Wednesday, February 28, 2007

No respect

We've been the #1 team in both polls for about a day and a half, and already I'm tired of the "you don't deserve it" commentaries around the country.

Constant questions about losing to Florida, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, and why-oh-whys as to how we could be #1 instead of those teams, or others, based on the regional home base of the writers in question.

Well, every single article or online message that attacks Ohio State's losses always seems to leave out one convienent point....Ohio State is the ONLY team in the country to NOT lose to an unranked opponent.

EVERY TEAM in the NCAA has lost to at least one unranked opponent. Ohio State hasn't even lost to a team ranked below #8!

- UCLA lost to two unranked teams (a 10-loss Stanford team, and WVA, who is the 7th-best in the Big East)
- Kansas lost to three unranked teams (DePaul was one of them. So was Oral Roberts. Oral Roberts? ORAL FREAKING ROBERTS?)
- Wisconsin lost to one unranked team (Missouri State, who won't even win the weak MVC), but they also lost to Ohio State.
- Florida lost to four unranked teams (FSU, Vandy, LSU, and Tennessee), and they're looking like they are finished. They're coasting down the home stretch without a driver, and the bus is veering into the ditch.
- Memphis lost to one unranked team (Tennessee)
- Texas A&M lost to one unranked team, but they lost to them twice (Texas Tech)
- North Carolina lost to four unranked teams (NC State, Virginia Tech twice, and Maryland)

Oh, I can go on....but you get the point.

Yes, Ohio State did lose to three teams who could get very far in the NCAA Tourney. But you want to bash our losses? Show us your team and their losses. I'll bet you're much more ashamed of your teams failures than I am of mine.

Oh, and shut up.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Home-court advantage in the NCAA Tourney....sort of

I'm reposting this because I still find it fascinating and nobody else has said a SINGLE WORD about it.....but you, the 4 dozen readers of the BBC know about it. Spread the freakin' word (and maybe kinda give me credit?).
NCAA rules state that no team can play a NCAA Tournament game on their home court. "Home court" is defined as any floor in which the team has played "more than three scheduled games".

I like this rule, as it keeps teams from getting the ultimate advantage in the Big Dance. But Ohio State, thanks to a strange twist of fate, may be getting the next-best thing in the form of a quasi-home-court advantage.

Ohio State just locked up the Big Ten Championship and the #1 seed in the conference tournament. Being #1 in both polls, they have also given themselves a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but there is still a tiny bit of doubt on that.

The Buckeyes will then play their first conference tournament game at Noon on March 9th at the United Center in Chicago.
If they win that game, they play in the Big Ten semifinals on March 10th at the United Center in Chicago.
If they win that game, they play in the Big Ten Championship game on March 11th at...take a wild guess.....the United Center in Chicago.

Winning that Big Ten Tournament will guarantee the Buckeyes the top seed in the Midwest bracket (some say just getting into the championship game of the Big Ten Tourney will do that). They might already have that top seed in the Midwest, as the committee likes to place their #1 teams in their home regions.

Guess what? The top seed in the Midwest bracket plays their first two the United Center in Chicago.

How much of an advantage do YOU think a team would have getting to play 5 straight games on the same floor?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Additions to the blogroll

This morning, I made three additions to the Buckeye blogroll. Frankly, I'm ashamed that I didn't have these three up before.

Coach Tressel - Run by Ryan Miller, former Buckeye, this is a site with a plethora of information, and it's all from a true insider. I had the honor of meeting Miller today, and it wasn't until I got home that I realized I hadn't yet added his site to my list of links. My bad, Ryan. I've corrected my error.

My Casual Thoughts - Andy is a Buckeye fan living in Ann Arbor. Poor guy. Show him some love and check out his site....he's a great writer, VERY funny, and he usually posts pictures of hot women. There's nothing not to love about his site.

Pfef's Sports Blog - The Kid himself. Pfef is only 17 years old (despite his claim that he's 250 years old on his profile), and writes like an old pro. He's already racked up some nice testimonials from the best bloggers in the Buckeye Nation, and he has earned the accolades. If blogging was a professional sport, he'd be LeBron or Kobe, the one leaving high school to go straight to the pros.

Check these guys out. You won't be wasting your time!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Big Ten in the NCAA many teams?

As the season comes to a close, the NCAA Tourney discussion heats up. So let's talk about the Big Ten and specifically, how many teams will make it to the big dance?

Here's the standings as of this moment......

