Archives for March 2013

“Q”uintessential

The title says it all. LaQuinton Ross had a huge offensive surge down the stretch including the game winning three pointer leading the Buckeyes over Arizona 73-70. The Buckeyes overcame a significant first half defecit to make it to the Elite 8 for the second straight year.

Jae C. Hong | Associated Press

Jae C. Hong | Associated Press

Ross has come up huge in last two wins with 17 points in each game. We have been waiting all year for the secondary scoring punch. Ross has stepped up and provided it in a big way. I know he is not alone. The rest of the team has also played well, but I have been very impressed with Ross and feel he is turning the corner. His ability to score and complement Craft and Thomas will be crucial if the Buckeyes are going to make some noise even deeper in the NCAA tournament.

In Case You Missed It

OSU LogoIn case you missed it is Men of the Scarlet and Gray’s semi-weekly look at items that would interest the casual and hard-core Ohio State fan, be they news items, interesting blog posts or funny memes you probably saw on Reddit last week. It’s all here and it’s all for you. Have a tip that should be included in the next ICYMI? Send it our way! (Today’s ICYMI was put together by MotSaG blogger recruits Joe H and J. C. P. Follow Joe on Twitter @JtheH and J. C. @Shark_Four)

RICK REILLY DOESN’T GET IT: Rick Reilly is perhaps best known as the staunchest defender of Lance Armstrong throughout his doping scandal so anything he now says or does probably shouldn’t be taken too seriously. So, when at a recent press conference he asked Aaron Craft if he could see why someone might find him annoying you can be excused for groaning out loud. To Craft’s credit he deftly scored points off this by telling De’Shaun Thomas, “I think he’s talking to you, De’Shaun”. The question itself already seems inappropriate but that Reilly insists on making it about Craft both on and off the court takes it into the, well, “Rick Reilly Zone” of questioning.

WHEN YOU THINK SAUERKRAUT, THINK OSU TAILGATING: An Ohio State fan has achieved what so many tailgaters dream for: Being featured on a can of sauerkraut. Jim George had a picture taken of him and his friends with SnowFloss sauerkraut, a regional brand, for a photo contest to be featured on the cans of sauerkraut this summer.

MICHAEL JENKINS SIGNED BY THE PATRIOTS: Former Buckeye and former Viking Michael Jenkins has been signed by the Patriots as they look to bring some experience to their receiving core. The Patriots have a history of bringing veterans in to training camp and then letting them compete among themselves for a spot. Michael Jenkins is probably best remembered for the “Holy Buckeye” touchdown pass against Purdue in 2002.

[Ed. note: MotSaG Industries, LLC. still has the holybuckeye.com domain, if any of you young, enterprising Buckeye Fans want to start a new blog. Better yet, come write for us!]

MIKE GESICKI TAKES UNOFFICIAL VISIT TO COLUMBUS: Who is Mike Gesicki you might be asking? Only one of the most touted recruits on the East Coast! While he has been playing wide receiver in high school many think he could make the switch to tight end if he bulked up some. Gesicki has been flying under the radar as a 3* recruit but as Ohio State and TTUN have taken interest, you can expect to hear more about him in the near future.

DAVE LEGGET PASSES AWAY: And now for some sad news. Dave Leggett the MVP of the of the 1955 Rose Bowl passed away after a long battle with an illness. Leggett lettered for three seasons under Woody Hayes. In the last game of the ’55 regular season he lead a legendary drive against TTUN that spanned nearly 100 yards. After graduating from OSU, Leggett went on to have a career in the Air Force as well as in the financial and planning industries. He was 79.

CAL RUNNING BACKS: While waiting for the tip-off of Ohio State’s Sweet 16 game I found this little item on College Football News in a review of the most interesting running back situations around the country.

