Friday, March 07, 2008

Mid-day reach-around....I mean wrap-up

OK, I admit. It's nowhere near as good as Sideboob Friday, but it's all I've got. Let me have my pride, man!

Here's what's happening in my own little world;

Ohio State basketball

Last week, I counted the Buckeyes out as I sent them off to the NIT. They got pissed at me for such horrific lack of faith, and knocked Purdue from the top of the Big Ten. Now, it's only one win, but it actually could breathe new life into Ohio State's NCAA Tournament hopes.

The Buckeyes are now 18-12. Still on the outside of the bubble. They're not getting in at 18 wins, no way, no how. They won't get in with 19 either, so they're not even close yet.

Still, they have their chance. Michigan State comes calling on Sunday afternoon, and they've been as erratic as the Buckeyes over the past 4 weeks. Losing to lowly Penn State, and falling to three of the Big Ten's top four teams.....but absolutely walloping 25-5 Indiana (by 29 points), this team is all over the place.

The Spartans can be dangerous....but will they be dangerous on Sunday? At 24-6, they've secured their place in the NCAA tourney, and there is no possible mathematical scenario that will give them anything except the 4th seed in the Big Ten Tournament. This game is meaningless to them.

In order for Ohio State to make the show, they'll have to beat MSU AND their first opponent in the Big Ten tourney....which, by the way, is guaranteed to be Michigan State. We hold the 5th-seed and the tiebreaker with Minnesota. That kinda sucks for us, because Minnesota is at 18 wins, and they need to beat Illinois (12-18) and Northwestern (8-20) in their first-round Big Ten Tournament matchup to get to 20 wins. Fuckers.

So there it is guys. Beat Sparty twice, or go to the NIT. I'm optimistic, but I still see NIT on the horizon.

Cleveland Cavaliers basketball

Damn, when are we going to get all our players healthy? No Zadrunas, no Boobie Gibson, no Sasha. And yet we're still 5-3 since the trade.

The good news - barring no new injuries, we will be at full strength by playoff time.
The bad news - will we be ready with a whole new set of players trying to learn each other during the first round of the playoffs?

Last night was a disappointment, but how many times have we won the second game of back-to-back games on the road? We've had 15 consecutive-night games, and we are 6-9 in the second game of those. Players get tired in those stretches, and I really do hate to see one team travel for back-to-backers while the other team has had a couple days rest. Oh, well. It happens. The good news is that there is ALWAYS at least a day's rest in the NBA Playoffs.

High School basketball

Last year, Canton Timken finished the season with a first-round sectional loss in the tournament. They went 3-18 for the entire year. It was quite typical for the Trojans, who have never made much noise in basketball during my lifetime. Usually, all the good basketball players in Canton City go to McKinley, known well for their athletics.

But something happened in the summer of 2007. A few players decided to transfer from McKinley to Timken (it's a long story, but it has a lot to do with administrative bullshit and a head coach). Timken had a positive outlook for the first time in a LONG time.

Last night, Timken beat Akron Firestone 75-65 in the Regional Semifinals. The Trojans are 24-0, and are one win away from the Final Four. They'll battle Toledo Whitmer (19-5) on Saturday night.

The entire city ignored them for decades, and now the entire city is behind them. Good luck, Timken. Go get 'em.

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