Skull Session: Julian Fleming is a Strong Blocker, Ohio State's Shot Selection is Poor, and ESPN's BPI Still Loves the Buckeyes

By Kevin Harrish on January 10, 2020 at 4:59 am
The Buckeyes are going to doing things in today's skull session.

I just want you all to be aware that there is an alternate reality where Darius Bazley is showing up to the Schott in this outfit.

Happy Friday!

Word of the Day: Peregrinate.

 BLOCKING FIRST. Julian Fleming's high school offense did him no favors in terms of production, but he went ahead and produced anyway.

“He’s 6-2,” Hartline said. “Runs really well, really fast. Ran track as well. Really great ball skills. Very physical in the run game. You know, what’s great about Julian is he runs in a kind of a wing-t offense, a heavy run offense, so the expectation on targets should be pretty low.

“So when he gets here hopefully he’s not like, ‘Hey man, I need the ball.’ You didn’t get it a whole lot in high school. But with that said, he’d get like three targets and it would be two touchdowns and whatever else. So that’s good. I expect a great blocker. He sends me all of his blocking film before he sends me any kind of catch, so he loves it.”

The early enrollee is on campus now, ready to carve out a role while making himself at home in Columbus.

“It was pretty easy,” Fleming said when asked about his commitment in June. “No doubt in my mind.”

It's hilarious to me that the nation's top wide receiver was primarily used as a blocker in his high school offense, but it's extremely on-brand that he's now headed to a program that produced Terry McLaurin, who still has the following Tweet pinned at the top of his profile:

Julian Fleming is gonna catch a lot of touchdowns, but if he ever truly wants to be a king in Columbus, he's going to have to take out multiple dudes on a single block. Those are the rules.

 TAKE BETTER SHOTS. If you're wondering why Ohio State has been scoring fewer points than the opposing team for the past three games, we might have your answer.


So basically, the Buckeyes have been taking some terrible shots, but at least they've been making more of them than should be expected! I – for one – am shocked that didn't prove sustainable.

On the bright side, it could be worse. I mean, at least we're figuring this problem out now instead of like, February. Let's just fix it by March, alright?

 THE MACHINE KNOWS! The Buckeyes haven't won a game since before Christmas, but don't tell that to ESPN's Basketball Power Index, which still has Ohio State rated at No. 4, behind only Duke, Kansas and Michigan State.

If you're wondering how the hell that happens, here's your explainer.

The College Basketball Power Index (BPI) is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of performance going forward. BPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Strength of Record (SOR) is a measure of team accomplishment based on how difficult a team's W-L record is to achieve. Game predictions account for opponent strength, pace of play, site, travel distance, day's rest and altitude, and are used to simulate the season 10,000 times to produce season projections. Numbers update daily.

TL;DR, remember when the Buckeyes were ruining every team they played and blasted four top-25 teams by an average of 22 points? That'll swoon a computer. Now they just gotta get back there.


 ACTUALLY, IT'S 15. I've been talking about the Buckeyes' 14 early enrollees on this here website for about a week, but Ohio State Sports Information Director Jerry Emig hit us all with a #WellActually on Thursday: the Buckeyes' added walk-on tight end Corey Rau, so there are really 15 early enrollees.

Ohio State has a 15th newcomer who is participating in winter workouts: Corey Rau, a tight end from Katy, Texas, has joined the program as a walk-on. He’s a graduate transfer from SMU who was a member of the American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team. He earned his undergraduate degree in sport management.

I offer my sincerest welcome to Mr. Rau. My that black stripe shed quickly and smoothly.

 FALLING UP. Has anybody fallen up harder than Alex Grinch the past few seasons? The dude was a co-coordinator of statistically the worst defense in Ohio State history, then got a raise to move to Oklahoma where his Sooner defense ranked No. 64 in scoring defense this season and just gave up 63 points in a College Football Playoff game.

And he could be a head coach next season.

I'm guilty of thinking he was a home-run hire at Ohio State, and am also guilty of thinking that last season's defensive woes were not his fault, and also that Ohio State should have retained him as defensive coordinator. There's a chance all of those things are still true, but those chances got lower and lower with every Joe Burrow touchdown.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. Why you wake up at the same time every night... More than 61,000 are missing in Mexico amid spiraling drug violence... A man who was poisoned by a coworker dies after four years in a coma... Foxes keep attacking an 88-year-old man and he has no idea why... The dormant Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey has become a soundstage for an NBC drama... What it's like to survive a shipwreck... A gruesome murder, a convenient suspect and a questionable confession – who really killed Leola Shreves?

View 75 Comments