Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Ohio State
Posted on: March 4, 2012 7:16 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 7:59 pm
 

Despite flaws, Ohio St. still a Final Four threat

By Jeff Borzello

We’ve been hearing it all year, but it had been getting louder recently. The talk about Jared Sullinger not being as dominant as last season, the talk about William Buford’s inconsistency, the talk about the lack of 3-point shooters, the talk about a lack of toughness and chemistry.

Well, despite the supposed flaws and weaknesses, one thing is clear: Ohio State is still a Final Four-caliber team.

The Buckeyes demonstrated that potential during their 15-point comeback and late victory at Michigan State on Sunday afternoon. Sullinger struggled, but still managed to get 14 points and 10 rebounds. Buford made big shot after big shot down the stretch, including the game-winner with 1.0 seconds left. Aaron Craft had seven rebounds, six assists and four steals.

This team has the pieces. Sullinger is still a hoss on the low block, capable of carrying Ohio State on the offensive end and getting opposing big men in foul trouble. He hasn’t been as effective as he was last season, but he’s still one of the nation’s best big men.

When Buford is hitting shots, he’s nearly impossible to guard. He steps up at clutch times, and is not afraid to take the big shot. Buford has deep range on his shot and can create his own look and get separation for pull-up jumpers.

Craft might not be a shot-maker, but he’s still one of the toughest point guards in the country. He’s a pest defensively, and completely takes opponents out of their preferred offensive sets. Aside from a few transition layups, Keith Appling really struggled as a result of Craft’s defensive intensity.

The X-factor going forward could be Deshaun Thomas. He can knock down 3-pointers, and has really picked up his play of late. Prior to the Michigan State contest, he was averaging 21.5 points in his last four games. Thomas is difficult to guard because of the multiple ways in which he can get off shots.

Of course, there is also that Ohio State defense. The Buckeyes are extremely efficient at that end of the floor, dominating the defensive glass and forcing turnovers at a high rate. They also limit fouls, which is why Thad Matta isn’t forced to go to his bench very often. Ohio State didn’t allow Draymond Green to control the game, which helped slow down Michigan State’s offense in the second half. Moreover, the Buckeyes made a concerted effort to get back on defense after the Spartans beat them down the floor for easy transition baskets early on.

When a team has studs at the point guard position, on the wing and inside, they are a team no one wants to face come March. That’s exactly what Ohio State has – and then some.

There are certainly some flaws, but the Buckeyes proved on Sunday that they are still a major threat to reach New Orleans. 

Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:34 pm
 

Pod: UCLA reaction, OSU doubt, UConn bashing

The photo that will define Reeves Nelson's college career.  (AP)

By Matt Norlander


In immediate wake of Sports Illustrated's piece on Ben Howland, Reeves Nelson and the culture of no accountability at UCLA, the podcast addresses why it's, really, not surprising. Nelson is no longer on the team, UCLA has a big recruiting class coming in -- and you could likely find these sorts of problems at most places not winning consistently right now. Why it's bad: Ben Howland's reputation takes a hit and it's unclear whether he ever separates himself from the past few years of bad chemistry and bad basketball. Aside from UCLA, Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish and I touch on ...
  • From the beginning: UCLA.
  • 11:46: Aren't a lot of these problems mirrored at Mississippi State the past two seasons?
  • 15:40: Jerry Palm, as of this podcast's posting, has UConn in the field as an 11 seed. Why? Because the profile still stacks up favorably to other fringe squad. But the Huskies aren't a tournament team and cannot be trusted.
  • 19:36: Getting Draymond Green into the POY debate. Also, Goodman thinks it's "sad" one of these guys won't win it. What I forgot to bring up on the podcast: There are six POY awards, which is dumb, and so it's likely T-Rob/AD/Day-Day may split in some regard.
  • 24:26: Ohio State now has problems and Parrish thinks reaching the Elite Eight is highly questionable.
  • 28:28: Indiana away from home in the NCAAs -- will we see a different team?
  • 29:59: The lower seeds we're expecting a lot out of come bracket time.
  • 32:43: And out of nowhere, I'm raked over the coals for my final version of the Non-BCS Power Pyramid.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast -- whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.


Get CBSSports.com College Basketball updates on Facebook   

Posted on: February 27, 2012 10:36 am
 

Podcast: Jerry Palm hates all your teams equally

Cincinnati: not as safe as its fans want to believe.  (AP)

By Matt Norlander


CBSSports.com bracketlogist Jerry Palm isn't afraid to tell you how he really feels. Or, rather, how he thinks the tournament selection committee does, and will, when it picks the field of 68. Palm owns and operates CollegeRPI.com and he's Monday's guest on the podcast because he's got the at-large crop pinned down as well as anyone.

