Archives for March 2010

Wrapping things up

The loss to Tennessee was quite the gut punch and I really didn’t feel like posting anything after it. For whatever reason, even though I love football more than basketball, I always feel more emotion during a basketball game. Maybe it’s the ebb and flow of the game is so different from football, maybe the beauty of the game is more emotional than the visceral rawness of football. Maybe I just really hate Tennessee. Whatever it was, this game was a frustrating exercise in Buckeye Fandom, no matter what this team’s ultimate ceiling could have been.

I really thought the Buckeyes were one three-pointer away from putting the Volunteers away. Up by five with about 5-6 minutes to go I thought one more dagger could distance the Buckeyes and crush the Vols’ spirits. It clanged out and Tennessee killed us at the rim and that was that.

So instead of writing any kind of season warp up, I think I’ll just link what Vico wrote (with a nice little PJ Hill tribute), which encapsulates more or less what I feel.

In the end, I’m not too torn up about the loss to the Volunteers. It sucks. It really does. However, I pictured the Buckeyes as a Sweet 16 team before the season. To that end, they met my expectations. The hard part is getting a taste of what may come, only to have it all suddenly end. The Buckeyes are still blessed to have Thad Matta and company at the helm of the program. Dave Richardson, the strength and conditioning coach, also deserves special praise for keeping a 5.5 man rotation fit for the Big Ten run. Simply put, we would never be dreaming this big under Jim O’Brien. Further, the roster losses for the Buckeyes are all very manageable (at least, the five seniors) and Evan Turner has led us to believe that a return for his senior season is still a possibility. However you look at it, there is not that instant thought of defection like some of the Thad Five. Lastly, the Buckeyes are getting an incredible recruiting class next year, led by Jared Sullinger. Hopefully, Sullinger will be a necessary complement in the post.

And with that, the blogging around these parts will probably slow a bit (not that it’s been blazing by any stretch of the imagination) except for brief bursts of activity, such as the spring game, the NFL draft and when Evan Turner announces his decision to return for his senior season to subjugate the NCAA field to his whim and fancy.

I have some stuff I’ve been working on that will show up periodically, but I’m not sure how often that will trickle out. For now, we will promise not to disappear completely (if I can get my co-bloggers to throw in the occasionally post, all the better) and you can always hit us up with your tips, ideas for stories and complaints and we will be as responsive as we can be.

It’s been a great 2009-2010 athletic season, all these considered, and the future looks just as bright.

Set the table for Threes

Going in to today’s game, I was nervous about Georgia Tech’s size. I love Dallas Lauderdale like everyone else (what a monster he was against UCSB, no?) but he isn’t what you might call a pure player. Kyle Madsen isn’t pushing anyone around either, bless his little Dublin heart, so I was nervous what Favors and Lawal were going to have free reign to do.

But, that being said, Evan Turner still wears the Scarlet and Gray (and white), so the Buckeyes are in any close game. Even when the opposing players should have been arrested for assault (see: UCSB) we have a chance.

For 22+ minutes, this game was close. Georgia Tech’s full court pressure was frustrating and the cold shooting in the first half was hard to watch. Going in ahead by two at the half was promising, but it wasn’t until Diebler got free and the pressure was letting up that Ohio State took control. There were a couple moments there when it looked like it might slip away, but the Buckeyes stayed the course while Georgia Tech was getting visibly frustrated (they were the better team, after all).

In the end, Ohio State’s transition game, their accuracy from behind the three point line and, ultimately, their poise down the stretch turned this game around. They may have been out-sized (obviously) and out-talented (very debatable) but the better team won. Sweet, sweet victory. (Oh, and beating the progeny of a former Wolverine makes it that much sweeter.)

So now on to the Sweet Sixteen. Thanks to Northern Iowa’s giant brass cojones, we may have an outside chance of reaching the Final Four. But let’s beat Tennessee and Bruce Pearl’s horrible suits first.

Kellen Winslow, Jr. Plays Basketball at Georgia Tech

Who knew?

Elbows on knees, a scowling Iman Shumpert bent forward in his chair. Someone asked if Ohio State was better than Georgia Tech. “Not at all,” Shumpert said.

So: Was Tech better than Ohio State? Said Shumpert, almost spitting the words: “A lot better.”

Man, these sour grapes are SOUR

Last call

Time is running out to join the MotSaG Tournament Pick’em. Don’t be left behind!