California’s Sonny Dykes is known for cranking up the passing game, but last season he took true freshman Kenneth Dixon and got a dominant star with 1,194 rushing yards and a record-setting 27 scores. Can new recruit Khalfani Muhammad be the Cal version? No – he’s only 5-7 and a wispy 170 pounds – but the Bears need help with top runners C.J. Anderson and Isi Sofele gone. Junior Brendan Bigelow is the top returning back with 431 yards and three touchdowns last season, while sophomore Daniel Lasco ran for 109 yards and a touchdown – that’s about it in terms of sure-thing production. Considering Dykes is going to want a ying to the yang with a ground attack to go along with the passing game, finding the right back is going to be tough.

Do I need to remind Ohio State fans exactly who Brendan Bigelow is?

Yep, he’s the guy who ran just four times for 160 yds. and two TDs in Ohio Stadium. If new Cal head coach Sonny Dykes wants to find someone other than Bigelow to run the ball against Ohio State in Cal Memorial Stadium on Sept. 14 that’s fine by me.

BRUCE WHOOLEY? Ohio State fans may have some problems with Bruce Hooley but you have to admire his hatred of Indiana basketball. It is as pure and uncluttered as LaQuinton Ross’s jumper.

WORLDWIDE LEADER?

While it’s gratifying to finger-point at the Worldwide Leader’s obvious bias against Ohio State I doubt that’s what’s really in play here. In all probability CBS has the rights to any highlight packages of NCAA tournament games. In fact, the top 10 featured not a single tournament highlight.

My advice? Relax Buckeye fans. Q’s shot was one for the ages. That highlight will be around long after ESPN has given up sports and buys Canada…and probably Mexico.

FEARLESS The Buckeye boys from the Midwest were supposed to be worn down by jet lag and amped up by the bright lights and the big city. LA was supposed to beat the Buckeyes. As it turns out, Aaron Craft won over at least one Angelino, LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke:

“He’s funny. He’s frantic. He’s fearless.”

The Crafty One impressed the normally cynical Plaschke.

POST OF THE NIGHT on MGoBlog re: Ohio State: “They must have a special deal with Satan.”

SMOOTH MACHINES Ohio State’s Italian import, Amedeo Della Valle, tweeted side-by-side photos of Aaron Craft’s and LaQuinton Ross’s winning jump shots from the last two Ohio State games.

Perfect picture

A post shared by Amedeo Della Valle (@amedv8) on

If ADV is an Italian import, the photos of Craft and Ross made me wonder what kind of cars their jump shots remind me of. Ross has a shot as smooth as an idling Mercedes SL550 Roadster.

Craft has a shot that reminds me of my old 1964 Ford Falcon dragging its muffler down the street. Neither one was pretty but they both got where they are going.

Overtime?

Amadeo Della Valle says:

Perfect picture

A post shared by Amedeo Della Valle (@amedv8) on

Arizona Live In Game Chat

Preview: No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 6 Arizona Wildcats

Tip: Thursday, March 28, 7:47 pm Court: Staples Center

Watch it on: TBS  Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Len Elmore, Lewis Johnson

Winner will play: No. 9 Wichita St./ No. 13 La Salle

Spread: Buckeyes -3.5

Logo

Record: 28-7 Conference record: 13-5 Neutral court: 7-0

Leaders: Points: Deshaun Thomas (19.5)

Rebounds: Thomas (6.2)

Assists: Aaron Craft (4.6)

 

arizona

Record: 27-7 Conference record: 12-6 Neutral court: 6-1

Leaders: Points: Mark Lyons (14.8)

Rebounds: Kaleb Tarczewski (6.1)

Assists: Nick Johnson (3.2)

Matchups: 

Buckeyes offense vs. Wildcats defense

Tarz

Will Arizona’s big men control the paint?

