Valentine's Day Skull Session

By D.J. Byrnes on February 14, 2015 at 4:59 am
Corey Smith, go on then, lad.

After years of putting my dumb and crudely-typed opinions on the internet, I thought I was immune to any form of abuse hurled at me. That was until yesterday, when GA_Buck1 and my mom (seriously?) threw my desecrated corpse into a trash incinerator:

dat smirk

I'm currently in discussions with my lawyer about my proper recourse. So far, however, his best piece of advice has been to "go on the hunt for painkillers" (in the form of a worker's comp claim).

After being roasted like that though I don't think horse tranquilizers would suffice. (The silver lining — the inclusion of King Dolodale — is somewhat marred by Dale's inevitable befuddlement should he ever stumble across this image.)

MSU TURNS ITS SIGHTS ON PATIENT 0. Ohio State's and Michigan State's men's basketball teams lock horns today in a critical Big Ten game in East Lansing at 12:00 p.m. on BTN.

Tom Izzo's team knows enough about Ohio State to know D'Angelo Russell, a freshman, is its best player.

From Graham Couch of

"He can beat you with a shot, he is one of the best passers I've seen here, and he's big," Izzo continued. "He's 6-(foot)-5, 6-4, so he can see over things. We're going to throw a couple different wrinkles at him."

MSU's defensive plans begin with Denzel Valentine and undoubtedly include Branden Dawson.

"We've got three different guys we plan on playing on him and seeing if we can rotate some different (things), whether it's size or strength or different things," Izzo said, declining to share further specifics.

Michigan State is always expected to defend well, especially in big contests. I expect Michigan State to rotate a bunch of players on Russell and get physical with him. (Good luck with that.)

 THE BRANDEN DAWSON FILE. Michigan State forward Branden Dawson is a grinder — he's apparently dropped seven double-doubles in Big Ten play — but he's turning heads on the defensive end this year, and at 6'6", he'd be an interesting player to throw at Russell for spells.

From Kyle Austin of

But in nearly every other category [than scoring], Dawson has taken a significant step forward. He's averaging 9.9 rebounds, one more than last year and easily tops in the Big Ten. His 22 blocks in Big Ten play are second in the conference, and his steals are also among the top 10 in the conference.


Dawson said he instead thinks about his challenging defensive assignments throughout the season. That list includes Maryland's Jake Layman, Indiana's Troy Williams, Aaron White of Iowa and Zak Irvin of Michigan, many of whom scored significantly below their averages against Dawson.

"Guarding the team's best player, that just challenges me," Dawson said. "It's something that I would want to do. Whenever a guy's scoring, coach, I think the last five minutes of the game, coach puts me on him. That's definitely a challenge for me."

Counterpoint: D'Angelo Russell is a different breed of beast than Jake Layman, Troy Williams, Aaron White, and Zak Irvin.

BATES-DIOP AIN'T DEAD YET. Marc Loving returns to action today, and while it'll be a welcomed return to the rotation, don't expect Keita Bates-Diop to go quietly into the night.

From Ari Wasserman of

"I haven't thought about how I'm going to use Marc or where we're going to put him in the game or anything like that," Matta said. "I just like that we've added depth."

That Matta doesn't automatically know how he'll use Loving means he has to be impressed with the way Bates-Diop performed. 

His best game came during Ohio State's win at Rutgers on Sunday. Bates-Diop scored a career-high 14 points in 19 minutes and buried three of his four shots from three. 

Matta's always liked Bates-Diop's offensive game, but more importantly, Bates-Diop is starting to learn his defensive role on the team. For a team that lacks a presence at the rim, it can never have too many competent perimeter defenders.

JACK NICKLAUS GETS SOME PROPS FROM CONGRESS. I hold no love in my heart for the game of golf, but the swagger of the Golden Bear is undeniable, and I'll get behind anything honoring him.


Washington, D.C. — On Tuesday, March 24, leaders of the U.S. House and Senate will present a Congressional Gold Medal to Jack Nicklaus in recognition of his many contributions to the game of golf and his service to the community and the nation.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will take part in the bipartisan, bicameral ceremony, as will members of the Ohio congressional delegation.

The Gold Medal is the highest civilian award the United States Congress can bestow. It was awarded to Mr. Nicklaus pursuant to H.R. 2203, which was sponsored by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and signed into law by President Obama on December 16, 2014. The Medal has previously been awarded to such great athletes as Roberto Clemente, Joe Louis, Byron Nelson, Jesse Owens, Arnold Palmer, and Jackie Robinson.

That's a helluva athletic fraternity in which to belong. We "joke" about the 11W Premium Lounge, but hell, I'd pay real money to hang out in a smoke-filled parlor with those dudes listed. (Jesse Owens and I would run the Spades table; no doubt in my mind.)

HARBAUGH!!!! Jim Harbaugh, appearing on's Tim Kawakami's podcast, said some interesting words.

Q: What was it like to watch Ohio State win the national title?

HARBAUGH: Yeah, it was good to see for the Big Ten, for the Midwest, for our conference, understanding that bar is set very high, at the highest level. And that’s what we’ll aspire to being. That’ll take fierce competition to determine playing time, starters, positions and our place in the conference…

Q: Does the Ohio State situation remind you of when you got to Stanford and you were looking at USC having established itself so clearly?

HARBAUGH: Yes, it does. That’s a very fair and good comparison. When we came into the conference into the conference in the Pac 10, no question about it. USC was at the top of their game and that’s where Ohio State is.

And other teams in the Big Ten, too–Wisconsin, Michigan State, Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State. There’s so many good teams in the Big Ten. It’s a very competitive time for the Big Ten.

Q: Was that Tweet you sent out, the Walter Scott quote, thought of the day: “What a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive,’ was that a reference to anything specific in recruiting?

HARBAUGH: Nooo. It was a thought of the day. I didn’t come up that. That was Sir Walter.

I enjoyed the word salad Harbaugh regurgitated when asked what it was like to watch his blood rival lift a national championship when he was out trying — and, for the most part, failing — to microwave relationships with 2015 recruits.

If anybody in the Big Ten, let alone Michigan, needed to see Ohio State win a title to remind itself "Oh yeah, titles are the goal here," then they should be excommunicated from the money train.

And Jimmy can miss me with this "It was Sir Walter" bullshit, like a 19th-century Scottish novelist climbed out of his grave and sent a tweet from Jim Harbaugh's BlackBerry (zero doubt in my mind Harbaugh rolls BlackBerry). 

I won't weep over a juvenile potshot — that's what rivalries are for — but at least own your words and the message behind it.

THOSE WMDs. Yes, 11W's next shirt is too trill... Lonely Japanese men protest "blood soaked conspiracy" of Valentine's Day... A great inter-species photo... Potential drug barons didn't think this one through... A classic screencap from The Game.

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