Archives for January 2014

2014 B1G Football Recruiting: Roads Less Traveled By Include Ohio

The state of Ohio has long been a hotbed of recruiting activity, not only for the Ohio State Buckeyes, but for teams within the Big Ten. Knowing Ohio State can sign twenty-five players at most in a given recruiting class (sorry Tennessee fans, Ohio State coaches don’t believe in that SEC oversigning concept – zing!), the opportunity for other teams to target Ohio talent is high.

For as many years as I can recall, the number one rival on Ohio State’s recruiting list has been Michigan. “That Team Up North” has been able to lure many players to Ann Arbor, guaranteeing those players a lifetime of enmity from Ohio State fans. Mr. John Bacon (@Johnubacon), author of tremendous books such as “Fourth And Long: The Fight For The Soul Of College Football” , “Three And Out”, and “Bo’s Lasting Lessons” (all highly recommended, by the way), identifies the pressure faced by Ohioans who leave for That Team Up North as a “one-way street”.

Below was a brief Twitter passage I had with Mr. Bacon, regarding former Michigan WR John Kolesar, along the lines of “the one way street” Mr. Bacon made during the course of his BTN interview…

Looking at the top ranked Ohio players for 2014, Ohio State is in line to have several sign on the dotted line on February 5th. Among the top ten rated players in the state, only one, LB Michael Ferns, was recruited by Ohio State and decided to sign with That Team Up North.

Ohio State is slated to sign nine players from the state of Ohio. Indiana has six, Michigan State four, and most of The B1G with only one or two; some teams have none (see graph below). Kentucky, led by Ohio native Mark Stoops, has eleven Ohioans slated for his incoming recruiting class. The key to all of this information? Ohio State was able to get the players it wanted, with Ferns being the most notable exception.


Ohio high school football will always be a prime target for Ohio State and teams around the country. As long as Urban Meyer is able to keep most of the home-grown talent flowing into Columbus, Buckeye fans may be able to breathe easier when they see Ohioans taking their talents elsewhere.

My Five Most Hated Buckeye Players of All Time

So everyone loves a good top 5 list of things they love but those things are popping up on everywhere on a daily basis. I like to think of myself as a pretty easy-going and positive guy but I also have a lot of pent up anger because of it. So I thought why not start a series of the Worst Five instead of the Best so I could get some things off my chest. This post will be the first in a series of Worst Things and why not start with the Buckeye players who drove me insane the most and I wished they would have went to Michigan instead.

5.) Roy Hall (WR, 2002-2006)


Look, I will readily admit since leaving OSU, Roy has proven to be the kind of guy you would want your kids to have as a role model. His muscles alone are usually the kind of thing that would make him a MotSaG favorite. There is just one problem — he hurt one of my favorite players ever when he tackled Ted Ginn Jr. and took him out of the NCG in 2007. That celebration devastation may not have cost OSU the game but it did put him squarely on this list.

4.) Ryan Hamby (TE, 2001-2006)

He will forever be known to us here at MotSag as Ryan “Fricking” Hamby!!!

3.) Stanley Jackson (QB, 1994-1997)

I will admit it openly: Joe Germaine is my favorite OSU QB ever. I am forever going to blame Stanley Jackson for not going to Coach Cooper and saying, “Coach, bench me. Joe is a much better QB than me.” Stanley Jackson is a good person, no doubt, but he was an awful QB and took time away from the greatest QB to ever don the Scarlet and Gray (IMO).

2.) Amir Williams (Center MBB, 2011-current)

Look — three weeks ago Amir wouldn’t be anywhere near this list. He has quickly become the focus of my rage towards the basketball team right now. I am tired of seeing his non-effort and his lack of care and his inability to even block out properly on foul shot attempts. My 9 year old daughter is tougher than him and has more skills. He has time to redeem himself and get off this list but he better do something quickly to salvage his name in my mind.

