Archives for February 2014

Penn State Preview

OSU LogoOhio State vs. Penn State
Bryce Jordan Center, State College, PA
Feb. 27th, 2014 at 7:00PM ET (ESPN 2)

While the Penn State Nittany Lions (13-14, 4-10 Big Ten) are floating around the Mason-Dixon Line, they’ve shown a lot of improvement this season under head coach Pat Chambers. It’s safe to say the Buckeyes won’t take the Nittany Lions lightly, as they lost in overtime back in Columbus on January 29th. They’ve also been competitive in a number of games they’ve lost. With the one-two punch of D.J. Newbill (17.4 points per game) and Tim Frazier (16.0 points per game), Penn State is dangerous every time out.

One aspect of their game to keep in mind is their lack of assists per game. They only average 11.6 per game which is 264th in the nation. Most of their scoring comes in the isolation or dribble drive fashion. Newbill and Frazier are isolation type of players. I think this plays into the strength of Ohio State’s defense. Craft will not leave Frazier’s pocket when he puts the ball on the floor. Ohio State will take their chances with Craft playing man to man defense.

On the flip side, the Buckeyes come in on a bit of a roll; winning 7 of their last 9 games. That’s a far cry from their midseason struggles when they lost 4 in a row from January 7th through the 20th. LaQuinton Ross (14.3 points per game) and Lenzelle Smith Jr. (11.8 points per game) have both picked up their scoring. By doing so, the Buckeyes have been picking up some big wins. Penn State won’t roll over at home, so it’ll be important for Ohio State to hit some shots early on the road. Guys like Ross and Smith need to see the ball go through the basket early on.

Thad Matta has his crew playing well going into March. He knows this team must grind out games defensively, push the pace when the opportunity presents itself and knock down some perimeter shots with no true inside scoring threat. I like Ohio State to edge Penn State slightly, pulling away in the last 2 minutes, 67-60.

It’s 9:14PM and Michigan Still Sucks

Proof Ryan Shazier runs a 3.4 40 yard dash (Video)

Ok fine the title is misleading but you still enjoyed the video!!!

A look at OSUs big win over Minnesota

It took a little over 5 minutes in the second half to finally take the lead but once they did, the Buckeyes of Ohio State didn’t relinquish it. Scoring a whopping 46 points in the second half after being held to a season low 18 in the first, The Buckeyes came from behind for a 64-46 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The second half domination was led by Sam Thompson who scored 16 of his game high 19 in the second half. Thompson seems to be thriving in his role as starter after coming off the bench for most of the year and has scored in double figures the last two games.

In the first matchup of these two teams, Minnesota outrebounded the Buckeyes and forced 18 turnovers en route to a 10 point victory at Williams Arena. This time around, Ohio State(22-6,9-6) took the rebounding advantage by 10 and only had 11 turnovers. The Buckeyes made a concerted effort to hit the glass with LaQuinton Ross, Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr tying for the team lead with 6 rebounds. Ohio State also got a solid effort in points from Smith Jr. with 13 as he got the second half surge started with scoring the first 2 baskets.

Minnesota(17-11,6-9) was led in the scoring column by Andre Hollins with 13 and Deandre Mathieu only a point behind with 12. Center Elliot Eliason, who was a force in the last matchup, got in early foul trouble and finished with only 4 points. For a team trying to stay off the NCAA tournament bubble, every game is a big one and Minnesota can’t afford to stumble during the stretch run. On the other end of the court, the Buckeyes are solidifiying their resume for the tournament having assured themselves of at least a .500 record in conference play.

Minnesota vs. Ohio State, Take 2

OSU LogoMinnesota at Ohio State
Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Feb. 22nd, 2014 at 6:00PM ET (BTN)

The first time these two teams met this season, Minnesota came in unranked with a 13-4 record. Ohio State was 15-2, ranked #11 but had just came off two losses to Michigan State and Iowa.

Minnesota would go on to upset the Buckeyes, handing Ohio State its third loss that was just he beginning of a slide that had people wondering if Ohio State was even a tournament team.

Since that game in January, Ohio State has won six of the next nine games while Minnesota would only find success in three of their next nine (even though one of those wins was a solid victory over Wisconsin). Divergent paths, indeed. Minnesota is now the team in need of another signature win to bolster any kind of tournament resume they can. Ohio State twice in one season would be quite the feather in their cap.