This was a very fun podcast. I'd never spoken to Jerry before, but it felt as though we'd done about 20 pods together. I think you'll enjoy it, and the episode is not really all that much about bringing up teams and deciding whether they're in or out. I toss a few bones that way, but 80 percent of the pod is filled with other material that's more interesting.

If you'd like to follow Jerry and watch him callously and hilariously continually break fans' hearts or just plain tick them off, get to Twitter.

Audio menu:
  • From the beginning: Being that Jerry's a first-time guest, as I'm wont to do, I let him tell us how he became to be Jerry Palm: RPI Expert and Superior Bracket Prognosticator.
  • 7:00: The biggest distinction in what Palm does is, he is putting his mind into the Selection Committee's way of thinking. These picks and seedings are not his opinion -- except when it comes to Cincinnati, who he very much hates.
  • 8:23: Since Jerry has kept his hands dirty with the RPI for more than 20 years, I had to get his opinion on the formula itself.
  • 11:20: He's been to three mock selection meetings in Indy. Jerry knows the process. We swap stories on what we like and don't about the NCAA's media hamster wheel.
  • 19:15: Who are the most interesting/intriguing/haziest-to-p
    roject teams right now? This is where you can see if Jerry picks on your team.
  • 28:05: Which fans are the worst? Which fans can't stop harassing Jerry on Twitter? One fanbase shocked me; the other very much didn't.
  • 32:47: Quick hits to wrap things up. The two vs. three seed gap; Murray State similar to 2006 George Washington? Jerry explains why that's not the case; the most undervalued team; and, finally, Northwestern.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast -- whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.


Get CBSSports.com College Basketball updates on Facebook   

Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:19 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 11:41 pm
 

OSU probably cost itself a one seed with loss

Trey Burke takes it to the rim against Aaron Craft, something he did often Saturday night. (US PRESSWIRE)
By Matt Norlander

The good news for Ohio State is, the NCAA tournament isn't played on the road. The bad: they're not likely to be a one seed when they enter the Big Bracket.

OSU fell to 22-5 Saturday night -- all five of those scratches coming in road games -- when Columbus-bred superstar Michigan freshman Trey Burke cataylzed a 56-51 Buckeyes knock-off in Ann Arbor thanks to a couple of ridiculously tough floating layups in the final minute. Michigan's ascendance and Burke's superb year is another story for another time, perhaps even a post for tomorrow. What a nice home win for them tonight, one that should cement Michigan, at worst, as a five seed.

Ohio State's stumble is the bigger story, though. There's plenty of flux around college basketball's soft bubble right now. Teams like Southern Miss, Illinois, Connecticut, Mississippi State and North Carolina State are giving away games like flowers at a funeral. It's bad over there, but uncertainty abounds elsewhere, too.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Ohio State's gotten wobbly on the one line. It's behind Michigan State now, clearly, and Kansas, UNC and Duke (in that order) are starting to cluster with the Buckeyes. Where they fall in the S-curve is a discussion we're better off waiting for until the end of Sunday's games, but in no way does OSU look like or deserve a one seed as of tonight. Additionally, OSU's 10-4 record and head-to-head loss against the Spartans (rematch coming on March 4 season finale -- in East Lansing) means Tom Izzo's team can take command of the conference if it can win at 17-9 Purdue on Sunday.

Ohio State never had the lead against Michigan, so it goes without saying -- yet here I am, saying it -- that the Buckeyes lacked a dominant look Saturday night. It's something that's been evident with this team ever since I wrote this. Many writers are quick to link back to work that makes them look good. Me? I'm an idiot, as many a commenter on this site has attested to. That link there is the latest example, as a reminder. Though I will follow that up by saying I hedged my bet in the post by stating OSU had to have wins over MSU and Michigan to remain in UK's class. Obviously, the test was failed and Kentucky looks leaps better than Thad Matta's team as of now.

The Buckeyes are still an extremely good team (still the best statistical defense against a decent schedule), but recent results and patterns of play suggest they aren't a great one. It's going to take a table run in the regular season and, minimally, a Big Ten title game appearance against someone who isn't Michigan State in order for OSU to earn the right to the one seed back.