When the Wildcats and Buckeyes take the floor Thursday night, the glaring disparity between the two teams will be Arizona’s clear height advantage in the paint. Coach Sean Miller uses two highly touted freshmen in a rotation at power forward with Brandon Ashley (6-8) and Grant Jarrett, (6-10) alongside another highly touted freshman Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0) at center. Although they are young and inexperienced, the three big men were five star recruits and have the ability to lock down the paint. How will Coach Thad Matta arrange his lineup versus the trees in the lane? Will he give Amir Williams/ Evan Ravenel more playing time, or will they try to spread out the Arizona big men with a smaller lineup? Although Solomon Hill will most likely cover Deshaun Thomas, Thomas could have his hands full if he is down low for the majority of the game. Another intriguing match up will be Craft vs. Mark Lyons/ Nick Johnson. Lyons is Arizona’s de facto point guard but Johnson is a supreme athlete and is the much better defender. If Lyons struggles early defensively, expect Arizona head coach Sean Miller to put Johnson on Craft.

Similar to Iona, the Wildcats struggle when guarding the perimeter. They have allowed opponents to shoot 36 percent from three point land, (287th in the nation)  which then turns their height advantage to a disadvantage if their opponent is hitting from the outside. Spreading the Arizona bigs out of the paint is key to scoring on the Wildcats, and if the Buckeyes can hit from the outside early,  Miller will have to adjust.

Wildcats offense vs. Buckeyes defense

Lyons

Which Mark Lyons will show up for the Wildcats?

This is where the game will ultimately be won or lost for the Buckeyes. Craft has already manned up against the great guards from Michigan, Kansas, Duke and the others from the B1G and you can now add Mark Lyons to the list of another great guard that Craft will be shadowing today. Lyons has had a great NCAA tournament, dropping 23 points against Belmont and then 27 versus Harvard but he has not gone against an on ball defender like Craft. He thrives with the ball in his hands and he is also not afraid to take the last shot, as he hit the game winner at home against Florida earlier in the year. The knock on Lyons is that he can get a bit wild at times and force up questionable jump shots and three pointers, thus destroying Miller’s offensive philosophy. If Lyon’s feels frustrated by Craft and decides he wants to be selfish, he has the ability to lose the game for the Wildcats.

Next to Lyons, the other half of the ‘Cats back court is Nick Johnson who is very athletic and can score in bunches; expect Shannon Scott to cover Johnson. They have the big freshmen that I touched on earlier who are capable of scoring inside but their offensive games are not polished enough to really take over the game. If one were to go off, it would be Ashley as he is the most advanced of the freshmen big men offensively and could be an X-Factor. Then there is Solomon Hill, who is Miller’s do it all version of Deshaun Thomas. Hill does not score at will like Thomas but he is a solid, all around, senior forward with experience who can score from inside or outside. He makes the little plays that do not necessarily show up on the stat sheet but is tough to guard defensively.

Ken Pom ranks the Wildcats offense as the 21st most efficient in the country and they averaged 77 points per game in the regular season.

Prediction:

The Buckeyes will defeat the Wildcats on the court and off the court

The Buckeyes will defeat the Wildcats on the court and off the court

The Wildcats are most dangerous when they are playing team basketball and when Lyons is playing smart. If Craft can get into Lyon’s head and play terrorizing on ball defense, the Buckeyes’ chance of winning will be high. If Lyon’s is playing smart and taking what Craft gives him, it will come down to the final possession. I think Lyon’s will use his tournament experience (back to back Sweet 16’s with two different teams) to play smart but it will not be enough. This will be one of the better games of March Madness.

Ohio State 67

Arizona 64

What is your prediction on this Sweet 16 match-up? Let us know in the comments below!

To learn more about Arizona from a Wildcat’s point of view, click here.

Football Moment 2013 Bracket (Round One, Defense)

OSU FootballHopefully you’ve already voted in the Offensive side of the 2013 Moment Bracket. Here we present the 16 plays on the Defensive/Special Teams side of the ball.

To the bracket!
[Read more…]

Football Moment 2013 Bracket (Round One, Offense)

OSU FootballYes, the Buckeyes will be participating in their Sweet Sixteen match-up tomorrow evening, but we’re starting a Sweet Sixteen of our own: The 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes Football Moment Showdown.

