Skull Session: Evan Turner Gets a Second-Straight Triple-Double, Chris Holtmann's Final Four Chances, and Conference Realignment Theories

By Kevin Harrish on April 4, 2019 at 4:59 am
Justin Fields and Jeremy Ruckert are happy to be in today's Skull Session.

Parents, talk to your children about playing pickup basketball with Zion Williamson.


Word of the Day: Lugubrious.

 THE VILLAIN STRIKES AGAIN. Evan Turner only had three triple-doubles in his first 681 NBA games. Now he has two in a row.

And after the game, he had an extremely Evan Turner quote about teammate Anfernee Simons, who got him his 10th assist: "He checked in and then didn't want to shoot. Almost had to strangle him."

If E.T. keeps this up, he might find himself in the Hall of Fame. Or at the very least, the starting lineup.

 FIRST FINAL FOUR IN THE FUTURE? Chris Holtmann's never been to the Final Four, but Lord willing, that's going to change in the very near future.

Brian Hamilton of The Athletic ($) has Holtmann among his five coaches likely to become the next coaches to punch their ticket to the Final Four for the first time.

Chris Holtmann, Ohio State. It could be an interesting two or three seasons in Columbus. Holtmann has won 67.6 percent of his games at Butler and Ohio State, with five straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 2017 Sweet 16 run with the Bulldogs that helped propel him to his current job. While the Buckeyes’ limitations were laid bare down the stretch this season, the core compiled by Holtmann is enticing for the medium-term. Let’s assume Kaleb Wesson returns for his junior year. That would mean six rotation players will be back for 2019-20, four of whom (besides Wesson) were freshmen and sophomores and have nice upsides, theoretically. Most critically, a statement recruiting class is on the way: D.J. Carton, Alonzo Gaffney and E.J. Liddell, all top-50 signees who might not fit the one-and-done mold. There’s a chance for Holtmann’s program to accelerate quite a bit in the near future.

While I tend to agree with everything written above, I also think this sort of prognosticating is damn near impossible because the NCAA Tournament is damn near unpredictable. Holtmann could have the best team he's ever had, go undefeated in the regular season and then get trucked in the second round by someone like UC Irvine that randomly hits 78 percent from three.

If you want to know how hard it to make it to the Final Four, talk to Duke, who assembled the Monstars from Space Jam and didn't make it out of the Elite 8, almost losing its two previous games as well.

I'm not saying Holtmann can't get the Buckeyes to the Big Dance's final weekend, because he absolutely can. I guess I'm just saying that when it happens, you have full permission to go absolutely nuts.

 MORE CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT. College Football Knower Stewart Mandel thinks conference realignment could happen once again within about five or 10 years. But before you roll your eyes, read his hypothesis about what it could look like this time, because it sounds absolutely awesome.

From Stewart Mandel of The Athletic ($):

Most people in the business believe there could be some sort of major shakeup around the time of that aforementioned window. But nobody has any idea what that might be, in large part because the TV rights climate is changing so rapidly.

Remember, one of if not the driving factor behind the massive shuffling of 2010-12 was the chase for cable households. With the advent of cord-cutters and streaming services, will that even be a relevant factor in 2026? And who will be the players bidding on contracts by then? ESPN and FOX aren’t going anywhere, but will any or all of Netflix, Amazon, Google (YouTube) or Hulu join in by then?

Three years ago, I theorized that the next wave of realignment won’t be along traditional conference lines at all. Rather, it will involve the 25 or so most prestigious college football programs forming their own autonomous confederation — a la the Champions League in soccer — in which they exclusively play each other and feed directly into an expanded CFP. The idea being to create the most valuable possible content rather than worrying about cable footprints. Ohio State playing all of its games against USC, Texas, Alabama, Michigan, etc., would make for far more attractive content than its continuing to play half its schedule against Tulane, Maryland, Rutgers, etc.

Sign me the hell up.

Imagine a world where every game on television could be the site for College GameDay. Ratings would be absurd every weekend, stadiums would be packed on gameday, and every single game would mean something.

I can't imagine a change this drastic actually happening, especially in the next 5-10 years, but as a consumer of college football and a producer of college football words, I cannot express how quickly I'd trade a game against Florida A&M with a game against Alabama in the Horseshoe.

At the very least, I think something needs to be done to separate the Power 5 conferences from the Group of 5 conferences, because if a Group of 5 team didn't make the playoff after not losing a game for two years, it's never happening. Give them their own playoff, not just a slew of December bowl games.

 FAMILY HELPING FAMILY. Corey Linsley got himself some extended family a few years ago when he began riding Travis Kohlbeck's bike to training camp, as is custom in Green Bay.

But now a member of his adopted family needs help, and Corey's doing everything he can to make sure they get it.

Having never met him, I can still say with absolute confidence that Corey Linsley is an extremely good human being, and when he's got your back, everything's going to work out fine.

Prayers up, John and the Kohlbeck family.

 FILM ROOM WITH HARTLINE. I'd pay at least dozens of dollars to be a fly on the wall of the Ohio State receivers room the past year as that unit got its swagger back, but this clip is probably as good as it's going to get.

I'll never get over that story about Johnnie Dixon literally giving up his chance at a touchdown so Terry McLaurin could get one instead. That's the sort of thing that sets the standard for the unit for years and years after they're gone.

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