1.) Maurice Wells (RB, 2005-2008)

So I assume you are wondering why in the world is Maurice Wells is on top of the list for my most hated players ever at OSU? It starts with his size. He is like 5’6″ and 150 pounds and he would fall down if the wind was too strong. His hair drove me insane. I have no problem with dreadlocks in general but his were annoying and seemed to make him top heavy and like he couldn’t hold his head up. It seemed to always have him running with his head parallel with the ground. He just wasn’t the kind of running back that would do well in Tresselball and he proved it over and over when he got the chance to play. He was awful.

In Conclusion:

These guys are the ones I hate the most. Not the worst players ever (maybe they are); that list will come out soon. They also aren’t the dirtiest or the most scandalous players of all time (those lists will be out soon as well). Just the ones I hate.

Tell me who you hate and haven’t found a way to forgive them for seemingly innocuous reasons and let me know in the comments. Hope you enjoy this post and look forward to the next one in this series.

The Penn State Disaster

OSU LogoIn what has to be considered Thad Matta’s most frustrating season at the helm for the Ohio State Buckeyes, it continued Wednesday night with a 71-70 Overtime loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions. Penn State was led by their leading scorer D.J Newbill with 25 points, including the last 2 with 1.9 seconds left, and 8 rebounds. They also got a stellar performance from Brandon Taylor with 19 points. The Buckeyes fell to 16-5 overall and 3-5 in conference play while Penn State improved to 11-10 overall and 2-6 in conference play. Ohio State was led in scoring by LaQuinton Ross with 16 while Lenzelle Smith Jr added 15 as they continue to struggle scoring consistently enough to win in the nation’s toughest conference.

After taking a 35-31 lead into halftime, the Buckeyes appeared to take control of the game after leading by as much as 11 points with a little over 7 minutes to play. But as what appears to be customary under coach Matta, the Buckeyes couldn’t handle playing with the lead and Penn State tied the game with a Brandon Taylor 3 pointer. Continuing the theme, Ohio State appeared to take control in overtime but sloppy play gave Penn State the ball with under 15 seconds to play and only down 1. That’s when D.J. Newbill decided to take a victory back with him to Happy Valley as he drained a step back 15 footer. The Penn State win over the Buckeyes ended the conference’s longest losing streak to one team at 18 consecutive Buckeye wins over the Nittany Lions.

Penn State Basketball Preview

OSU LogoPenn State brings their 1-6 Big Ten Record and overall record of 10-10 into the Value City arena Wednesday night to face the Ohio State Buckeyes. For the first time in 6 games, the Buckeyes bring a winning streak during a basketball game. Though it is only sitting a 1 game, the Buckeyes and head coach Matta will take it. Having lost their previous 4 games before finally getting things going in the right direction vs. Illinois, Ohio State looks to use that momentum against Penn State because road games against Iowa and Wisconsin are waiting for Ohio State. No stranger to a long losing streak, the Nittany Lions defeated Nebraska on Jan 23rd to end a 6 game losing streak of their own. Ironically, it ended against the team that gave the Buckeyes their most unexpected loss during their own losing streak in the Corn Huskers.

Though the Nittany Lions have the most formidable scoring backcourt in the Big Ten in D.J Newbill and Tim Frazier, they just haven’t been able to put a complete game together. Three of their 6 losses have come by 3 points or less has to be frustrating for Head Coach Pat Chambers. Though his program appears to be heading in the right direction, it clearly is not up to the level he expects to be at. The return of Tim Frazier, after having missed nearly a year with an injury, has been a positive as he is averaging 16.5 points a game to Newbill’s 17.2. But it’s their defense that it faltering for Penn State as they are giving up 72.6 points per game, good for 241st in the country.

Speaking of offense, Buckeyes fans are hoping that Thad Matta’s crew found some of theirs after their most recent contest against the Illini. Though 62 points isn’t anything to write home about, it was certainly enough to provide some confidence and rhythm. Lenzelle Smith Jr. scored 16 points and provided that extra spark that had been missing. The reason that the offense is so scrutinized is because the Buckeyes bring in one of the nation’s best defenses into any contest. Currently ranked 8th in the country while allowing only 58.3 points per game, it is the staple to Matta’s team and we have all seen the good things that can happen when the offense goes along with it. Ohio State is led by LaQuinton Ross with 14.1 points and Smith Jr. with 12.1 per contest. I expect this to be relatively low scoring with the Buckeye garnering a 65-55 win.