Ohio State -- 14-1 - 26-3
Wisconsin --- 12-3 - 26-4
Illinois ----- 9-6 - 21-9
Michigan State 8-6 - 21-8
Indiana ------ 8-6 - 18-9
Iowa --------- 8-6 - 16-12
Michigan ----- 7-7 - 19-10
Purdue ------- 7-7 - 18-10
Minnesota ---- 3-12 - 9-20
Northwestern - 2-12 - 13-15
Penn State --- 1-13 - 10-17

-Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State are in. No doubt about it.
-Minnesota, Northwestern, and Penn State have no chance, aside from the incredible unlikely automatic bid given to the winner of the Big Ten Tournament.
-That leaves 5 teams which are "on the bubble", Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Purdue.

Illinois does not have a signature win, having lost to all 6 ranked teams they played. But it's hard to ignore 21 wins in the Big Ten, especially a third-place Big Ten team. I'm going to say they're in without much debate.

Indiana was once a lock to get in. They were ranked in the Top 20 and were holding a 16-5 record after knocking off #2 Wisconsin. they were headed towards the tourney at full speed. That was then. This is now. The Hoosiers have lost four of their last six games and are stumbling at every turn. However, I'm going to put them in the tourney, based on that Wisconsin win, along with wins against the aforementioned Illinois and Michigan State. You beat three Big Ten 20-win teams and you get in. Nuff said.

Iowa is tied for fourth place in the Big Ten with an 8-6 record. Fourth place usually gets you an invite, but this team is only 16-12 overall. Yes, they have wins over Michigan State and Indiana, but I don't think that's going to cut it. 16-12, man. That's a bitch. They still have one big game against Illinois after a road game in Happy Valley against lowly Penn State. Wins those two, and you're at 18 wins. Maybe two more wins in the Big Ten tourney would do it? They would have 20 wins then, but that also means they'll need to beat either Wisconsin or Ohio State to get there. In my honest opinion, Iowa is out unless they pull off another miracle in the Big Ten Tournament.

That leaves us with Michigan and Purdue. One will get in, both might get in. Both teams have two games left, and those two games will tell a lot.

Michigan has their two biggest rivals, Michigan State and Ohio State. Just one win will give the Wolverines their signature victory (and their 20th win). But those are two tough teams to knock off. Fortunately for Michigan, both contests are at home. But if both games end up in a loss, they will finish the Big Ten in the 8th slot, with a Big Ten tournament game against 9th-seed Minnesota. That game should give them their 20th victory (followed the next day by a likely defeat to #1 seed Ohio state). Will 20 wins and no signature victory be enough to propel the Wolverines? My gut says no. They need to beat Michigan State on Tuesday night, or they're in a world of hurt.

Purdue has a much easier road. 18 wins in the books and two home games left against cellar-dwellers Minnesota and Northwestern. They should have no trouble getting to 20, and a huge win over Michigan State will help get them in the dance. Follow that up with at least one win in the Big Ten tourney, and it's a lock.

So there's my take. Feel free to ridicule or agree in the comments.

Teams in the NCAAs (6)
Ohio State
Michigan State

Teams in the NIT (2)

Of course, I'd be happy to see Michigan beat MSU and make the Dance. We would actually have a legitimate shot at beating them four times in the same basketball season......

Yeah, I heard it too.....

Just now, ESPN was showing highlights, and the broadcaster actually showed a Wisconsin field goal and was quoted as saying "Alondo Tucker dropping a deuce".

Please, dear God, let that make it's way onto YouTube.


Let me be the first to say it (because CBS sure as hell didn't after the game).

The Ohio State Buckeyes are the Big Ten Champions.

Oh, and also...anybody want to say we don't have a quality win or a good record anymore? We just beat a #1 team, and our 26-3 record is the best in the NCAA.