We did this last year and, to be honest, struggled a little to come up with 16 moments to match up. This year, after a perfect 12-0 season, it was a struggle to whittle the list down to 32. So many good moments, so many to choose from.

So this year, we’ve broken it up into two brackets, Offensive Moments and Defensive/Special Teams moments. We’ve seeded them 1-16 and matched them up. This first round will be link and poll intensive, but hit the jump and join us in deciding the best football moments of 2013.

[Read more…]

Getting to know the Arizona Wildcats from a Wildcat

basketball_iconHere is Ted Skroback’s look at the Arizona Wildcats and what they bring to the table in Thursday’s matchup. Skroback has a weekly sports talk show on KAMP Radio at the University of Arizona, he is a camera operator for PAC-12 Network and has worked many sports TV productions throughout Arizona. He is a student at the University of Arizona, graduating in May with a degree in Journalism. You can follow him on Twitter at @Tedskro for some Buckeye- Arizona in-game banter.

THE SEASON: After a hot 20-2 start that included wins over Florida, Miami and San Diego State, the Wildcats stumbled to a 25-7 finish going 5-5 down the stretch. Arizona’s only losses came to PAC-12 teams. They dropped all three games against UCLA (lost in PAC-12 tournament semi-final), but their only loss to a non-tournament team was at USC. The Cats have bounced around the AP rankings climbing up to 3rd in the nation and never falling below 18th in the regular season. Their RPI tells the tale of the season, as they ranked 15th overall but it was the nonconference RPI which is ranked second that shows this team can play with anybody.

EIGHT DEEP: At the start of the season I called this team the deepest in the nation and I still back that theory. On Thursday they will play an eight-man rotation, but over the season they have rotated in ten men at times. The three freshmen bigs are a rotation of their own. Kaleb Tarczewski (7’-0”), Brandon Ashley (6’-8”) and Grant Jerrett (6’-10”) can pose matchup problems for smaller teams. Tarczewski (Zeus) is your typical big center, he played scared at the start of the season, but seems to have become more comfortable with using his big frame down low. Brandon Ashley has a good all around game while Jerrett is an underrated defender and will surprise teams with his shooting (40% behind the arc). These three all compliment each other perfectly with their styles of play, rarely all three will be on the court at the same time, but against the small Ohio State lineup Head Coach Sean Miller might give it a try.

The Seniors, they’ve been there before: What each of the three main seniors have been through are all stories of their own. Kevin Parrom has moved his way into the starting lineup after being considered one of the best sixth men in the country. This kid has battled mentally (loss of both his mother and grandmother) and physically (shot in the leg, once recovered from the shooting he then broke his foot upon return) that all occurred within months of each other during the 2011-2012 season.

Solomon Hill is the quiet leader for the Wildcats. Second leading scorer on the team, and the definition of consistent. He will sneak up and give this team double digit scoring per game with a handful of rebounds. Solo seems like the perfect matchup against Deshaun Thomas, but Sean Miller said Thomas will be guarded by committee.

Mark Lyons is the loud leader for the Wildcats. The Xavier transfer has been reconnected with Miller and was granted eligibility to play this season because of a loophole allowing a graduate to transfer and play right away as long as their new school has a masters program their old school did not offer. Lyons hit a slump at the end of the season, but through the first two rounds of the tournament he has scored 23 and 27 points respectively. Confidence is his greatest strength and his most glaring weakness. Miller has said he wants the ball in Lyons hands at the end of a game because he is the gutsiest player on the team. His layup/floater over manchild Patric Young in the one point win over Florida shows he can put the team on his back. The frustrations come when he chalks up deep threes in a close game 6 seconds deep into the shot clock. He was seen taunting Larry Drew II of UCLA during their second regular season matchup, which is fine I love a good taunt, but not when Larry Drew II owned Lyons. After both regular season games Lyons went 1:10 in assist to turnover ratio. This cockiness could lead to trouble against Aaron Craft. (FUN FACT: Lyons is the first ever player to appear in back to back Sweet 16’s for two different teams)

