or two here and there to try to calm him down (and during those strectches seeing how his sub does); or simply telling his team, because as the coach he has the right to do so, that Buford should be shooting less. Period. Would that have changed how the team had been playing all year? yes; but there was no tomorrow, and what Buford was doing was taking tomorrow away. Again, you can disagree about strategy but bringing Thompson in to this discussion only makes it seem that you are unwilling or unable to do analysis seriously.

Comment 05 Jan 2013

I don't think I have ever attacked you Andy, though you seem to be including me in "guys." If I have I apologize as deeply as I possibly can. I think you have been one of the few who has talen real questions seriously and tried to answer them.

As for streakiness my position is that a coach can build team design and game management trying to adjust for high-volume shooters going cold. But in a lose-and-you-are-out situation when a player has gone so cold that the team is in danger of losing I think it is the coach's responsibility at that moment to look for an adjustment more strategically defensible that simply hoping that the next one goes in. There are times when there may be no other apparent option - three of your starters have fouled out; the cold shooter is your absoilute best defender; whatever - but Matta is not often in that position. Though this year he may be getting close with Craft.

Comment 05 Jan 2013

I have never disagreed that Matta has won more consistently than the coaches who preceeded him but the key word here is "consistently." Randy Ayers was woefully inconsistent but he was the national coach of the year in 1991, and twice was B1G coach of the year. His 1990-91 squad went 27-4. The next year we lost only six games, one of which was in the NCAA Eiite Eight to an AACC side that would play for the NC. The wheels fell off after that but Ayers did not give us unrelenting heartbreak. Jim Jackson was a freshman the first year Ayers coached the Buckeyes - I don't know but I suspect that Ayers was a big part in getting into Scarlet and Grey one of the best of his era.

Jim O'Brien's first year in Columbus was sanction-hindered. His next year we went to the Final Four and he was a national coach of the year. He was B1G coach of the year in 2001 also. In 2002 he lead an OSU team that was expected to struggle to its then record fourth consecutive NCAA berth. The next two years his wheels fell off but if credit is given to Matta for the groundwork he laid at Butler that is helping Brad Stevens' success then O'Brien must be given credit for creating the possibility of winning basketball at OSU that Matta is now continuing. And whether or not the family of Aleksandar Radojevic ever received an improper benefit does not change that O'Brien did a lot for OSU - just as JT's legacy is not destroyed by what happened off the field.

Give Matta a ton of credit but any suggestion that everything between Fred  Taylor's good years and him was a disaster is simply wrong.