OSU/Wisconsin, live blogging

Ron Lewis rejects it! Buckeyes win! Buckeyes win!
That was an unbelievable finish to an incredible game, and it sets up the Buckeyes for tournament time!
Conley does it. Now just play 3.8 seconds defense!!!!!!!
WOW! The 6th-best FT shooter in the Big Ten misses from the line, and Ohio State has a chance to win with less than 20 seconds to play. Who do you give the ball to??? I say Conley.
Ohio State has 52 seconds left, down 1. They NEED to get off a good shot with more than 40 to play, so they can get it back again today.
Damn. How does a guy get that open in the lane against us? Wisconsin leads 48-47.
1:05 to play and the Buckeyes cannot get a defensive rebound. Oden forces three Badgers to change their shots and can't get any help on the boards. We still lead 47-46.
WOW! Great defense again as the shot clock winds down!
47-46 Bucks
2:46 left. Conley fed Oden and he did what he always does....slams it and picked up the foul! He did a great job recovering the ball off the floor. Chance to take the lead after the timeout!
4:30 to play. Have you ever seen so many players leap out of bounds and save the ball?
5:30 to play, I was just about to say we had weathered Wisky's run. Then they hit a three and Oden got called for a travel. The guy's head commits fouls AND he gets whistled for things no other player gets called for in the NCAA? Unbelieveable.
7 minutes to play. Thank God I DVRd this game.
Nice outside defense by Conley. Forced a bad shot, and Harris fired the Buckeyes back on top with a three. HELL of a game!
10 minutes to play, Wisky is running. They're on an 11-2 run, and it all began after Greg Oden's head committed a foul on Greg "Cleveland" Stiemsma's elbow. The Badgers are lighting it up from the outside, so it's time to pressure more.
OK, we're at halftime in this one. Ohio State leads Wisconsin 25-22.

It's been a battle the whole way, and Wisky is KILLING us on the boards. The numbers show us with a 17-11 deficit in rebounding, but it feels much worse than that. However, being the eternal optimist, I'll say this...if you told me we'd be down 17-11 in boards at halftime, I'd be terrified. I'd think we were losing by ten points. So to be up by 3 with this key stat, I'd say I feel good. Wisconsin is NOT going to out-rebound us at this pace all day long, so when we start improving there, we should pull away.

However, Wisky is only shooting 34.6% from the field, and one would also expect that to improve. Oden has been a force inside. Even when he's not blocking shots, he's forcing adjustments that Wisconsin is not handling well. So if the Badgers are going to improve their shooting, it's going to have to be from the outside. If they don't start hitting their 3s, they will be in trouble.

Historically speaking, the last time these two played, Wisky led by three at the half. They won by three. I'll take it happily if that trend continues.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ask Jim Tressel

While we are in the midst of Buckeye Basketball fever (rumor has it there's a big game or something on Sunday), I'd like to take a moment and change the subject briefly.

I will be in the presence of greatness Monday afternoon as Jim Tressel comes to town for a little Q&A. I ask you to help me out on this day.

If you could ask Tressel any question, what would it be? Let your inquisitive nature run free and post your thoughts in the comments.

I'll be recording the Q%A session and will attempt to blog it all, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The possibility of "home court advantage" in the NCAA Tournament......

OK, now you're going to have to stay with me on this one. It could get complicated.....

NCAA rules state that no team can play a NCAA Tournament game on their home court. "Home court" is defined as any floor in which the team has played "more than three scheduled games". So you're not going to see the Buckeyes at the Schottenstein Center, which will host the first and second rounds. However, the Buckeyes may be on track for the next best thing.

Ohio State is four days away from their big showdown against Wisconsin. If they win, they lock up the Big Ten Championship and the #1 seed in the conference tournament. The Big Ten Championship will probably hand Ohio State a #1 seed, but that's not a guarantee yet.

The Buckeyes will then play their first conference tournament game on March 9th at the United Center in Chicago. If they win, they play in the Big Ten semifinals on March 10th at the United Center in Chicago. If they win, they play in the Big Ten Championship game on March 11th at....the United Center in Chicago.

Winning that Big Ten Tournament will secure the #1 seed the Buckeyes are looking for. The other top seeds look to be Florida, UCLA and North Carolina. Looking regionally, the top seed in the South would go to Florida, the east would go to North Carolina, and the West would go to UCLA. Ohio State would become the #1 seed in the Midwest, which is EXACTLY what they want.

....and guess what? The top seed in the Midwestern bracket plays their first two the United Center in Chicago.

How much of an advantage do YOU think a team would have getting to play 5 straight games on the same floor?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Quest for 30

I don't have any idea how many teams in the history of the NCAA have entered the NCAA Tournament with 30 wins. I do know that Ohio State has never compiled 30 wins in any season, but the 2006-2007 Buckeyes have that opportunity.

They enter tomorrow's home game against Penn State with a 24-3 record. With three games left on the regular season schedule, they could end up 27-3. That record would give them the first seed in the Big Ten tournament and a bye in the first round. Should they win the Big Ten tourney, they would end up with three more wins and a 30-3 record.

Obviously, a 30-3 record would mean a win over Wisconsin (probably two of them), and would further guarantee a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. At that point, I would write a post entitled "Quest for 36".

So here we's within our grasp now. Can we get to 30?

Penn State would be #25. Let's begin the quest.

Monday, February 19, 2007

It's a split decision!