We will see a lot of this on Thursday

We will see a lot of this on Thursday

Coaching Tree: People keep saying these teams playing styles are mirror images of each other. Well, both Thad Matta and Sean Miller were assistants together at Miami (Ohio) under Herb Sendek during the ’94-’95 season. The two would eventually work together again at Xavier where Matta was the head coach and Miller became his assistant for three seasons. When Matta traveled the 100 miles up I-71 to take over the reigns at Ohio State, he let it be known that Miller should be the Musketeer’s next head coach. The only time these two coaches have squared off head to head before Thursday was when Ron Lewis hit a three to send the 2007 “round of 32” matchup between Miller’s Musketeers and Matta’s Buckeyes into overtime where OSU would eventually win and move on.

X-Factor: Mark Lyons would be the easy choice, but that’s no fun. Sophmore guard Nick Johnson is a more athletic poor mans Aaron Craft. Johnson, when he wants, can be just as good of an on ball defender as Craft. He gave fits to Jahii Carson of Arizona State who is one of the quickest guards in the country. In big games Johnson seems to always make a big defensive play down the stretch. Defensive play of the year could be Johnson’s block on what looked to be a go ahead layup in the final seconds for San Diego State, instead the Cats walked away with a one point victory. Just like Craft you have to know where Johnson is at all times when Arizona has their backs to the basket.

Bottom Line: Arizona’s Achilles heel has been defending the three all season, but they have shown improvement lately by completely shutting down Belmont in the round of 64, a team that relied heavily on threes to get to the tournament. Although the Cats don’t have a pure go-to shooter, anyone that sees playing time besides big man Tarczewski can step outside and hit an open look. They are deceivingly athletic and although a fast paced game seems to fit the smaller lineup of Ohio State, with the deep rotation and athletic big men Arizona can run with anybody. The Wildcats normally look lost against zone schemes, which won’t come into effect Thursday playing against man to man.

Prediction: Arizona plays to the skill of their opponent; this game will be close in the high sixties to low seventies. The Wildcats will out-rebound the Buckeyes, which will be the tale of the stats in this battle. Miller gets revenge against his friend in a 72-70 win.

 

Looking for a a new MOTSAGer…

We here at MOTSAG are opening up our blog to a new writer (or 2). We are looking for a professional hahaha, just kidding. I can’t believe I actually used that word. We are really just looking for a few people who love the Buckeyes and who have some free time to dedicate to writing for the world’s oldest (active) Buckeye Blog. You don’t have to be the best writer [but it helps! -ed] or know how to spell or put together coherent sentences — our resident editor and founding father el Kaiser will fix all your mistakes and barely shame you into checking your work before hitting publish. We would like the new writer to have an interest in Breaking News or OSU news in general. We need a writer who can put up posts in a timely matter and also have the ability to gather many OSU stories for a weekly recap post. The ability to want or know how to interview is wanted but can be taught as well.

Requirements:

  1. Be able to name at least five Buckeye football players who played before Jim Tressel took over the program.
  2. Be able to write weekly posts that don’t include all the words your momma wouldn’t let you say as a child.
  3. This is a PG rated family blog (we want our wives and kids to read).
  4. A good sense of humor is a must. We don’t take much of this seriously and want you to do the same.
  5. A thick skin is required in order to deal with people who disagree with you especially those PSU fans.
  6. Dedication to helping make this a better blog for all our fans.

If you think you are the kind of person we are looking for and you seriously want a shot to write with all of us and you want to be part of the awesomeness that is myself and the other humble MOTSAG writers then drop us a note (either using the Contact Us page or an email to motsag@gmail.com) answering the following questions below:

  1. Who is your favorite Buckeye of all time and why?
  2. Who is your least favorite Buckeye of all time and why?
  3. Did we win the bowl game we were in the year you were born and what game was it?
  4. Favorite TV show of all time and why?
  5. Other then TTUN which teams fanbase do you hate the most?
  6. Have you ever or do you currently write for anyone else and do you have an example of your work?
  7. Other then myself (obviously I am) who is your favorite OSU blogger?
  8. If you could attend the sporting event of your dream what would it be?
  9. What would be your last meal if you knew you were dying tomorrow?
  10. Honestly how many well thought out articles will you write a month?
  11. Do you have a twitter account and if so what is it?