OSU v. Nebraska Wrestling Recap

wrestlingThe Buckeyes lost 28-12 to the Huskers. I suppose one could be disappointed by that but the truth is, there was much for a Buckeye fan to be pleased with. Certainly a lot for a wrestling fan to be pleased with. That’s a curious observation but I think it speaks well to what a marvelous sport wrestling is.

Why is that? Well first, I wish the sport were called something else because it is nothing short of fighting in the most basic human way—much like the 100 yard dash is running at its essence. True, punches and kicks are mostly, but not entirely, disallowed, but once two combatants have a hold of each other, around the world, the fight quickly becomes what wrestling is: two individuals trying to inflict maximum harm on each other. But of course done with the utmost of sportsmanship. Usually.

In the crucible of the fight experience you get the passion that people associate with other fight venues—boxing, or MMA. I think of the Iowa team that mirrors their seemingly half crazed coach, the always entertaining but thoroughly likable Tom Brands, himself an Olympic gold medalist. You cannot help but love the sheer fun of the despotism a team like Iowa brings any time they are on the mat.

But as a sport you get the best of all worlds. If the team is great, that means the team has very strong wrestlers up and down the lineup. But even if the team is not great, it can have individual wrestlers that can scale the heights and provide all the excitement a school partisan could want. I think of a few years ago when a Harvard wrestler stood on top of the podium at the NCAA tournament. Crimson partisans had a blast that weekend, and that fun centered around just one fighter.

Once you become a fan, you simply root for other wrestlers. One of my favorite Buckeye fighters is the currently red-shirting Josh Demas who wrestled at 157 last year. Josh did great, but in following him I could not help being a fan of the harrowing style of Northwestern wrestler Jason Welch. So when Welch ascended the elevated stage in the NCAA finals, I felt as if I had a wrestler in the finals and it was as fun as rooting on a Buckeye—it would have been a lot more fun if a faux one point penalty had not been assessed against Welch for a hand lock.

Ohio State is a GREAT program. It is a little down this year due to red-shirting, but next year when those wrestlers return and new super star recruits show up on campus, Ohio State fans will have all they can handle in excitement. But even this year, in the midst of a 28-12 loss to a very strong Nebraska team, there is much to be thrilled about. Wrestling is truly a sport where the Ohio State focus is on the March B1G tourney and the NCAA tourney. Ohio State is not stacked up and down the line-up this year. Rather it has one fighter, Logan Stieber, shooting to become one of the iconic figures of all-time, and supporting cast members in other weight class who are either a rung below or who seem on the verge to elevating themselves in status.

Let me also say something about the coaches. Head coach Tom Ryan has said in a self-deprecating way that Ohio State fans should feel blessed that Stieber and his red-shirting phenom brother Hunter decided to come to Ohio State. True, but they are there because of Coach Ryan and his incredible staff of Lou Rosselli and Buckeye great and sartorially magnificent J Jaggers. Ohio is one of the greatest fighting states in the country but until Coach Tom arrived, Ohio State coaches had not been able to keep much of the in-state talent at Ohio State. That has all changed. So, long after the Stiebers have taken their talents to the world stage, Buckeye coaches will be establishing a dynasty for all Buckeye fans to enjoy.

So let’s do a post-mortem of Nebraska as we head to a deliciously fun rivalry match against Michigan at St. John’s Arena next Friday. While I believe some of the brightest moments occurred in the matches with the darkest results, let’s start with the winners.

All Buckeye conversation starts with 141 pound Logan Stieber and rightfully so. People should know, for all his greatness, Logan is simply the nicest, most decent kid you will find in sports. He is not comfortable in the spotlight and rejoices only when the conversation turns to his teammates, a quintessential Ohio trait. In the month of January, Logan has not needed to go past the first period. Last night in the time it took me to tweet out a brief note on the previous match, Logan had drained all the blood from talented Colton McCrystal’s shoulders and pinned him neatly to the mat. The only bad thing about Logan is, right now, if you show up to see him, you better not blink because your viewing time is limited to about 120 seconds.