The polls are out, and yes, we will have a #1 vs. #2 game on Sunday at the Schott!!!

...or should I say it'll be #1 vs. #1 at the Schott????

AP poll
1. Wisconsin (35) 26-2 1,747
2. Ohio State (31) 24-3 1,728
3. Florida (4) 24-3 1,647
4. UCLA (2) 23-3 1,611
5. North Carolina 23-4 1,474

USA Today/ESPN poll
1. Ohio State (17) 24-3 757
2. Wisconsin (10) 26-2 741
3. Florida (1) 24-3 710
4. UCLA (2) 23-3 682
5. North Carolina (1) 23-4 625

As you can see, the lead for both Wisky and OSU are VERY small. This tells me one thing....whoever wins Sunday's game will be #1, and they will most likely lock up a #1 seed in the NCAA Tourney, regardless of performance in the Big Ten Tourney.

DAMN, this game will be huge!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Will they be #1???

By now you know the story....Ohio State was #2 in last week's poll (both AP and USA Today), and Florida was a unanimous #1. Then the Gators got beat by Vanderbilt yesterday, 83-70. Follow that up with an 85-67 Ohio State win over Minnesota today, and you have an interesting situation.

By all normal reasoning, the Ohio State Buckeyes should be vaulted to the #1 ranking. But should they be #1?

I say no. In my eyes, they are not the best team in the nation. I'm not sure who IS the best team in the nation, but it's not Ohio State at this point.

Ohio State and Florida have matching 24-3 records, and I think that stat, coupled with the Gators dismantling of Ohio State earlier this season will keep Florida at #1. They'll lose most of their first-place votes, but a lot of those will peel off to Wisconsin and North Carolina. They'll still have enough points to stay #1, but they lead will shrink.

My opinion....let's see what happens one week from now. If Ohio State knocks off Wisconsin next Sunday, THEN crown them #1. But not yet.

Polls come out tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My strange but awesome weekend

A little background....I am the Director Of Marketing for Damon's Grill in Canton, Ohio. Whatever I can do to raise sales, I do. It's my job, and frankly, I love it. During football season, it meant that I got to turn the place into a sea of scarlet and gray...who wouldn't love getting paid to do that?

Recently, I have been anxiously awaiting March Madness so we can return the clubhouse to Ohio State Central. But then this weekend came, and I got lucky.

Saturday afternoon around 430, I noticed a few people in Ohio State jackets walking in. Having attended OSU, I recognized the jackets as lettermen coats. Holy crap, that's James Laurinaitis!

So there I am, fighting a serious bout of hero worship, when I finally manage to figure out who the entire crew is;

Little Animal Laurinaitis
Brian Robiskie
Malcolm Jenkins
T.J. Downing
Kirk Barton
Brian Hartline
Mike Hartline (Freshman QB at Kentucky)

Nice bunch of guys, and obviously they provided me with a ton of good times this fall, so I was proud to have them in my restaurant. I bought Downing a beer since he was the only one no longer bound by NCAA standards. The rest of the guys we had to leave alone...couldn't even send them out an appetizer. But they were great (the Hartline prothers and Robiskie seemed to be the most "into" the attention they were getting from fans). But all of them were great guys.

And I even got to slip a copy of all of my YouTube videos to Andy Logan, who was accompanying them (they had just come from an autograph session at Logan Sports). He promised to show it to the guys, so hopefully they appreciate it.

The very next day, I managed to track down Antonio Pittman, who signed a LARGE poster we have hanging in the restaurant (the picture is of him running away from the UM defense this year). I think Donte Whitner was with him, but I'm not positive...he offered to buy the aforementioned poster from me and introduced himself only as "Donte". I should have asked....

So my restaurant now has seven autographs in it that weren't there Saturday morning. I'm liking the way the place is looking now.....

By the way, if I may pat myself on the friend Janessa bartends there and was way too busy to walk down to the table and introduce herself to the 6 Bucks that came in to Damon's. She's the 2nd-biggest OSU fan in the restaurant (behind me), but never got to meet them. I got an autographed t-shirt for myself that day, but when I learned that Janessa missed out, I gave it to her. Damn my heart of gold. She would have loved to meet them (and vice-versa, I'm sure. Janessa has the nicest ummm, errr, ahhhh...."tracks of land"...I've ever seen)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Chad Henne? Chad Henne?????

I am really not sure why, but I have a troll who continually pounds on how Michigan quarterback Chad Henne is dominant and that Ohio State sucks compared to Henne.

