If you were to take a look back at the December 10 - 2011 edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter you would see an episode full of coverage showing the University of Cincinnati’s Yancy Gates versus Xavier University’s Kenny Frease in what many might call the best Heavyweight Division fight of 2011 (no offense to the Klitschkos). The entire nation would point to that ‘Crosstown Throwdown’ as the news of the day.
Buckeye Nation would disagree.
That was a tough pill to swallow. We were highly ranked and had a mountain of expectations. We wanted to snap KU’s 46-game non-conference home winning streak, with or without Jared Sullinger. The post game tone from Buckeye Nation started and ended with, “We could have won that game with Sully on the court.”
No matter what, Ohio State’s season already a success
The Buckeyes are headed to New Orleans.
Left for dead a month ago by the national media and faced with sharp criticism from many fans (myself included) after a string of brutal late-season losses, Ohio State will travel south this week for its first Final Four since 2007. The Buckeyes, seeded number 2 in their region, knocked off top seed Syracuse 77-70 Saturday night.
It’s an impressive accomplishment. Syracuse, despite the loss of star center Fab Melo, is a talented team that improved their play through the first 3 rounds of the tournament. Unfortunately for the Orangemen, the Buckeyes were better. Ohio State played with the same team-driven, ruthless efficiency that they have for the entire month of March. The stars of the night on Saturday were Lenzelle Smith, Jr., who fought through three stitches above his eye to lead the team in scoring with 19 points, and Jared Sullinger, who was named the East region’s most outstanding player in the minutes following the Ohio State victory.
But the entire team deserves credit for the Buckeyes’ success. Despite Sullinger’s accolades, there’s no clear hero for Ohio State in the Tournament to date. Deshaun Thomas was quiet on Saturday, but was Ohio State’s leading scorer through the first three rounds. Aaron Craft has been, well, himself. William Buford hasn’t been good offensively, but his contributions on defense and on the boards are underrated.no comments
Spring ball is upon us! Something every Buckeye looks forward to once the excitement of March Madness is over. But this year there is another level of anticipation to the game that has the whole country a-buzz … Urban Meyer is calling the shots. His professional resume speaks for itself, but for a community that thrives on pride and tradition, there is one intangible quality that means much more to Buckeye Nation … a quality that our most beloved coaches in history (Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, Jim Tressel, etc.) all share with our new coach … they all bleed Scarlet and Gray!
For Coach Meyer, the source and continual fuel of that pride stems from his family. His wife and children were with him during every step of his career; for every victory; and through all the scrutiny. They weathered the highs and the lows and became closer and stronger because of it. Coach Meyer’s family values are vitally important to him. So when the decision was made to join our Buckeye family as the head football coach, the decision came from the entire Meyer family. Buckeye Nation should, and most certainly does, feel quite honored to have the entire Meyer family in our family!!
While we know about Urban Meyer the coach, Buckeye House Call thought it would be fun to get to know the Meyer sisters - and in February conducted a Q&A with his older daughter, Nicki. This month, I was given the honor of introducing Buckeye Nation to his second daughter, Gigi! And after talking to Gigi, not only am I fired up for Buckeye football, but I am deeply impressed with her character and her convictions. Two respectful, mature, proud, strong, accomplished, and independent daughters with very grounded perspectives on life. Definitely attributes to their parents and great additions to our family, as well. I think I speak for all of Buckeye Nation when I say, “Welcome to THE Ohio State!!”no comments
This one was hard to see coming.
Heading into the Elite Eight, Deshaun Thomas is suddenly the Buckeyes’ best hope for Tournament success. How did that happen?
A year ago, he was a nice player in theory. Other than his status as a former Indiana Mr. Basketball and four-star recruit, all Ohio State fans knew about him was that he was a talented young player who loved to score but not to play defense. His coach called him Shaun, promising to call him by his full name when he stepped up on D. Most believed him to be a potential star in the future, but nobody anticipated the trajectory his career has taken in the 2011-12 season.no comments
In my second edition of the Lost Legends of Buckeyes 101, I’m turning my focus to those Buckeyes who traded helmets and cleats for shorts and sneakers in Columbus. Ohio State has a rich basketball tradition that goes unnoticed even by the most ardent of Buckeye fans, and I will start to bring you more and more Buckeye basketball legends as well as their football counterparts as I continue my series of Lost Legends. So in honor of March Madness, here are three underappreciated but highly historic Buckeye ballers who truly left their mark in Columbus.
We start of this list with Jay Burson. Burson, a native of New Concord Ohio, starred on his High School basketball team, scoring an astounding 2,958 points in his four years at John Glenn High School in 1985. The scoring record he set would stand for almost twenty years before being broken by a more recent face to the Buckeye program (Jon Diebler) but would ultimately set the tone for his career in Columbus. An All-Conference selection his senior year, Burson would go on to net 1,756 points in his career on an average of 14.4 points per game. He led all Buckeyes in scoring his junior and senior years of 1988-89, and was also highly consistent from the free throw line with an 86.7 percent average. Jay then left Ohio State to play in the NBA for the Houston Rockets, followed by the CBA.no comments
When the final buzzer sounded and #13 Ohio had officially knocked off #4 Michigan, Buckeye Nation rejoiced – and Michigan fans immediately went on suicide watch.
It’s been no secret that Wolverines’ head football coach Brady Hoke, from day one, has refused to add the ‘State’ to the end of Ohio when referring to the Buckeyes. That alone had actual Ohio State fans celebrating when John Beilein and his Michigan hoops squad drew Ohio University in round of sixty-four of this year’s NCAA tournament. No doubt that the Wolverine faithful though ‘oh shit’ at the mere chance they might get upset by Ohio. Was it likely? Not at all. But the fear had to have been there.
And once reality set in that they were indeed going down ‘Ohio?’ Hard to tell – unless you scour the free online message boards and social media sites. They never fail to provide the real Pulse of a fan base. Only one word can describe the pre- and post-game scene and conversation: BEAUTIFUL.no comments
Pop quiz. Which Buckeyes team was better? The Diebler and Lighty-led 2010-11 squad? Or the talented, but flawed 2011-12 edition? The answer seems obvious at first glance. The 2011-12 Buckeyes are, indeed, a flawed team. They’ve lost seven games, some in ugly fashion, and enter the NCAA Tournament as a 2-seed. Last year’s team lost three, and came into March as the number 1 overall seed.
But what defines a college basketball team? The regular season matters, but only to a point. The objective of the regular season in most sports is to make it to the postseason. When the postseason features 68 teams and half of the conference your team plays in, the odds are good that an elite athletic program like Ohio State’s will be represented. That renders the regular season largely useless at worst, and predictive at best. Once you’re in to the Tournament, everything else is a warm up. What you do in March is what you’ll be remembered by.
Last year, Ohio State stumbled in the Sweet Sixteen. Fortunately for the Buckeyes, this year’s story isn’t written yet.
The best part is that there’s reason to believe it could turn out much, much better this year than last.no comments