197 pound Nick Heflin never disappoints. Even when he loses, which is only once so far, he powers through his matches with the consistent drive of a steam engine. Nick says he has a mental block about shooting for takedowns and that was in evidence last night. He took 20th ranked Caleb Kolb to overtime but spent the entire third period on the defensive. That was not a particularly bad tactical move—I contend that Nick is such a good athlete that he can defend any shot and likely scramble for the takedown. Sure enough, Kolb shot and Nick pounced, but unfortunately ran out of time, sending the match to overtime.

Dan Gable once famously said, “I shoot, I score. You shoot, I score.” Nick has the second part down, but after seeing him aggressively hit the takedown to win in sudden victory I tweeted that I don’t know why Nick would ever be afraid to shoot. He may have just seen the weakness he wanted or he just decided what the heck. Now it is really true, especially at the heavy classes, a missed shot can put you on your back. But the better fighters learn how to recover from a bad shot and usually have a back-up in mind. I was proud of Nick for throwing caution to the wind in overtime—he has done it before—but if Nick would only bring that sort of confidence earlier in the match, is there anyone who could challenge him?

At 133, Johnni DiJulius was the only other Buckeye winner. The match should not have been close, but Johnni is coming off an injury. Maybe that accounted for the narrow 2-1 win. Johnni was in control the entire match, even though he was tied 1-1 with a point waiting to be awarded because he had over a minute of riding time advantage. But, if you let an opponent hang around, bad things can happen and they almost did. When Husker Shawn Nagel went for a third period takedown DiJulius found himself in a fix that most wrestlers do not overcome. But DiJulius is obviously one of those wrestlers who is comfortable in a scramble. Time and time again I have seen him wriggle out of impossible looking dilemmas. And, as per his usual, he did it again, staving off the takedown to preserve a win. I don’t have a problem with Johnni’s tactic here—he is a guy who knows how to shoot and he was protecting a lead, but his loved ones must have suffer many near heart attacks as they watch him compete.

184 pound Kenny Courts has lost twice now to talented TJ Dudley, but there is no doubt in my mind Kenny is the better wrestler. I was only afraid of an early mistake and that happened. Kenny executed a lightning quick ankle shot which Dudley countered by locking in a cradle that led to a pin. It happens. Kenny’s task is to use that as a teaching moment to protect himself as he continues to take advantage of his quickness. Beating Penn State’s Ed Ruth is a tall order, but short of that, Kenny, like Nick Heflin is capable of making it to an NCAA final. Yes, the loss must have been painful, but it was a loss borne out of exactly the correct aggressive frame of mind.

At 125, No. 16 Buckeye Nick Roberts had a big task to bring down a really tough and aggressive 9th ranked Tim Lambert but coming out of the first period, Roberts had a 5-1 lead, counting riding time. But then a problem emerged which would haunt the Buckeyes the rest of the night—the inability to escape from the down position in the second period. Now this is no small tactical issue—it takes a very strong wrestler to ride out another at this level—so it does speak to a difference in class. To elevate in class, several Buckeyes will have to at least start with a change in mindset to expend the energy necessary to get out—the failure to do so is simply too tiring as accomplished fighters will beat the tar out of an individual who cannot escape from the bottom position. Nick simply got wore down and pinned. But this kid is not far away and once he elevates in class he can become a terror.

The story is much the same at 149 with Ian Paddock. Ian fought 5th ranked Jake Sueflohn tough for the first period, ending at 4-4. I did not sense a loss of energy for Ian even as he was put on his back in the third period. He was up against a very tough opponent. But again, he just could not free himself in the second period. Ian is a senior but it has been three years since he has had the benefit of the grind of a full season as a starter. He has the requisite wrestling ability if he just continues to increase his mat stamina throughout the match. If there is one Buckeye I tab for a surprise breakthrough it is Ian.