Seriously. He does. I reject his comments based on sheer stupidity and ignorance of fact.

So, for the fun of it, I looked into the numbers;

Chad Henne vs. Ohio State - 73-125, 818 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT
Troy Smith vs. Michigan - 69-101, 857 yards, 7 TD, 1 INT

More yards, more touchdowns on fewer attempts...and fewer interceptions.


Chad Henne - 10 rushes, negative-43 yards
Troy Smith - 33 rushes, 194 yards

That kinda says it all.

The Buckeyes and Wolverines have played 180 minutes of football with Chad Henne on the team.

Ohio State has held the lead for 115 minutes and 55 seconds.
Michigan has held the lead for 30 minutes and 12 seconds.

And by the way, Ohio State has held the lead as the clock ran out in all three games against Chad Henne.

But for good measure, I merely must post this one more time.....

In conclusion...dude, Chad Henne is a good quarterback....but he wets himself when he sees scarlet and gray. Please don't try to convince me that Henne "dominates" Ohio State. I actually do watch the games. I know better.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Buckeyes escape with win

I will say, that was a scary game. But the Buckeyes did what top teams do...they made the plays late in a tight game and won their 9th straight game, 63-56.

Purdue, as I wrote earlier this week, is no slouch. They BURIED Michigan State earlier in the week and nearly knocked off Wisconsin on their home floor.

But the Buckeyes would be ready for the Boilermakers. At least they were ready when it mattered the most. Purdue gave them a hell of a battle, actually leading the Buckeyes with 5 minutes to play.

Down the stretch, Ohio State's defense got tough. The Buckeyes allowed only one field goal over the final five minutes of the game, keeping Purdue from the upset win. The Buckeyes outscored the Boilermakers 13-5 to close the game.

Purdue is scary. They'll most likely sweep their final five games and get into the Big Dance. I'll expect to see them as an 8 or 9 seed, and whoever has the #1 seed in that region had better be prepared for a second-round war.

The next three games for Ohio State will be easy. At Penn State (10-12, 1-8 Big Ten), at Minnesota (9-15, 3-7), and at home against Penn State (10-12, 1-8). These three games will be the opportunity to tune up for the post-season.

Three easy ones, then the battle at home against 4th-ranked Wisconsin. We close the season at archrival Michigan. Then a possible 3-game Big Ten Tournament, followed by a possible 6-game NCAA Tournament.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Want to feel good about Ohio State football again?

OK, I admit it. I'm an eternal optimist. I LOVE to look at the bright side of things. It's not easy to do, considering I'm a fan of Cleveland sports, but I manage. Keep my optimism in mind as you read this post, but I believe you will be smiling when you see what I'm thinking today.

OK, why are you so happy?

Ohio State will win 9 games in 2007 and will return to the National Championship following either the 2008 or 2009 season.

Are you kidding me?

No. And it's not just a feeling I have.

But the Buckeyes just lost every high-profile player they have on offense! They have to rebuild and you think they'll make the title game?

Ohio State under Jim Tressel will only need one year to rebuild. It's the way Tressel does things and he will continue with this pattern.

Pattern? What pattern?

Every three years, Tressel will have one rebuilding season, one great season, and one Championship run.

In 2001, he took over a team that was in shambles. John Cooper left us a wreck. For crying out loud, our starting quarterback for Steve Bellisari! Ohio State went 7-5 in 2001, but we were much better than that, thanks to Tressel. Bellisari was an AWFUL quarterback, but we only lost 4 games with him on the field, all of them by 7 points or less.

So you're praising a 7-5 season because we didn't lose by a lot?

No, that was the rebuilding year, and an entire team was adjusting to a new coach and a new attitude. Plus, Tressel made a GREAT move when he benched Bellisari and put Craig Krenzel on the field against Michigan. It gave Krenzel the experience he needed for 2002.

You want to see how well Tressel rebuilt that team in one year, just look at the following season. 14-0, and a National Championship. Now THAT'S progress in a hurry!

I agree, Tressel did a great job, but most of those games were also very close. Why do those games not get mentioned as being close?

Well, they do...but in one short season, Tressel taught his team to WIN those close games. Perfect example - we lost at home to Wisconsin by 3, and turned it into a 5-point win on the road. That's Tressel preparing his team over the long road.


And then in 2003, we had our great season, going 11-2. Flirting with a title, but falling just short. And still dominating a great opponent in a major bowl game.

I can agree 11-2 is great.