Not much has changed from the preview that Chris K did earlier. Minnesota is still going to rely on Andre and Austin Hollins to lead the way against Aaron Craft and LaQuinton Ross of the Buckeyes.

Look for Ross to have a big game after his ejection in Ohio State’s victory over Northwestern. Thad Matta (and I’m sure Ross as well) wasn’t proud of the outburst and I’m sure has been riding Ross. This is a chance to LaQuinton to show he’s moved on and is able to concentrate on getting his game right.

Game tips off at 6 on Big Ten Network

Ohio State Dominates Second Half, Beats Northwestern 76-60

OSU LogoNorthwestern hadn’t beaten Ohio State in the last 8 tries and hadn’t won in Columbus since 1977. It appeared in the early going that they might have a chance, even taking a 9 point lead over the Buckeyes at one point in the first half. Then, of course, Ohio State got going. With Northwestern up 25-16 with a little over 7 minutes left in the first half, Ohio State closed on a 21-8 run to take a 4 point lead at the half. Ohio State outscored Northwestern 39-27 in the second half to beat the Wildcats, now 12-14 and 5-8 in conference play, 76-60. Ohio State improved their record to 21-6 overall and 8-6 in conference play.

LaQuinton Ross lead the Buckeyes in points with 16 to go along with 6 rebounds. Ross also led Ohio State in ejections as he was thrown out for shoving Northwestern’s Nikola Cerina and Drew Crawford. He appeared to be coming to the aid of teammate Amir Williams who was being driven out of bounds by Cerina and was a couple of inches away from being on the business end of Cerina’s punch. While no shove or punch should be viewed as a positive, Ross’ show of emotion for his teammate was something that appeared to be lacking with this team just a few short weeks ago.
As I have written about several times here, this team goes as Lenzelle Smith Jr. goes. And go he did. He had a double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. He will continue to be the steering wheel to Aaron Craft’s engine and Ross’ gas pedal as this team makes to drive towards the Final Four.

Northwestern got an outstanding effort from Drew Crawford as he went for a game high 22 points on 8-13 shooting and appeared to be unguardable at times. Though it does not appear this will be the year Northwestern makes to NCAA tournament, head coach Chris Collins has a couple of pieces to make a run in the next couple of years.

Is @Navy On 08/30 A Noon Kickoff?

News regarding Ohio State football is relatively light, even with the NFL Combine taking place later this week. Earlier on Twitter today, I came across a tweet from that contained a link regarding the 2014 Navy football schedule.

Within the link, Navy football discusses the upcoming 2014 schedule. I reposted my original tweet, in case anyone may be interested. No word as of yet from Ohio State officials if it is a 12pm EST kickoff.

Three Yards and a Cloud of Links

Good morning Buckeye Nation.

National Champs: The Ohio State Buckeyes Men’s Tennis team has won a National Championship. The indoor team has done something that eluded them by finally winning the National Title this past weekend. This is why students choose to come to The Ohio State to have a chance to win National Championships doesn’t matter the sport. Congratulations to coach Tucker and his players keep up the great work and carry the momentum forward.

Coach for Sale: It seems our favorite punching bag from TTUN is getting a new title. There are so many jokes that can go with what I feel is a bizarre move. Brady cHoke will no longer be known as the head football coach at TTUN he will now be known as Brady cHoke the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach. The Harris family paid 10 million to basically buy the head football title. Seems more and more colleges are doing this as a way to bring in money for their schools. What surprises me is no one thought to bid this out for cHoke I mean come on (insert fat joke here). I think I would have waited a year to see who the next coach is because if history is any indicator next season could be another bad year for the maize and blue with cHoke as their savior.

Get Your Tickets: I know after this brutal winter its hard to think that spring is actually around the corner. Your Buckeye football team will be having their Spring Game on April 12 at the ‘Shoe. Before the game begins the Buckeyes will face TTUN in Lacrosse. Get your tickets now since they will be cheaper than at the door and cheer on your Buckeyes to a victory and then enjoy the future of Buckeye football.

College Football Popularity: Did you know that Ohio State was second in the nation for attendance? Only three teams averaged more than 110k for attendance at their home venues. TTUN was first (surprisingly that many fans wanted to see their team lose), Ohio State, and Alabama were the three. The SEC lead the nation for attendance.