News Roundup

You’d think we were in the middle of the season with all the Buckeye football news going on. With the busy schedule, there isn’t time to comment on everything, but here are a few links worth checking out.

  • First off is news that Coach Tressel’s contract has been extended through 2014. This news brings up a couple interesting thoughts. Tressel has said that he doesn’t want to coach into old age. At the end of the 2014 season, he’ll be 62. Not exactly an old fart, but it’s getting up there. There’s also a clause in his contract that would ease him into the Athletic Department at Ohio State, which would be an obvious fit for a person of Tressel’s character.

    So that brings up a few thoughts: How will this affect recruiting going forward? This incoming class could potentially be the last one Tressel sees to the end. Will someone be in place to point to as the future of Ohio State Football (a la Will Muschamp at Texas)? Maybe someone like Luke Fickel? And if not Fickel, who replaces Tressel? Bo Pelini? Urban Meyer? Mark Dantonio? Who would you be in your top 3?

  • Speaking of recruiting, the Buckeyes have already received five early commits for the 2011 recruiting class. No big names to speak of yet, but with three offensive linemen, we can see what direction that effort is headed. Head over to Our Honor Defend and keep scrolling for excellent recruiting coverage. We need to get Vico on the payroll over here at MotSaG.
  • The NCAA Tournament is right around the corner, and Ohio State meets UC Santa Barbara in the first round Friday Night. Eleven Warriors has a quick look at the statistical match-up. This will be the start to an interesting tournament run for the Buckeyes. Some people are giving them more of a chance than others, but it’s not going to be an easy road. I’ll be happy with a sweet sixteen appearance. That’s as far as Obama has them.
  • It’s never to early to start scheduling your viewing plans for Saturdays in the fall. No better way to do that than with this excellent site (h/t EDSBS)

There’s never time to rest in Buckeye Land.

MotSaG’s Annual Tournament Pick’em Contest

It’s that time of year again, ladies and gents. Time to put on your wizard robes and prognostication caps and fill out your brackets once again in the Annual MotSaG Tournament Pick’em.

In years past I’ve asked people to send me a request to join the fray, but that just ends up being extra work for both me and you (but mostly me). So this year I’ll include the league info here and whoever is interested in joining can do it straightway from here. So here are the details:

League: MotSaG Pick ‘Em 2010
PW: gobucks!

As always, if you don’t have the Buckeyes making it to at least the Sweet 16 (if not the Elite Eight) you’re better off elsewhere. Good Luck!

Behold: The Power of Threes

Michigan needed them to get back into the game and Evan Turner turned around and used one to stab them straight through their under .500 hearts. Sorry guys, it was just meant to be.

This was only a second round Big Ten tournament game. I know this. That being said, this shot has to rank in the top two three-pointers of all time (I’m still partial to Ron Lewis’ three against Tennessee in 2007). But man, what a shot. I hope this game is a wake-up call for the Buckeyes going in to tomorrow’s game against Illinois and the rest of the tournament. You can’t sleep on anyone at this point. Michigan had nothing to lose and everything to gain from beating Ohio State. It’s going to be that way from here on out.

It’s a good thing we’ve got the Player of the Year on our side.

Twittering Buckeyes

Are we college football fans creepy or what? We fawn over the whims of 17 year-old boys as they decide which institution of higher learning they will commit to (hoping it’s ours!), watch their every move for three to four years (or, in the case of Todd Boeckman, seven or eight (I know, they’re called doctors)). Then, after all they’ve done, after they’ve entertained us, made us laugh and cry, we dissect them in the most inhuman way possible (AKA the NFL Combine). So let’s throw in another way we can be creepy (maybe creepy is too harsh a word. Either way, it’s a little strange) by following our favorite Buckeyes on Twitter.

Twitter has been around for a while now, but let’s be honest: it didn’t get interesting until the Big Aristotle started tweeting. Since then, athletes have been one of the reasons Twitter has become interesting and mainstream. I’m not saying the following Buckeye Tweeters are interesting, but some most certainly are. There are times when I don’t understand a word these kids are saying. Seriously, can’t understand a word. Sometimes, their insights and thoughts are rather deep and provoking. It’s interesting to see how the other half lives. Also: athletes nap A LOT.