Me too. Then came 2004. Our new rebuilding year. 8-4 on the season, and it might have been the most difficult season to watch in a LONG time. But Tressel used that season to rebuild us properly....for example, when he saw that Justin Zwick wasn't the best fit for our offense, he made the switch to Troy Smith. I doubt anybody will claim that switch was the wrong thing to do, and it led to greatness.

I see where you're going with this.

Tressel's ability to rebuild properly led to Smith getting a LOT of quality time on the field, and he used that experience to get the Buckeyes their great season in 2005, this time going 10-2. We capped it off with a domination of Notre Dame in a major bowl.

Which then led to a season where they made a championship run.....

Exactly. 12-1 and a spot in the BCS National Championship Game. See the pattern now?

Yes. But how can you guarantee it'll happen again?

Because Jim Tressel is the Head Coach. He started towards the rebuild last year and will continue in 2007, making adjustments as needed.

For example, Beanie Wells was looking like a problem for most of the season, fumbling away the ball TOO many times. But JT took him aside, told him he was still the man, and gave him the ball against Michigan. Wells heads into 2007 with a TON of confidence because Jim Tressel looked him in the eye and played the role of a GREAT coach.

You actually think that one long run is that important?

No. Just giving him the ball against Michigan is that important. Wells taking it for a TD just showed Tressel that he made the right decision.

So now we head into 2007, our rebuilding year. Tressel will evaluate our QB situation and will work on improving the defense. Wells and Brandon Saine will probably start at RB and Robiskie and Hartline will start at WR because Tressel gave them lots of time last year, doing what........??????

Setting them up for their rebuilding year, right?

Exactly! And that foresight gives Tressel plenty of opportunity to focus on other positions!

And you KNOW that we'll return to greatness and a title run in '08 and '09??? Really?

Yes, I know the pattern will continue.


Because Jim Tressel is in charge. I know he'll make the right moves, just like he did with Krenzel in 2001, Troy Smith in 2004, and Wells in 2006. I've never been more confident in a coach than I am in him.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Purdue's next, and they do scare me

Earlier this week, I admit I am guilty of writing the following passage regarding Ohio State's upcoming game against Purdue;

2/10 - Purdue - When the NCAA projections begin, expect to see Purdue's name in the "on the bubble" column a lot. They'll get in, but it's because their final five games of the season are against three of the Big Ten's weakest teams, Iowa (13-10), Northwestern (11-11) twice, and Minnesota (9-14) twice. Winning their final five games will give them 20 wins, and 20 wins in the Big Ten gets you an invite. But they weren't powerful enough to beat the Buckeyes on their own home court (78-60), and I doubt they'll be able to pull it off when they visit Ohio State.

Now, I stopped short of guaranteeing a win for the Buckeyes, but I did make it clear that I think Purdue is no match against the scarlet and gray.

However, I've been looking over Purdue's NCAA hopes, and yes, I'm seeing the "on the bubble" comments already (patting myself on the back a little). I'd like to partially retract my attitude about Purdue's ability and advise the Buckeyes to stay awake this weekend.

Purdue has their backs against the wall and if they want to make the NCAA tournament, they'll need to do more than sweep their final five games (all against the Big Ten's weaker teams). They know this, and they're ready to step up their game.

Ask Michigan State.

Last night, Purdue took on the Spartans. MSU is, on paper, a better team than the Boilermakers. This morning, Sparty wishes the game was actually played on paper. Purdue beat the ever-loving daylights out of them, 62-38. Yes, you read that right. Purdue's defense held Michigan State to 38 points.

Take a look at what Purdue's defense accomplished last night;
-Raymar Morgan was held to 9 points
-Drew Neitzel only scored 5 points
-MSU made 16 shots from the field. They turned the ball over 21 times
-MSU shot 30 percent from behind the line...the FREE THROW LINE!

Many will look at the fact that the game was played at Purdue, where the Boilers are 13-1 this year (guess who the 1 loss was to?). Purdue is a beast at home, having manhandled 10 teams by double-digit margins.

No. I'm not buying that argument. It didn't matter what floor they were playing on.

Purdue saw the massive need for a big win and they went out and got it. They're still hungry and they'll be in town Saturday afternoon.

Stay alert Buckeyes. These guys want to come to the dance and they'll knock you on your ass and spit on your grave to get there. Don't let 'em.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Best part of the game tonight

Every time Michigan shoots a free throw, the Schott begins to sing "We Don't Give A Damn For The Whole State Of Michigan", and it comes through LOUD AND CLEAR on ESPN.

If somebody can get a video of that uploaded, I'd be forever grateful.