Until next time Buckeye Nation…

Illinois Basketball Preview

OSU LogoThe Ohio State Buckeyes are doing something this Saturday that they haven’t had to do since the beginning of the month. When the Buckeyes(19-6, 6-6) take on the Fighting Illini of Illinois, they will be coming off of a loss. Thad Matta’s club is hoping to rebound from a home loss to rival Michigan on Tuesday. He is also hoping the outcome of the game on Saturday is the same as when Ohio State beat The Fighting Illini(14-11, 3-9) 62-55 at Value City Arena on Jan 23rd.

In order for Ohio State to come out on the winning side of the scoreboard, they will need to contain the Illini’s leading scorer, Rayvonte Rice. He is averaging 16.8 points a game but Ohio State was able to limit the sharpshooter to exactly 0 points. Don’t think for a second that Rice is not fully aware of his shortcomings last time against the Buckeyes. One thing Ohio State will want to keep an eye on is the production of Joseph Bertrand who was able to find a lot of success against the Buckeyes last contest with 19 points. He almost single handedly kept the Illini within striking distance until the final moments.

With Matta’s club seemingly having righted the ship a bit with road wins against Wisconsin and Iowa to go along with a home win against Purdue, the home loss to Michigan might have let doubt creep back in. This teams needs confidence in order to succeed and seem to have gotten it in Lenzelle Smith Jr. With LaQuinton Ross being the one constant that Matta can count on, the rest of the bunch have been as up and down as a roller coaster. Smith Jr. has provided the spark to get the Buckeyes back on track. His performance will most certainly dictate the outcome of the game against Illinois. If he scores in double figures, the Buckeyes will be able to score against Illini and win the game. I look for Illinois to have a hot shooting streak playing at home and coming away with a 70-62 win.

My Buckeye Bucket List

Let’s get this over with quickly: we’re all gonna die. It’s not a pleasant thing to dwell on, but it’s going to happen eventually. Everyday you wake up, you break your personal record of how many days you’ve been alive. But even that record isn’t meant to be broken forever. So while we’re still breathing, let’s talk about what kind of things we’d like to experience as a fan of the Ohio State University.

Let’s talk about our Buckeye Bucket Lists.bucket list

I’ll start by sharing mine. This list is my personal Bucket List for what I’d like to experience as a Buckeye fan. Some of these things have already been accomplished, so they’ve been crossed off the list. But they’re here for completeness sake. Here is what I want to see and do in the next 40+ years I have left on this planet.

You’ll notice the absence of meeting a current (or former) Buckeye on my list. I’m not sure why that is. There are plenty of guys that played for the Buckeyes that I would love to meet in person (a certain biceped gentleman comes to mind, as well as a particularly righteous stiff arm) but I don’t know what the outcome of that meeting is. What would I say? How would I react? Would I go full-Troy Barnes-meeting-Levar Burton? Or would there be a lot of uncomfortable silences and staring at the ground? How inappropriate would it be to ask Vernon to feel his biceps? This is uncharted territory here, people. To avoid such unpleasantries, I’m not going to include “Meeting So-and-so” on my list.

So here are some of the things on my Buckeye Bucket List:

Witness Michigan get WHOOPED in the ‘Shoe: I’ve already done this and it was AMAZING. It was a couple weeks after the ill-fated loss to Michigan State, but the 1998 OSU/UM match-up will forever live in my memory banks as the time I witnessed a more talented, better in every facet of the game Ohio State team dismantle Michigan instead of inexplicably crap the bed and lose to a worse team. This victory solidified an already die-hard mania within my soul. Sacrifice, pain and ecstasy were all emotions I experienced. For reference sake, the week leading up to this game, I was in a TREMENDOUS amount of pain. I could barely walk, but I made the trek from my apartment in Grandview to the Horseshoe, screamed my guts out for three hours and sat for another hour after the game, basking in the joy of beating Michigan (also, I really didn’t want to walk home). A week later I was in the emergency room, prepping for emergency surgery on my backside. But nothing, not even the most painful abscess in the history of abscesses, could keep me away from witnessing this game.

Tailgate for the Michigan Game: These two probably could have been grouped together, because I tailgated at the Michigan Game in the same year. I had never really tailgated before this season. 1998 was the first season my wife and I got season tickets but we lived within walking distance, so we never had a reason to tailgate. But for the Michigan game we were invited to tailgate with my wife’s boss and it was amazing. I have never been around a more raucous, insane group of people this energized at 8 o’clock in the morning. Even through the haze of pain, I was able to enjoy every minute of that beautiful Saturday in November.

