Archives for March 2007

Final Four: Ohio State vs. Georgetown – Open Thread

OSU LogoThe Road to the Final Four has ended with Ohio State clashing with Georgetown, the team that sent the Buckeyes packing in last year’s tournament. While this Georgetown team looks similar to last year’s team, Ohio State definitely does not. There are many intriquing questions to be answered this Saturday in Atlanta:

Who will win the Battle of the Bigs?

Who will step up to be the hero?

Can OSU stop Jeff Green?

Can anyone stop Mike Conley Jr. from getting to the basket?

Consider this your open forum to discuss all things Final Four. We may not have a chance to live blog the actual game, but post your comments before and after the game here!

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Pardon the Football Interruption

OSU Football As we wait for the Final Four to begin tomorrow, here are a few Buckeye football tidbits. Spring Practice began yesterday. Here is the spring two deep. Here is some initial analysis from a couple of our fellow Buckeye bloggers: Seth at ATO and Pfef.

Recently Stewart Mandel of wrote a positive article about Troy Smith. For all of the negativity surrounding Troy these days, it was nice to see some positive publicity. I still feel that with the right team and a couple of years as an understudy he can be a good NFL quarterback.

Good article today in the Dispatch about Beanie, check it out here.

I am sure there will be plenty more to come on spring practice, but for now (at least in my mind) it will have to take a backseat to the Final Four. Let’s cheer the Buckeyes to a National Championship! GO BUCKS!

A new era begins

Columbus ClippersAs of this spring, the Columbus Clippers have ended their decades-long affiliation with the New York Yankees. Moving into the Yankees’ place as Columbus’ parent organization are the Washington Nationals.

This change should breathe a bit of life into the ballclub. The Yankees have moved all of their minor leaguers to their new affiliate in Scranton, so we’ll have an entirely new team – from managers to players – dressing in Clippers pinstripes this year.

The change also brings another benefit. The Clippers are no longer affiliated with an American-league team. The move to the DH-less National League will mean that we’ll finally be able to see pitchers swinging bats, the way baseball was meant to be played.

To generate some excitement in the city, and hopefully start off on a good foot with existing Clippers fans, the Nationals will be playing the Baltimore Orioles at Cooper Stadium tomorrow (March 29th):


True, the Columbus sports universe still centers around the Buckeyes and Blue Jackets, but the Clippers games are still one of the best family experiences in the city. Where else can you take your kids on a delightfully cool spring evening, relax with a delicious ten-cent hot dog and a hoppy beer, watch players in clean uniforms running on the bright green grass, while the buildings on the Columbus skyline turn orange from the setting Sun? Spring is here!

Columbus Clippers
Washington Nationals

Road to the Final Four: Game #4 vs. Memphis

Here we go, let’s see how long Oden can stay on the floor.

16:30, 1st half
#1 Ohio State 6
#2 Memphis 0

Good start to the game, Oden is asserting himself early on both ends. Good to see.

9:14, 1st half
#1 Ohio State 17
#2 Memphis 15

After starting out hot and fast, Ohio State has cooled off and Memphis has worked itself back into the game.

Good to hear the Raftery is still afflicted with that verbal tic of his.

6:22, 1st half
#1 Ohio State 23
#2 Memphis 23

First let me say how happy I am that the Buckeyes haven’t had a first half let down. The three isn’t dropping for them yet (but is naturally falling left and right for Memphis) but if they stay close, they will be just fine when it finally does drop.

And remember those things that Dorsey said about Oden being overrated? I wonder if that’s what he’s thinking about while he’s on the bench.

0:39.2, 1st half
#1 Ohio State 41
#2 Memphis 35

Mike Conley Jr.’s dad might be an olympic triple-jumper, but David Lighty almost jumped out of the Alamodome.

Mike Conley will simply not be denied.

#1 Ohio State 41
#2 Memphis 38

Maybe it’s just me, but the first half was relatively lack-luster. Maybe it was the slow start from three-land. Maybe it gets old watching Conley break down defenses and embarass defenders, but the first half didn’t feel like an Elite Eight game. Maybe it was because Ohio State looks like they actually want to play two full halves of basketball today.

18:29, 2nd half
#1 Ohio State 40
#2 Memphis 45

It’s great to see Matta bend the ref’s ears, because they are some horrible missed calls right now.

7:31, 2nd half
#1 Ohio State 66
#2 Memphis 64

Sorry for the lack of live updates, watching two kids while trying to watch the game and blog is harder than it sounds.

Memphis has really put itself in a difficult situation. With three players with four fouls each, they are really going to have to play conservatively. Hopefully OSU can finally bring the big boot down on the throat of its opponent and finish them off with authority. Oden sure is having his way inside when he doesn’t have to worry about fouls (or uncalled goal-tendings).