My best memory of OSU/UM basketball

It was January 18th, 1988. I was a freshman at Ohio State and as a member of Block O, I had some amazing courtside seats at St. John Arena. Literally, I was in the front row in the seat NEXT TO the basket.

Michigan came to town that night at 14-1. They were ranked 7th in the nation. The game was broadcast live on national TV.

Michigan had players like Glenn Rice and Rumeal Robinson. One year later, this team would win the NCAA Title, so you have a capsule of how good they were.

Ohio State had players named Tony White, Steve Francis, Jay Burson, Grady Mateen...names you would only know if you were a fan of the Buckeyes, because they weren't going to make it big in the NBA for certain.

SJA was on fire from the start because Ohio State had just knocked off 17th-ranked Iowa a few days ago, and the obvious excitement that comes with playing your school's biggest rival at home.

Back and forth the game went. Ohio State led by 3, Michigan led by 4. The game always stayed within 7-9 points. With 45 seconds to play, we were up 2 points, and the ball was in the sure hands of Burson. We wound the clock down to 30 seconds, and the shot clock was winding down. Burson drove the lane and lost the ball to Michigan off his foot. But he kept going and dove into a Wolverine player holding the ball and forced a tie-up. And Ohio State had the possession arrow!

The Buckeyes had the chance to run out the clock or get fouled and add to the lead at the line....but we threw the inbounds pass away. Michigan went down the floor and Rice hit a shot to tie the game at 68-68 with 13 seconds to play.

The Buckeyes then schooled Michigan with passes. They went from end-to-end in six seconds with three amazing passes, and the ball NEVER touched the hardwood floor. The final pass led to a wide-open slam dunk by Mateen, who then danced his way back up the court. Robinson fell down as he scrambled to get in the lane and the ball skipped away, but it still got into Rice's hands, who launched a three at the buzzer. It glanced off the rim, and 13,230 fans went wild.

A pile-up occurred under the basket with Buckeye players leaping on top of each other in celebration. Watching the tape later that night, I saw Jerry Francis looking like he was crying on his way back to the locker room, swatting high-fives with fans so hard that he might have broken an arm or two.

I love the Buckeye team of Greg Oden and Michael Conley.

I'll always cherish the years of Scoonie Penn and Michael Redd.

I'll forever praise Jimmy Jackson and Treg Lee.

But nothing will compare to the night guys named Mateen, Burson, Francis and White gave us a present nobody expected.

Tonight's game is under way. Excuse me while I watch.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The rest of the schedule

We're in the final stretch of the college basketball regular season. There's 7 games left before the Big Ten Tournament, followed by the NCAA Tournament. And with the Buckeyes standing at 20-3, tied at the top of the conference, the schedule looks to be in favor of Ohio State.

If Ohio State wins their final 7 games, they will get the #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Here's what those seven games look like, and why it's looking good for the scarlet and gray.

2/6 - Michigan - There was a point when Michigan looked dangerous. They were 11-1 and seemed to have passion on the court. Then UCLA made them wear their ass for a hat and it's all been downhill since then. Michigan hasn't put together more than two wins in a row and they've lost 6 of their last 11 games. They've been pounded their last three times on the court, at Wisconsin, at Indiana, and at home against Iowa (who is barely above .500). They're fighting for their NCAA Tourney lives, but it looks like they're NIT material.

2/10 - Purdue - When the NCAA projections begin, expect to see Purdue's name in the "on the bubble" column a lot. They'll get in, but it's because their final five games of the season are against three of the Big Ten's weakest teams, Iowa (13-10), Northwestern (11-11) twice, and Minnesota (9-14) twice. Winning their final five games will give them 20 wins, and 20 wins in the Big Ten gets you an invite. But they weren't powerful enough to beat the Buckeyes on their own home court (78-60), and I doubt they'll be able to pull it off when they visit Ohio State.

2/14 - at Penn State - Are you kidding me? Penn State is 10-11, and they've lost 7 games in a row by an average of 13 points per game. Feel sorry for them, because four of their next five games are against Wisconsin twice and Ohio State twice. But while you're feeling bad for them, remember that we get two easy wins at the cost of that sympathy.

2/18 - at Minnesota - No. Sorry. They're 9-14 and have lost 6 of their last 8 games. Wisconsin plays them four days prior and will probably take all the life out of least what little life still exists. The only thing to fear is complacency on our part.

2/21 - Penn State - See 2/14. Same thing.