Mark Martin never got it going against Robert Kokesh at 174, but that’s just a difference in toughness. Kokesh is a talented grinder. Mark is very smooth but until he develops into a more brutish force like Kokesh, he is going to have a bit of problem with exactly that type of opponent. But Mark is young and there is ample time to hit the weight room and throw around a similar kind of force.

Nick Tavanello at heavy started strong but also got punished a bit in the second period and was obviously off his game from that point. That happens too—if you let the momentum swing in the other guy’s favor it is very hard to remember you can still come back and reassert control. Keep grinding Nick and don’t get lulled into thinking a bad change of momentum has to dictate your result—you have the quickness and conditioning to make things happen.

The Buckeyes had a key match with Courts go against them, and in a big way for a pin. They also may not have expected Nick Roberts to win at 125, but they certainly were not expecting him to be pinned. But still they lost each of what might have been considered the toss-up matches, including at 125 and heavy. They also lost the third toss-up at 165 when Joe Grandominico was thoroughly dominated by Austin Wilson. Wilson is very good, don’t get me wrong, but I really had thought Joe would make this a close match—it was not, so “on paper” did not reflect the Husker advantage that actually unfolded.

Finally, in some respects Randy Languis showed what fighting, in the sport we call wrestling, is all about. Again, on paper, Randy had no business competing at 157 against No. 1 ranked James Green, but Randy battled tough throughout. Green pushed his way to a major decision but was never close to extending that to a technical fall precisely because Randy, though likely going down to defeat as the third period went on, kept up his own determined heat as he took valiant shots from his feet and nearly took Green down on a couple of occasions. Coach Ryan posted a Randy Couture quote the other day:

”Bravery has never and will never mean you are not afraid. Bravery is going forward even when you are terrified.”

Randy has been around long enough that I am sure he was neither terrified nor afraid, but facing James Green certainly had to be an unpleasant task. Randy stayed game throughout and managed to deliver his own sting, and that was fun to watch.

To sum up, even in a year of pause, this Buckeye team has a handful of wrestlers with the potential to go deep in a tournament, and that is what a season is all about. So soon enough what seems like a lackluster showing could well prove to be very satisfying.

As mentioned, the Buckeyes face none other than Michigan, a team on a roll, having bested no. 2 Minnesota last week. More on that later.

The Streak Ends, Ohio State Wins 62-55

OSU LogoOhio State ended its 4 game losing streak in defeating Illinois by a score of 62-55. LaQuinton Ross paced the Buckeyes, now 3-4 in the Big Ten and 16-4 overall, with 18 points on 6-11 shooting and 4-7 from the line. Despite the solid performance in this contest for Ross, the difference in the game was Lenzelle Smith Jr. He ended the contest with 16 points, including 4-8 from the 3 point line that included a couple of momentum swinging 3 pointers. This seemed to be what the Buckeyes lacked during the 4 game losing streak. In addition to that, over the last 4 games, Aaron Craft had just as many turnovers as assists at 19. On Thursday night, he 5 assists while only logging 2 turnovers.

In the early parts of this matchup it did not seem that the Buckeyes were going to overcome any offensive woes as they finished the first half down 25-24 while shooting only 29%. They made some adjustments in the second half and shot 54% on 13-24 shooting in the second half while not settling for poor shots.

As is customary for a Thad Matta coached team, defense is the objective on the court. The ability to stop the leading scorer from the other team was the main concern and Matta’s squad did just that. Rayvonte Rice had been averaging 17.1 points per game and left this game with exactly 0 points. Matta made sure his old assistant John Groce was not going to get the better of him the easy way. At first it looked as though Joseph Bertrand, Jon Eeky and Nnanna Egwu would carry the load for the Illini but they lacked additional scoring and the always pesky craft and his teammates made sure that wouldn’t happen. Bertrand finished with a game high 19 points to Eeky’s 11 and Egwu’s 10. No other Illinois player scored in double figures. The Illini fall to 2-5 in the tough Big Ten conference and 13-7 overall.

The Buckeyes get almost an entire week off as they do not play until hosting Penn State on Wednesday Jan 29th. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect it allows the players some rest as well as positive momentum going into a tough stretch with games at Wisconsin and Iowa following the home game against Penn State.