Thank you to each and everyone who applies. Our goal is to add a writer (or 2) who would focus on “news” or current events, if you will. If you are hired your compensation package will include the following: lifelong friendship. There is also always the possibility that el Kaiser will share one of his many Groupons and take you out to lunch as well.

Ohio State Survives Late Iowa State Surge, Wins 78-75

OSU LogoBeing the good choirboy I am, I actually didn’t get a chance to watch the tournament match-up between Iowa State and Ohio State until after dinner today (church duties kept me busy). As anyone who knows me, I like to stay “in the dark” on Ohio State games and watch them unblemished on the DVR. At times, it’s a challenge to stay “clean”. Friends come up to my and ask me if I’ve seen the score or “how about that” or, as happened last Sunday, they congratulate me, as if I had any affect on the game. But now that I’ve made myself and my intentions known, people now give me a little space on Sundays so I can watch the game and not know how things end.

OSU_bench

I had no idea what kind of a game waited for me on the DVR.

I was not alone in my worries about Iowa State. I, too, watched them dismantle Notre Dame (but to be honest, Notre Dame deserved to lose after seeing what unis they’ve been sporting for the past couple weeks) and their sharp shooting scared me. An underdog, a team with clearly the green light to launch threes at will and a team with nothing to lose. Those guys are the worse kind of second round match-up in the NCAA.

The first half went more or less according to any NCAA tournament game — a couple runs here for the Cyclones, the Buckeyes got theirs, but the teams were never further apart than six points. Clearly both teams were feeling each other out, seeing how the other team would react. It was clear that the Cyclones were not intimidated by the higher-seeded Buckeyes and they played toe-to-toe the whole first half. Emotions and adrenaline were high. Iowa State made a lot of mistakes, including more than one from former Michigan State PG Korie Lucious. It looked like Ohio State would be able to distance itself with some disciplined defense in the second half.

Then near the end of the first half, Iowa State guard Chris Babb came down on his ankle awkwardly and had to head to the locker room. He would not return to the game, a huge blow to Iowa State’s lineup. Losing Babb cost them one of their better defenders and senior leadership. Not to make light of another man’s injury, but things were looking up for the Buckeyes at the end of the first half. Them’s the breaks.

The second half turned out to be a roller coaster.

Ohio State would extend its half-time lead from two points to six as both teams went back and forth. Iowa State would close the gap to one point, 52-51, before Ohio State called time out. Led by LaQuinton Ross, the Buckeyes would then go on a run to distance themselves from the Cyclones. With a little more than eight minutes left in the game, Ohio State would lead 65-53. Things looked comfortably in hand.

Then the 3-point barrage from Iowa State would commence. Everyone got in on the action — Lucious, Ejim, McGee. It was an Oprah’s favorite threes party and you get a three pointer and you get a three pointer AND you get a three pointer. Before the under-4 timeout, Iowa State had pulled within 1, 68-69. Part of Iowa State’s comeback was aided by poor shooting by the Buckeyes, particularly from All-World Point Guard Aaron Craft, who missed the front-end of two one-and-ones and a jumper in the lane that would have kept OSU’s lead at a manageable level.

Instead, Iowa State briefly pulled away before things would be tied and an errant rebound would careen out of bounds, off an Iowa State player.

When it finally came down to it, tied 75-75 and the shot clock off, it was Aaron Craft who waved off Deshaun Thomas. Everyone else knew the ball was going to Deshaun. Deshaun thought the ball was going to Deshaun. But Craft had a mismatch, knew he had a chance and with the clock winding down, took aim at a three pointer.

aaron_craft

Buckeyes are headed to the Sweet Sixteen in Los Angeles.