Saint Patrick's Day Skull Session: Ohio State Vs. Gonzaga Headlines Stacked Buckeye Saturday

By D.J. Byrnes on March 17, 2018 at 4:59 am
Ohio State dumps Gonzaga for March 17 2018 Skull Session.

Ah, Saint Patrick... the Irish saint of binge drinking and blacking out before sunset. Prayers to the Buckeye fans that won't survive until Ohio State tips off against Gonzaga.


Your Buckeye sporting Saturday guide:

Word of the Day: Songun.

 SECOND SHOT THE CHARM? We're all aware Gonzaga dragged Ohio State in their first meeting, as a CBS staffer undoubtedly has a b-roll of that game ready to roll during the pregame.

Even if the Bulldogs bulldoze the Buckeyes again, it can't eliminate the sweetness of this surprise season. For their part, Chris Holtmann's team feels the second time will be different.

From James Grega of Eleven Warriors, whom you should follow on Twitter for live updates from Boise:

"I am happy to play them. Obviously they beat us earlier in the season, but this is what you want in the tournament is to play teams that beat you early on," Keita Bates-Diop said Thursday. "We're not the same team, but neither are they, so it should be a good matchup. 

"(We're) completely different. That was like our sixth or seventh game with a new coaching staff and a bunch of new players I hadn't really played with," Bates-Diop continued. "We hadn't really gelled yet. Like I said, it's a completely different team. Complete opposites."

In the first round of games at Taco Bell Arena on Thursday, Ohio State wasn't the only team that had to squeak out a close victory against the lower-seeded opponent. No. 4 seed Gonzaga was tied with No. 13 UNC Greensboro in the closing minutes before coming away with a close 68-64 victory over the Spartans. 

This is March, and oddmakers opening Ohio State as 2.5-point underdogs was curious indeed. I'm not predicting a Buckeye win (please don't drag me in the postgame interview, Chris Holtmann) but I do think this will be much more competitive than the first game.

I'll also be watching to see who brought more fans to Boise: The Buckeye Hive or the tiny private school within easy driving distance. Not like Taco Bell Arena (of course that's the name in Boise) seats 50,000. It seats 12,000.

 FORMER BUCKEYES WISH SENIORS WELL. Thad Matta's vaunted 2015 recruiting class crumbled like a stale graham cracker. That doesn't mean those that moved on harbor any ill will towards their teammates. In fact, it's the opposite.

From The Toledo Blade:

“The seniors, Keita, Kam [Williams], Jae’Sean [Tate], [I’m] definitely happy for them,” Giddens said. “They've been through a lot up there, a lot of perseverance. Keita's game has taken off to a whole other level and I'm just really happy for them."

This is far from the March anyone in Columbus envisioned in the summer of 2015.

But in a strange way, things seemed to work out for Ohio State, and for the players who transferred elsewhere.

“We all try to talk to each other as much as we can if we get the time. We're all doing pretty good,” Giddens said. “I know Mickey and A.J. [made] the tournament as well, so I'm happy for them.

You know who also deserves this season? The cabal of Ohio State fans that follow basketball more than football. May the prosperity continue, as covering the Big Dance has been more fun than the NIT ever was.

 FOOTBALL (ALMOST) BACK. Clicks on this site show a vast majority of Ohio State fans prefer offseason football columns even more than NCAA tournament briefs. 

For those rabid, insatiable dogs of war, I offer Earle Bruce's large adult grandson comparing Michael Thomas and Austin Mack at Mack's stage of career (junior year).


“To compare the two at this point in their career, Austin is probably ahead of him,” Smith said. “Mike made a huge jump that next year, but that’s been Austin’s deal since the minute he signed here. He would come in and say, ‘Whatever Mike Thomas did, I want to do it.’ I think to compare the two is hard because of how Mike finished, but Austin has a high upside and I like where he’s headed.”

I'm not sure Mack will ever be the physical mismatch that Thomas was. He could equal him in the technician department, though. Mack is poised for a big year.

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