With that in mind, here are the following Buckeyes you can follow (with mixed results) on Twitter. As far as I can tell, these guys are who they say they are:

Current Football Players:

Thaddeus Maximus (who happens to be following John McCain, Oprah and Kevin Rose, FWIW)
Rob Rose Jr.
Ray Small
Michael Brewster
Brian Rolle
Jack Mewhort
Jermale Hines
Andrew Sweat
Kurt Coleman
Keith Wells
Jake McQuaide
Duron Carter
Chimdi Chekwa

Former Buckeye Football Players:

Antonio Pittman
Curtis Terry
Chris Beanie Wells
Roy Hall Jr.
Donte Whitner
Troy Smith
Dee Miller
Ted Ginn Jr.
Rob Sims
A.J. Trapasso
Nate Clements
Nick Mangold
Maurice wells
Maurice Hall
Matt Keller
Santonio Holmes

Current Ohio State Basketball Players:

Jon Diebler
Dave Lighty
Evan Turner
Dallas Lauderdale
Mark Titus

Former Ohio State Basketball Players:

Daequan Cook
Mike Conley
Ron Lewis
Jay Sullinger
Jim Jackson
Ron Stokes
Jamar Butler
Je’Kel Foster

Future Buckeyes:

Jared Sullinger
Christian Bryant

So there you have it. Lots of Twittering Buckeyes. This post will eventually become a static page that will be updated as more Twitter accounts become available, but this is the first draft. If we’re missing someone that you know is on Twitter, please leave us a comment.

Also, just to do a little self-promoting, a few of us at MotSaG are on Twitter. I’m i_aint_yer_pa, sportsMonkey is monkeyPi, and YNBA is teamyzerman. Are you on Twitter? Let us know who you are!

Big Ten Champs!

Congratulations to the 2009-2010 (how would you say that? “Two-thousand nine, twenty ten”?) Ohio State Men’s Basketball team for winning the regular season Big Ten Title.

The basketball coverage around these parts has been sparse this year, due to a lack of time and definitely not a lack of interest. This season has been a treat to watch Evan Turner develop into (according to ESPN College BB analysts) the consensus National Player of the Year.

Just yesterday, Slyvester Yon-Rambo and I where discussing were ET fits in the pantheon of OSU Basketball Greats. Right now, I would rank him #3, behind John Havlicek and Jimmy Jackson. Evan’s performance in the Tournament will determine his final ceiling. If he takes this team deep into the tournament this year, he’s #2. (JJ had a better team but never made a real run in March). If (and that’s a pretty huge if) he comes back next year, averages nearly a triple-double again and leads the Buckeyes to the Final Four, we may have to rank him #1. He would certainly will have been the best player my generation has ever seen play.

So congrats again to the Buckeyes, good luck in the Big Ten Tournament and finally in the NCAA Tournament.

This makes me profoundly sad

I do more Google searches for Vernon Gholston than the average Buckeye Fan (don’t judge!) and recently came across this article that made me sad.

Coach Rex Ryan doesn’t even bother to try to talk him up anymore and the media doesn’t even bother to ask. It’s getting harder and harder not to stamp linebacker Vernon Gholston a bust and move on.


Then just the other day I saw our buddies at Eleven Warriors had linked to this article from our own Ken Gordon at the Dispatch reiterating the same things.

“That’s still a work in progress, but I will say this: When we’re going back and looking at our cutups and things like that, I think this young man deserves a better chance,” Ryan said. “We need to give him more playing time.

That’s not quite as dire as a couple months ago, but it’s still disappointing.

I often wonder where motivation and drive come from for someone blessed with physical gifts beyond mere mortals (see: LeBron, Tiger, MJ, Vernon). It came so easy to Vernon at OSU (exhibit A, exhibit B). I wonder what has happened this far with Vernon. There’s no bigger fan of his than me and it pains me to see the current trajectory of his professional career. He doesn’t seem to have the drive he once had.

It’s obvious that at his point, at the highest level of competition, the blessed one has not produced. Not even a little bit. There’s no way to interpret his current production as anything other than major letdown. I’ve watched him play as a Jet when I could and never saw the fire or domination he had as a Buckeye. Maybe it was the system (going from a basic 4-3 in college to Rex Ryan’s confusing 3-4 blitz mania). Maybe it’s something else. At this point, we can just hope Ryan is able to light a fire under his rear end and he silences the critics in 2010.

What’s your take?