2:09, 2nd half
#1 Ohio State 82
#2 Memphis 72

This is the basketball team we knew was there, the super-talented Thad Five (+3). No letdown, no doubt about it.

Road to the Final Four: Game #3 vs. Tennessee

The time has come. Zeke is over and we are ready for this game to get underway.

15:10, 1st half
#1 Ohio State 10
#5 Tennessee 14

I think everyone was hoping OSU would come out shooting better than they did against Xavier, and they are, but so is Tennessee. Sheesh, no one can miss on either end! This could be a high scoring game if everyone stays hot like this. Just work the ball into Oden more!

11:40, 1st half
#1 Ohio State 14
#5 Tennessee 20

Cook and Lighty are a little trigger happy right now, not letting the offense get set or for Oden to get position underneath. It’s great when those shots are dropping but not so much when they’re not. Of course it doesn’t help that Tennessee can’t seem to miss. They can’t keep this up
forever, right?

3:40, 1st half
#1 Ohio State 22
#5 Tennessee 39

Right now there is absolutely no fire out of any guy in a scarlet and gray uniform. No emotion. Butler is playing like he’s on the playground, no one is fighting for rebounds and with Conley missing time with foul trouble, everyone looks lost. No one wants to take over, no one wants to lead. Right now the Buckeyes are on the edge. Extremely close. I really want to see Lewis take the lead, show some senior leadership. Where’s the press after a made shot?

#1 Ohio State 32
#5 Tennessee 49

It’s not fair to place the blame on one player, but right now all of my ire is aimed directly at Jamar Butler. His passes are lazy, his defense is non-existent, he’s handling the ball like he doesn’t care. I watched him on more than one offensive set where he planted his feet out on the left wing and stood there. He didn’t move more than one step in any direction. It’s infuriating. If the Buckeyes make any kind of run at the Vols in the second half, I really hope Butler isn’t out on the floor.

Not having Oden out there is huge. That cannot be understated. If he picks up his fourth foul in the first few minutes of the second half, it’s pretty much over. I imagine they’ll go to zone defense to protect Oden. Tennessee doesn’t have any bigs to worry about, so defensive adjustments have to be made. And we need some hands in some shooters faces.

On a side note, what is the deal with the announcer? Every once in a while, he’ll make some weird guttural shriek of mostly unintelligible sounds. It’s driving me crazy.

15:43, 2nd half
#1 Ohio State 44
#5 Tennessee 51

Okay, I’ve been talked down off the ledge. It’s been a perfect storm for the first few minutes — Tennessee has gone cold, Harris is still hitting his shots and Lewis is playing very well. I’ll even take a little bit of what I said about Butler back, he’s playing solid defense on Lofton. Zeke and I were discussing why this has been the typical performance of OSU against good opponents — they don’t turn the juice on until their backs are up against the wall. I think they lack a little bit of a killer instinct. Oden hasn’t done much offensively, but his presence has made a difference on D. Let’s go Bucks!

11:43, 2nd half
#1 Ohio State 53
#5 Tennessee 57

Keep chopping that wood, Buckeyes. CHOP THAT WOOD.

7:26, 2nd half
#1 Ohio State 68
#5 Tennessee 68

That three by Lofton was painful. If the Buckeyes keep the D going, they’re golden. Tewilliger is playing very well.

I’m convinced that commentator has some form of sports Tourette’s or something. I’m sure whatever he’s saying makes perfect sense to himself, but he’s leaving us out of the party.

#1 Ohio State 85
#5 Tennessee 84

Wow. Just wow. What a finish. We were good Buckeye fans and never lost hope, but man, oh man, were there doubts. Down by 20? Are you kidding me. The Buckeyes outscored Tennesse 53-35 in the second half. We just witnessed something great here tonight. And it was teamwork that got it done. No matter how cliche that sounds, it’s true. They clamped down on defense, weathered some runs by Tennessee and simply fought back time and again.

Was there any doubt that “THE GREAT NEGATOR” was going to be a part of the last defensive stand? No doubt about it.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a Volunteer fan right now. I imagine it’s a mix between seething rage and complete and utter stupor. That’s got to hurt.

The Buckeyes cannot let this happen against Memphis. Watching the Memphis/A&M game, I think Memphis is very beatable. There simply cannot be a ten or fifteen minute mental breakdown and allow Memphis to build up any kind of lead or momentum. The Buckeyes have to go for the throat.

Pointless ponderings

Block O.bmpWith so much focus on the football Buckeyes year round, it’s weird to have a real contender for a basketball team as well. It makes you wonder if there’s room in Columbus for two elite teams (there is). It also makes you wonder what you’d sacrifice for one program to succeed over another. Here are a couple things I thought would be tough choices to make:

Would you give up Ron Lewis’ 3-pointer over Xavier for a victory over Florida in the BCS Championship Game?