It's clear this team lacks the depth, weapons and foul discipline it had a year ago. Only now is it catching up to them nationally.
Posted on: February 15, 2012 1:31 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 3:30 pm
 

OSU's Ross latest to go off on Twitter, apologize

By Gary Parrish

LaQuinton Ross deleted the Tweet and apologized pretty quickly.

But by then, as is almost always the case in this fast-paced world, the damage was done.

"Don't know how much longer I can take this BULL----!!!!!" Ross Tweeted, and I think it's reasonable to assume "this BULL----" was in reference to the fact that Ohio State coach Thad Matta didn't play Ross Tuesday night for the fifth straight game. Elite recruits don't like sitting the bench, you know? But Ross' comments are also interesting in a larger scope, because they come just a few days after Maryland guard Terrell Stoglin Tweeted his displeasure with Mark Turgeon's decision to bench him in crucial minutes.

I don't care whether Matta and Turgeon are right or wrong.

That's not the point.

The point is that athletes must learn, sooner or later, that Tweeting something in the year 2012 is no different than saying something into a microphone held by Clark Kellogg. It's all for public consumption. I hear your thoughts when you say them live on CBS. I read your thoughts when you Tweet them to your followers -- if only because your followers RT them and those thoughts find me somehow, in this case via an email from our Ohio State Rapid Reporter.

Bottom line, don't be stupid.

If you're an athlete at a high-profile school -- you know, like Ohio State, which just so happens to be ranked sixth nationally -- you need to ask yourself one question before Tweeting anything: Would I say these words into a microphone with a television camera in my face? If the answer is a negative, don't hit "send." Because if you do, you'll look silly. And then you're just gonna end up deleting the Tweet and subsequently apologizing, at which point you'll look even sillier than you did before.
Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:30 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 10:33 am
 

Podcast: CBS Sports Net's Wally Szczerbiak joins

Tom Izzo is doing it again. Think about it, if MSU gets a one seed, shouldn't he get Coach of the Year? (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander


OK, for a day, for one podcast, no writers. I had to get someone who's actually played the game to come on and give a different perspective. That man is CBS Sports Network analyst Wally Sczcerbiak. (My boss, and Miami University alumnus, Eric Kay, is so thrilled right now. This podcast's for you, man.) 

Wally's new to Twitter and would appreciate your follow, so go ahead and give him a click. Enjoy the pod. It's a breeze.
 
On the docket:
  • From the beginning: If he had a good knee, how many points would Wally average in college today?
  • 3:35: Which current hoops player does Wally think most resembles his game?
  • 4:30: It's been 13 years since Wally played college hoops. I ask him to compare the eras and say which one is better.
  • 6:15: Kentucky as the clear-cut top team, it's a talking point that's picking up steam. But Syracuse is 1A, and a strong 1A.
  • 9:34: Tom Izzo and coaching and the common threads between the best basketball coaches. I also ask him to pick his coach of the year, given only the optino of Izzo and Frank Haith. Is that a hedge I hear from Wally?
  • 16:25: The results that stood out the most to Wally from over the weekend. There is mid-major love to be handed out.
  • 18:52: Since Wally's been a part of so many teams and played basketball for so long, I took the opportunity on this podcast to get his perspective on things that most writers flatly can't interpret the same way. At this point, I ask him what February feels like and how teams stay on message without looking ahead ot March.
  • 23:36: Think you might be a little surprised with Wally's take on conference tournaments.
  • 26:45: We wrap up things with a couple teams Wally and I are high and low on. He doesn't hold back with his Baylor and Perry Jones III critiques, which is refreshing to hear.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast--whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Wally, Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.


Get CBSSports.com College Basketball updates on Facebook   

Posted on: February 8, 2012 11:56 am
Edited on: February 8, 2012 12:34 pm
 

Buckeyes still aren't too far behind the Wildcats

Sure, Ohio State might not be AS good as Kentucky right now, but they're not that far behind. (Getty Images)

By Matt Norlander

Let's not go lose ourselves in the moment.

Let's not say Kentucky's better than everyone else right now by a significant margin. I know a lot of you want to. I know many want the two or three really big, really easy, really fun storylines to push and discuss and squeeze the sport into an easy, five-minute conversation. But to say Kentucky is indisputably hovering over the landscape is premature. College basketball still has another one-loss team in Syracuse, after all. But I'm not even going to address the Orange right now. They're good, and I likely won't think any less of them tonight, should they lose to rival Georgetown.