Graduate from The Ohio State University: I wanted to do this item on my list so bad, I did it twice. Once, in 2000 with my Bachelors in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and again in 2003 with my Masters in Electrical Engineering. Even though we weren’t able to make it to many games in 2002, being on campus during that magical season was amazing. My six-plus years on campus were some of the greatest times of my life. Ones I will cherish, and even if I’m never able to accomplish any of these other goals, I will feel like my life as a Buckeye is complete.

Tour the Woody Hayes Athletic Center: This is also probably within the every-day Joe’s grasp. I’ve never really looked in to what I need to do to tour the WHAC, but it’s something that I hope to be able to do one day. To see the trophies, to see where the magic happens, to maybe glimpse a current or former Buckeye and shake their hand and thank them for their dedication and for the joy they provide, it would be awesome.

Own an Official (preferably autographed) Jersey: I’m not a huge memorabilia guy, but I have collected baseball and football cards since I was a wee lad. I’m also not a jersey-wearer. I prefer t-shirts as my game-day attire. But I’d love to find an autographed jersey that I could hang on the wall of my home office (or in my man cave, whenever I get one of those), next to my collection of SP Authentic autographed cards of various Buckeyes. It would make a perfect centerpiece to my Buckeye card collection and more importantly, would make Jeremiah insanely jealous.

Have Field Passes for a game: This, of course, was why I started this blog (not really, but sort of). I have been on the field in the Horseshoe before, but never during a game. It doesn’t even have to be the Michigan game. But there are certain body parts I am willing to part with if it meant an opportunity to be on the field when the band is playing, the stadium is rocking and the team comes running on to the field. My wife and I joke all the time about how we feel the Holy Spirit in the stadium as the band plays “Carmen Ohio”. I can only imagine that feeling amplified to the nth degree as you’re standing on the field. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.

Go to the Rose Bowl: I want to go to a bowl game that the Buckeyes are playing in. But if I’m being picky, I don’t want to go to any old bowl game. I had a chance to go to this year’s Orange Bowl but passed. Not because I didn’t want to go. I would have loved to have gone to Florida and cheered on Ohio State. But I want my first experience to be special, and to be pure. I want to attend the Granddaddy of them all, I want to see the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl. And if I’m having my way, I want it to be against a traditional Rose Bowl opponent, like USC or Stanford. Good, old-fashioned Big Ten/Pac Ten matchups.

Go to an OSU NCAA Tournament Game: This is another experience that should be within my grasp. Tournament games are being played within a three-hour drive every year, and there’s always a good chance that Ohio State will be playing in one of those arenas. I want to see a group of Buckeye Ballers I’ve watched and rooted for all year and support them in their tournament run. Of course, I’d also love to be watching them in a game that is a little more meaningful…

Attend a Final Four that includes the Buckeyes: If you’re new around these parts, you might not have known, but I actually had a chance to go to the 2011 Final Four in Houston if the Buckeyes had made it, courtesy of Buick. If I could have crossed this particular item off my Bucket List, I think I could have been happy not crossing anything else off the list. This would have been enough.

Witness a Football Championship Firsthand: This, of course, is Mecca. This is the dream of millions of fans and has only been experienced by thousands. Watching the 2002 National Championship with co-bloggers Jeremiah and Trevor will be a lifelong memory that I will cherish and never forget. Being able to see it in person? I’m pretty sure death would hold no pallor over that occasion.

I’d like to add that including my best friends in any of these Bucket List items would be great, but what would make it perfect would be able to experience one of these with my Dad. It was his love for the Buckeyes that made me the fan I was. I distinctly remember being at a family friend’s house watching Ohio State dismantle BYU in the 1982 Holiday Bowl. I don’t remember who played for either team (it was actually a Steve Young-led BYU team). I don’t even remember the final score (Ohio State rolled BYU, 47-17). What I do remember was everyone rooting for BYU except my dad. There, in that living room, as half a dozen grown men cheered on the Cougars, my dad was there, loving every minute of Ohio State crushing BYU, hooting and hollering after every score. I was caught up in it and I couldn’t help myself. I wasn’t born in Ohio, but I was born a Buckeye on that fateful December day.

So that’s my bucket list. It’s pretty all-inclusive. Heck, I’ve already started working on it. But I’d love to hear what’s on your Buckeye Bucket List. What’s the one thing you’d like to see? To witness? To be a part of? Or who you’d love to meet, if that’s your cup of tea?