Would you give up a 12-0 season for a Final Four spot?

Would you give up a Michigan victory (football) for a basketball National Championship?

Would you give up a chance at a BCS bowl for Oden and Conley to stick around?

(My answers? No, No, Yes, Abso-fricken-lutely)

Oh yeah!

You know this, man!

Ron Lewis

(Picture from ESPN)

Road to the Final Four: Game #2 vs. Xavier University

Block O.bmpHere’s the semi-live blog of Ohio State vs. Xavier.

15:51, 1st half
#1 OSU: 7
#9 Xavier: 4

It must be frustrating for Oden to be constantly getting hammered under the basketball. The guy can’t move without getting four hands slapping him. It must also get old. Watch for some serious dunks.

11:56, 1st half
#1 OSU: 9
#9 Xavier: 8

No one wants to make a shot and the refs seemed to have swallowed their whistles. Oden looks cold and the offense looks out of sync. Ron Lewis has been the lone bright spot thus far.

7:29, 1st half
#1 OSU: 16
#9 Xavier: 13

I’m always impressed how well Oden handles the calls against him. He hardly ever gets flustered. He’s starting to find some range and the ball is moving well for the Buckeyes. Someone other than Butler needs to make some shots outside the arc. Butler’s shot looked nice.

#1 OSU: 29
#9 Xavier: 25

If Duncan keeps hitting those threes, it’s going to be a problem, otherwise no one else for Xavier is really doing anything to hurt the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes are just getting unlucky bounces and the short end of the referee’s whistle. Matta will whip the boys into shape for the second half.

1:45, OT
#1 OSU: 72
#9 Xavier: 65

The 2nd half live-blogging was interrupted by my son’s birthday party, but right now I would kiss Ron Lewis on the mouth.

Final, OT
#1 OSU: 78
#9 Xavier: 71

Wow, what a game. Freshman Mike Conley, Jr. (did ya know? His dad was an olympic gold medalist) took Xavier’s back court to school and rolled off what, ten straight points? Whatever it was, he couldn’t be stopped. His steal with lss than a minute left was MONUMENTAL.

After stepping back to look at the big picture, I still think Ohio State is still in a good place. They didn’t shoot the ball exceptionally well, had no calls go their way, lost Oden to fouls and still came back from being 11 down. They need to work the ball through Oden more. Even if he isn’t looking to score every time down, he needs to touch the ball. Defense still gets lax at times, too. The competition only gets stiffer from here on out, so they need to bring their A game.

Road to the Final Four – Game #1 vs. Central Connecticut State

Block O.bmpWe’ll be doing a semi-live blog of OSU’s games in the NCAA Tournament, starting with today’s game against Central Connecticut. I’m already worried this could get ugly.

15:15, 1st half
#1 OSU: 14
#16 CConn: 3
Whoa, Buckeyes start out fast. Lewis and Butler hitting threes and Oden having his way on the boards. A good way to start things off.

11:06, 1st half
#1 OSU: 19
#16 CConn: 9
The three ball is keeping CConn close, but OSU’s defense is keeping everything else out of the interior. Butler looks extremely confident right now. Oden hasn’t asserted himself much yet, but really hasn’t needed to.

3:29, 1st half
#1 OSU: 29
#16 CConn: 17
Things look to be going as expected. Oden is cleaning the boards with elan, the guard play has been great and defense is playing well. In a word (or two): In control.

#1 OSU: 38
#16 CConn: 17
No points for Connecticut in the last few minutes of the first half, as OSU continued to hit its shots. I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen that OSU is playing the best basketball in the country, right now. I’m especially pleased with the play of Ron Lewis. He’s going through a resurgence and playing extremely well on both ends of the ball. This makes me happy, as I’m a big fan of Lewis. Rumble, big man.

I’m trying to find a flaw from the first half, I just haven’t found it. The only thing I’m worried about was Daequan Cook limping around there at the end of the half. He was clearly favoring his left leg. They can’t let that get worse.

15:47, 2nd half
#1 OSU: 49
#16 CConn: 24
You can’t stop Oden. You can’t even hope to contain him. He is a force of nature, an act of God. (Butler can shoot the pretty well, too)

7:41, 2nd half
#1 OSU: 63
#16 CConn: 46
What more can be said? OSU is simply the better team.

3:09, 2nd half
#1 OSU: 71
#16 CConn: 51
Now let’s just get out of the game healthy.

#1 OSU: 78
#16 CConn: 57
Bring on Xavier/BYU. Who would you rather see? I don’t think it matters.