Let it be known that I tried to tell y'all about Justin Ahrens.
I've been hearing all day that he's going to score 27 points tonight. Huge, if true. https://t.co/8y2a7phZyD
— Kevin Harrish (@Kevinish) February 26, 2019
My sources were two points off, but two points off in the good direction.
I don't know if I can adequately express how much I enjoy watching Ahrens play. The dude has more confidence than a cheetah at a track meet when he's shooting, even if he's missed five in a row. He earnestly believes every shot is going in, and as a result, his misses even look better than some folks' makes.
This Final Four run is going to be crazy. Duke doesn't want it.
- The Buckeyes blasted Iowa, 90-70.
- Justin Ahrens exploded for a 29 points.
- The Buckeyes' performance came at the best time.
- Ohio State was a big winner in the transfer portal wars.
- The Buckeye linebackers face a lot of personnel questions.
- Ohio State is zeroing in on three prospects at the H-Back position.
Word of the Day: Inculcate.
FRAN'S PISSED. I think it's fair to say Fran McCaffery did not take that loss well.
Uh, wow. Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey was just screaming at an official walking down a hallway of Value City Arena. "You cheating motherfucker! You're a fucking disgrace!"
— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) February 27, 2019
Without knowing for sure, I'd wager that Fran was still pissed about the technical he received for being pissed at the technical foul his son received for being pissed at a foul call he received – a chain of pissed, if you will.
Based on that reaction, you'd think Fran got jobbed on a controversial call that cost them a close game. Fran, buddy, you got dropped by 20. You could have gotten literally nine technical fouls called in your favor and still lost.
Now, let's compare that postgame response to a technical foul to Chris Holtmann's:
Chris Holtmann on his first-half technical foul: "Nice conversation. Just asking how each other's families are doing. I deserved it. I just lost my cool."
— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) February 27, 2019
Admittedly, this isn't a perfect comparison because one of these guys just lost by 20 points to an unranked team and one just got a 20-point win over a ranked team. But I still think there's a takeaway from their reactions.
Holtmann lost his cool, shook it off and led his team back to a lopsided victory. McCaffery lost his cool, his team didn't hit a shot for the rest of the game and then he chased officials down a hallway yelling profanities.
Moral of the story: get less pissed and do your job better instead.
ANOTHER ONE? I figured the Buckeyes were done adding to their roster after Jonah Jackson committed, especially when other offensive line target R.J. Proctor canceled his scheduled Ohio State visit.
But that might not be the case, according to Tom Orr of The Ozone.
But Georgia Tech guard Parker Braun might be the most significant name to watch now that Jackson is officially onboard.
He was a member of Georgia Tech’s 2016 recruiting class and played all three seasons he was there. As a grad transfer, he could play right away, helping shore up a team’s 2019 line.
But Braun could also redshirt this fall, and use his final year of eligibility in 2020. That would give the Buckeyes a returning veteran on the inside of the line next year.
He is tentatively planning a trip to Columbus in March. A source tells TheOzone that OSU reached out to Braun to let him know that Jackson was going to be committing, but that they were still interested.
I have to say, I had never considered that a graduate transfer would want to sit out a year, but this specific move would make a ton of sense for both parties.
Ohio State will probably need him more next season than this season and given that he's coming from a triple-option offense, a redshirt season would give him another year to work on his pass blocking before he's thrust into action or tries to move on to the next level.
DRAFT CLASS SUPERLATIVES. You'll be shocked to learn that Nick Bosa and Dwayne Haskins got more praise from the media heading into the NFL Draft.
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report put together a list of superlatives for the draft eligible players in each position group and a few Buckeyes got some love.
- Most NFL-Ready Quarterback: Dwayne Haskins
- Biggest Sleeper Running Back: Mike Weber
- Most NFL-Ready Edge Defender: Nick Bosa
- Best Pass-Rushing Edge Defender: Nick Bosa
- Best Potential as an Edge Defender: Nick Bosa
I'm on board with all of those (mostly because they're obvious) but I'm glad someone in the national media sees Mike Weber as a sleeper pick as well. I think he's going to test very well at the combine and make some team very, very happy as a late-round selection.
AAF SUPERSTAR. If you haven't been paying attention, Jalin Marshall has been absolutely tearing up the AAF and probably turning some heads in NFL front offices, which is the whole goal of the league.
From Marcus Hartman of the Dayton Daily News:
The hope is that players who impress during the AAF season will get an opportunity to join NFL teams for their offseason programs in May and June.
“The goal is to be able to get back there,” Marshall said. "I definitely want to finish this year out strong and win a championship and I think if we take care of our business and win the championship everybody will have an opportunity to go play.
“Some of us guys who have been to the NFL, we were like the last couple of receivers on the roster so those guys don’t really get a chance to put out their skills on national TV every week,” Marshall said. “So I think this is something that will give me an opportunity to show I am capable of playing at the highest level.”
“It’s been a big rollercoaster ride for me with ups and downs, highs and lows and stuff like that, but all throughout my journey I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “Whether it was being successful or going through a rough patch, I’ve learned to be a better man, a better person, a better player for all the things I’ve been through I think it has allowed me to put myself in a great situation now.”
With the way he's been playing, he's going to get himself a real shot at making an NFL roster next fall. In the mean time, I'm going to enjoy the hell out of watching him play in the spring.
BRACKETOLOGY. In the simplest, simplest terms, last night's game was a must-win game for Ohio State's NCAA Tournament chances, and the Buckeyes did even more than they needed to.
With that lopsided win over a top-25 opponent, Ohio State has probably punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament, even if the Buckeyes lose the remainder of their games, according to ESPN's John Gasaway:
Ohio State beating Iowa so easily at home was more significant than winning at home might ordinarily be for a projected No. 10 seed. Yes, the Buckeyes were occupying that relatively safe position in mock brackets before tip-off, but the struggles of Chris Holtmann's group on offense over the previous few games gave the indication of a team that could, conceivably, falter. Instead, Justin Ahrens went nuts (29 points) and OSU beat the Hawkeyes by 20. Of course, Ohio State still has three challenging games yet to play (on the road against Purdue and Northwestern and at home against Wisconsin), but the worst-case scenario going into the Big Ten tournament is now 18-13 overall and 8-10 in-conference. With those 18 wins, including the one at Cincinnati, that should get the job done even in the worst case.
To be clear, I'd rather not lose four-straight games and back into the tournament, but it's great to hear that's an option!
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