OSU Wrestling: Nebraska Preview

wrestlingAfter more than a month, the 10th ranked Buckeye wrestling team returns to campus Friday night, January 24, to face 7th ranked B1G foe Nebraska, a team that matches up very tightly with Ohio State.

The first thing I do for every match is to see what is in store for seniors Ian Paddock at 149 and Nick Heflin at 197. Ian had struggled in certain respects, primarily with match fitness, but that is looking like a thing of the past. He did wrestle very poorly at Penn State in early December, creating doubt he could regain his All American stature from a few years back. Whether it was just a matter of healing his injured body or whether he took the Penn State loss to heart, Ian has come back from the break to wrestle very well. His 2-1 January record belies the fact that he has regained a third period gear. He did lose to Northwestern’s fourth ranked Jason Tsirtis, but he wrestled him tough. This week he goes against 5th ranked Jake Sueflohn. While I give Sueflohn the edge, that is only because they wrestle this week. Based upon what seems to be Ian’s obvious progression, if this were March I think we would see a different result, and we may yet this Friday. I expect Ian to give Sueflohn a tough match, and Jake has his own energy problems in the third period. This could be a Buckeye upset.

At 197, Nick Heflin faces Caleb Kolb, who happens to be the son of four-time Steeler Super Bowl Champ John Kolb. Although unranked, Kolb is a tough kid who is not afraid to mix it up. As I’ve noted, and it is no secret, Nick tends to be defensive on his feet. Kolb may be tough but Nick is the better athlete meaning Kolb’s aggressiveness could get him in trouble with Heflin. However, Nick came out and scored four takedowns against a game Northwestern opponent. So my hope is that Nick continues to pick up his offensive game and take chances—if he shoots and only gets in a scramble, chances are Nick is going to win that scramble. Yes, he risks a little danger, but at this point, Nick has the goods to focus more on what it takes to stand atop the podium in March.

Another power match-up is at 184 pounds where eighth ranked Kenny Courts goes against the Huskers’ 11th ranked TJ Dudley, an impressive red-shirt freshman. These two guys have similar styles, and they are both unafraid to take risks. But I don’t even see this one being close. Kenny is the stronger wrestler from start to finish. Unless he gets in trouble early, by the time the third period rolls around I expect Kenny to be punishing the Nebraska wrestler.

The Buckeyes should not struggle at 133 and 141. That is not to say the Nebraska wrestlers are not strong. At 141 Colton McCrystal is a four time Iowa finalist and two time state champion who gamely fought and lost to a ranked Iowa wrestler. But he is no match for Buckeye Logan Stieber. Much the same could be said at 133 where I expect Buckeye Johnni DiJulius to overpower his Nebraska opponent.

Two Buckeyes face extremely stern tests: Mark Martin who goes against the fourth ranked, grinding Robert Kokesh at 174 and Randy Languis, who has a huge mountain to climb against number 1 ranked James Green. Green (whose training partner is none other than the best wrestler in the world, former Husker, fellow New Jerseyite Olympic gold medalist and internationally undefeated Jordan Burroughs) just took it to defending national champ and previously undefeated Derek St. John. I always think Mark Martin has a chance to win, so don’t assume that one away, but Randy, for all his talent and determination, will do well to make his match competitive.

At this point, on paper at least, the Buckeyes would seem to have a 4-3 match advantage, leaving three pivotal matches. The first could occur right at the start when No. 16 Nick Roberts will tangle with No. 9 Tim Lambert of Nebraska. Nick has his work cut out for him—Lambert is an aggressive fighter who seems to pick up steam as the match progresses. This will be a good test of where young Nick is at this point. If we start with a pivotal match, why not end with one: Buckeye Nick Tavenello? This freshman continues to impress—he is quick on his feet and shows good match stamina. He wrestled fourth ranked Mike McMullan of Northwestern very tough. If the three Nicks can go 3-0, the Buckeyes win this meet going away.