2/25 - Wisconsin - The Badgers are not likely to face another challenge before this battle either, save for the Michigan State game at East Lansing four days prior. I fully expect Wisconsin to come in at 27-2 and Ohio State to be 25-3, and this game will be for the top seed in the Big Ten Tourney. They'll push it on TV ads for a week straight and they'll call it an epic game before Wisconsin's bus even arrives in Columbus. They'll talk about two Top 5 teams battling it out at the end of the season and how this game doesn't happen in the Big Ten often....until it happens again two weeks later in the Big Ten Tournament Championship. Ohio State fell by three points when these two teams played in Madison, and nearly took it to overtime. But this one's at home.....

3/3 - at Michigan - By this time, the Blue should be settled in to their NIT spot, but it's still Michigan. Be careful of complacency again. The Bucks should be good and rested, having six days off between games, and this tuneup for the Big Ten Tournament should be good for us. But I still am not impressed with the Wolverines and if Ohio State is going to make a serious run for the title, this is the best way to warm up.

There you have it. Seven games left. The road games all have weaker opponents, which bodes well for our chances, and the tough game is at home, where we have won a LOT of games in a row (22 as of this post). We have a good chance to be 27-3 headed into the tournaments. Now let's execute!

Sunday, February 04, 2007


As a side note, I HATE Super Bowl halftime shows. "Hooray For Everything" is typically the theme. But DAMN, Prince is rocking the house.

The guy just covered Creedence, Hendrix, and a Foo Fighters song and carried it right into Purple Rain. How amazing was that???

I saw Prince in 1986 during the Purple Rain tour (at the Richfield Coliseum), so I know how amazing he can be. He hasn't lost a step.

By the way

What kind of a sports blog am I running here???? How can I ignore the big game????

I take the Bears. Excuse me, I mean Da Bears.

Buckeyes sweep Spartans

After watching last week's game against Michigan know, the one where we led by 20 points and then let it all evaporate AT HOME before watching a potential game-winning Spartan three-pointer missat the buzzer, allowing us a 2-point victory......I was very worried about facing this team on their home court.

Tom Izzo is one of the best college coaches in the biz, and I just knew he'd have MSU ready for the challenge.

Well, he did. The Spartans looked tough. Their offense was not great in the first half, but their defense was, holding Ohio State to just 26 points. In the second half, their shooting touch arrived and they made several runs. But Ohio State would not capitulate (click here if you're a Michigan fan) and the Buckeyes pulled away late to a 9-point victory.

Hats off to Thad and the entire Buckeyes squad. Yes, Greg Oden had a double-double and looked incredible, but this was a team win.

This was the game I was most worried about in the run-up to the big showdown against Wisconsin in the next-to-last game of the season. I can breathe a sigh of relief.

Next up......Michigan. Oh, hell yeah! Tuesday night at the Schott!

By the way, North Carolina lost. When the new rankings come out, Ohio State will be ranked #2. Florida's #1. Cue the music......

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Shut the hell up, Steve Kerr

I'm watching the Cavs game on TNT right now, and I am realizing that the network has hired a team of morons to broadcast the game.

Example 1 - Danny Ferry has been shown approaching the scorers table to protest a Daniel Gibson three pointer only being recorded as two points. A legit argument, but Steve Kerr claims that Ferry is "clearly desperate for anything at this point". Ummmm, Steve? The Cavs are AHEAD 60-55 at that point in a game they have led most of the night by roughly the same margin. Desperate? Shut the hell up.

Kerr then defends his statement by saying it's "nice that Ferry is paying attention". What a jackass.

Example 2 - Reggie Miller has proclaimed the the Eastern Conference is "weak" and that the Florida Gators would win the conference title if they could play in it.

Example 3 - The other commentator is Marv Albert. Nuff said.

Granted, I shouldn't expect much from a network that has Charles Barkley as one of their anchors at their adorable little newsdesk, but still....come on.

LeBron starting tonight

First of all, I've been away too long. Sorry. Cocaine's a hell of a drug. Just kidding about that....I was quoting Rick James, not describing why I have been absent.

The Cavaliers have announced their starting lineup for tonight's game at Miami. LeBron James will start for us. He's missed two of the last three games with an injured toe, and James is concerned that the toe could be a problem that will last all season long. Not good news, but I've watched enough LBJ to know that he'll play in pain if he's needed.

Miami's struggling, but is always strong. Plus, anytime you put Dwyane Wade against his old friend, you can expect an explosive game from #3. Last time out, Wade poured in 44 points against the Cavs. Fortunately, LeBron scored 47 points and added 12 boards and 10 assists and led the Cavs to a 7 point win. I would expect the same type of game, and am hoping for the same team to be victorious.