Ohio State is the one I've got my eye on. You know, the team who also has a player-of-the-year candidate, multiple future pros and a defense that's better than anyone's, statistically, in the country. The Buckeyes absolutely deserve inclusion into the club -- not that they ever were unworthy enough to get kicked out. In the wake of Kentucky's cruise-control win over Florida last night, and surely with commentary cooking in the oven right now, you'd be easily led to believe college hoops' hierarchy looks like this:

Kentucky

--

Syracuse
Ohio State
Missouri
North Carolina
Baylor
Kansas

--

Fill in the rest

In reality, it's more like this:

Kentucky
Syracuse
Ohio State

--

The rest

Right now, that's the fair configuration. If you wanted to put Missouri in the top group, I wouldn't argue all that much, either. Remember, when it comes to Ohio State, we're talking about a team that's the best in points per possession defense. Kentucky, known for its D with Anthony Davis, actually has moved into the best offense, surpassing Missouri. Ohio State: No. 1 in adjusted defense, No. 9 in adjusted offense. Kentucky: Tops in offense, No. 7 in D. There's not that much difference between the two right now.

The Buckeyes allow .84 PPP, tied with Wisconsin for tops in the country. In KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency, tOSU is still tops, even after a miserable defensive performance against Purdue. It was in the mid-.70s until Purdue went on a 3-point bonanza at Value City Arena Tuesday night. Ohio State forces more turnovers and gives it away less, too.

I do think Kentucky's better than Ohio State. I was the only one here at CBS HQ who picked UK to win it all in the preseason, and I've never wavered on that. But I think OSU belongs on the same shelf right now. The Buckeyes have one of the best defenders in college basketball, too. For all that Anthony Davis does to block and alter shots (by the way, Davis is the most efficient offensive player in the nation. Ridiculous.), Aaron Craft causes as much havoc lower to the floor. Seriously: check the stats and see how much damage he does. He's the compact, scarlet-and-gray version of Davis for OSU's D.

Also, take a look at the overall strength of schedule, Ohio State: 34. Kentucky: 71. And UK, as many have pointed out, still has road games against the SEC's best remaining. We're cruising into mid-February and it's great to see these teams mold into their true selves, but we've still got lots of ball to see. To say Kentucky definitively lifted itself above the riffraff last night is premature. In time, they can, and in a way, I hope they do, because I love domination in sports. It creates polarity and polarity drives interest.

The good news is, I think we get a real verdict on this in the coming two weeks. Ohio State gets Michigan State at home this weekend, then goes to Minnesota and Michigan. It needs to win all three to remain elite, most likely. Kentucky has Vandy on the road Saturday, then gets Mississippi State in Starkville on Feb. 21.

If there's this desire to make Kentucky College Basketball's Great Team, why can't we extend that to two, three or four other teams? All have viable cases at the moment.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 8, 2012 10:32 am
 

Podcast: Kentucky now a cut above?

Once again, Duke vs. UNC tonight. But Duke's loss at home to Miami has tempered the anticipation for this game. (AP)

By Matt Norlander


After last night's Florida-Kentucky game, Parrish settled into the Gators' locker room and taped this podcast. Goodman was at his home, and I was just happy the connection stayed strong.

We've got a consistent, basketball-heavy edition of the pod today. Normally that's not always the case, with Parrish, Goodman or myself tossing in some non-hoops stories. Actually, that eventually happens too, but this one stays on message for most of the 36 minutes we talk.
 
The obvious topics:
  • From the beginning: After the way Kentucky won so convincingly, and how Ohio State barely got by Purdue, is it now that UK is on a shelf higher than other teams? I say no, but Goodman and Parrish disagree.
  • 8:00: The first segment is more Kentucky and Florida. This is the Ohio State talk.
  • 13:20: Parrish will be at tonight's Duke-UNC game, which doesn't have the urgency it's had in the past. Duke is coming off that loss to Miami, and a double-digit fall to UNC wouldn't be shocking at all.
  • 15:44: Somehow we get into Las Vegas, ATM, strip club stories. If I don't run this ship tightly then it stands to get really, really sketchy territory.
  • 18:20: Back on topic with Duke.
  • 22:00: We address UConn and The guys also hammer UConn for its incredible fall as of late. Goodman puts Calhoun in a wheelchair while coaching.
  • 27:00: In other news, Memphis is headed to the Big East. Why is that really good for Memphis, really good for the Big East and not all that great for Memphis coach Josh Pastner?
  • 32:00: You think we can end this on a graceful note? Of course we can't.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast--whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.


Get CBSSports.com College Basketball updates on Facebook   

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com