Finally, at 165 Buckeye Joe Grandominico goes against Austin Wilson. This match is just too close to call. Wilson can wrestle with anyone though he lets himself get lulled to sleep on his feet, and gives up takedowns that he seems positioned to defend but just does not seem to see the attack coming in time to respond. Joe is a well-schooled and smart wrestler who should match up well against a determined Wilson.

This will be an exciting fight—go see it on a Friday night. The fun starts at 7 PM at historic St. Johns Arena (you can also watch live on the Big Ten Network). I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Illinois at Ohio State Preview

-Illinois at Ohio State

A five game losing streak is on the line tonight in this match-up of two teams currently on four game losing streaks. The Buckeyes have won five in a row at home against the Illini and haven’t lost five games in a row since the 1997-1998 seasons when they lost SEVENTEEN games in a row. Thank goodness social media didn’t exist back then, that’s for sure. One of these teams will start a winning streak tonight and the other will plummet to the bottom of the B1G standings.

The B1G is hands down the toughest conference in the country. Top to bottom there are no easy games this year. OSU, which at one point was ranked in the top 5 nationally, is on a four game losing streak. Wisconsin, who, also at one point was in the top 5, is on a three game losing streak. I could go on and on just how tough this conference is and how that has played a large part in both OSU and the Illini teams recent losing streaks. Both of these teams playing tonight are top 25 teams, in my opinion. They just happen to be playing each other at a time when both teams badly need a win to right the ship and get their seasons back on track.

The Illini are led by 6’4″ junior guard Rayvonte Rice who is averaging nearly 18 pg to go along with 6 rebounds per game and 2 assists per game. But during the losing streak Rice has gone stone cold, only getting 10 ppg on 28% shooting. The other leader on this team is 6’2″ junior guard Tracy Abrams who is averaging 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He is shooting 35% in the current losing streak. For the Illini to have any chance tonight both of these players will need to play extremely well and have someone else step up to help them out.

For Ohio State what needs to happen more than anything else tonight is a refocus on defensive effort that can lead to easy fast break points and easy shots. This team is as talented as anyone in the country but right now mentally they are in a bad place. All the players seem to be frazzled right now and making careless mistakes and can’t hit the broad side of a barn when shooting the ball. Somebody needs to step up and become the leader of this team and get the rest of the team back on path to their season goals. Aaron Craft is the most likely choice but he is never going to be an offensive star. LaQuinton Ross needs to put the team on his back and carry them offensively and draw extra defenders so others can get open. Those open guys need to knock down their shots though and if they can’t, drive to the hoop and make a layup or get some easy fouls and make some foul shots. Amir Williams seems to be disinterested in playing at all and probably shouldn’t at this time until he can get his head straight.

The Keys to this game are simple:

Make your shots.



Drive the ball

Make your foul shots

Defensive Intensity

Keep the home crowd in the game.

Score more points than the Illini even if it is only 1 more point.


Michael Bennett Interview on Buckeye TV (Video)

Yesterday star DL Michael Bennett went into the studio of Buckeye TV and sat down for an hour and did an interview and had fun. You can really tell that Bennett really enjoys being a Buckeye and being in college. If you follow him on Twitter you can see a lot of his personality and it is a really big personality. Just a great young man and a good rep. of our university. Here is the entire interview show from our friends at Buckeye TV…

Marcus Baugh Arrested and Suspended (Per 11W report)

In what can only be described as a kid at college not learning the lesson the first time. RS Freshman Tight End Marcus Baugh has been arrested for Underage Consumption….. AGAIN!!!

From our friends at 11W here is what Kyle Rowland is reporting…

According to the police report, the incident in question took place on Jan. 17, just south of Ohio State’s campus on 5th Ave. near Dennison Ave. The charge is a first degree misdemeanor with a maximum possible penalty of six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Baugh will be arraigned on Jan. 27.

You can read the rest of the report by clicking here…

This is Baugh’s second arrest for this particular legal offense. It is not uncommon for college students to have this problem in their first year of college but suffice it to say he was just getting out of the doghouse and this will not help his cause at all. This may also explain why OSU is going hard after David Njoku a TE they just offered today with 2 weeks to NSD.