The Buckeye hoops team dropped a tough one in East Lansing. Recruiting rankings were released and the Buckeyes are on a roll. My girlfriend is hotter than Kate Upton. Yeah, so what if we’ve only met on the internet?! What’s the worst that can happen? Let’s rumble!
The Rivals top 100
On Monday, the newest and last Rivals top 100 for 2013 was released. Among those 100, Urban Meyer’s coaching staff has received seven verbal commitments and is still waiting patiently for answers from two others. The most “top 100” players the Buckeyes have ever claimed were 8 commits in 2008. If either Vonn Bell (safety from Rossville, Georgia, ranked number 32) or Dontre Wilson (running back from Desoto, Texas, ranked number 100) commit to Meyer’s 2013 class it will match or exceed that ’08 record. I am a math genius.
The currently committed list includes the following:
#30 Mike Mitchell, LB from Plano, Texas
#35 Jalin Marshall, ATH from Middletown, Ohio
#39 Cameron Burrows, DB from Trotwood, Ohio
#47 Joey Boas, DE from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
#77 Ezekial Elliot, RB from St. Louis, Missouri
#89 Eli Apple, DB from Voorhees, New Jersey
#90 Evan Lisle, OL from Centerville, Ohio
The excitement on signing day (February 6th) will be the decisions of Bell and Wilson. Landing the duo would be a major coup for Meyer as Wilson has long been considered (by his own admission) a soon to be Oregon Duck. Bell lists the Buckeyes, Tennessee and Alabama as his favorites. To keep him out of the SEC, especially away from Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, would be huge.
The Buckeyes currently rank fourth by Rivals in the overall class rankings. They follow number one Florida, Notre Dame and Alabama respectively. Picking up Wilson and Bell should be enough to vault them past Alabama and Notre Dame into the number two overall spot after signing day is finished.
While those rankings and final player ratings do not technically stand for anything, I believe they do have an effect on future recruits. A lot of recruits pay close attention to the scores given by Rivals, Yahoo and some of the other recruiting sites. Don’t think for a minute that high school kids being told how great they are don’t want to be a part of teams filled with other kids who are being told how great they are. Perhaps in the past a player would want to go and play for the coach or team he grew up cheering for and watching, maybe even an edge would be given to the home town or home state team. Nowadays kids want to go somewhere glamorous no matter where it is and, maybe more importantly, they want to go with other players ranked as highly as them. Call it the “LeBron James-ification” of professional and college sports.
Trouble in East Lansing
The Buckeye hoops team went on the road Saturday night to East Lansing to play the Michigan State Spartans. Get a win in the Breslin Center against Tom Izzo’s gang green and the boys in scarlet and grey would have big time (including the Buckeyes win at home vs TTUN last Sunday) wins over the two Michigan programs in less than a week time. Unfortunately a last second shot attempt by Shannon Scott missed and the Buckeyes fell 59-56.
Once again Deshaun Thomas was spectacular leading all scorers with 28 points. It begs the question, again, who else is going to score when the Buckeyes need offense? I said last week and I’ll repeat it this week: I don’t know. Someone has got to become a threat with the ball in his hands.
I felt terrible for Shannon Scott after throwing up what confused many as a three point attempt with 3.9 seconds play. It was revealed in the post-game interviews that Scott was simply following orders. Let me explain: Trailing by three, head coach Thad Matta instructed his troops that if the Spartans attempted to foul (thus putting the Buckeyes on the free throw line forcing a make and then miss, rebound and score situation) whoever had the ball was to simply toss it toward the rim in hopes of either a three point foul attempt or possibly hitting the bucket. What Matta and the Bucks didn’t know was that Izzo instructed his players to foul only if Deshaun Thomas touched the ball. Izzo was not willing to give Thomas a three point shot to tie the game, anyone else he was willing to bet they wouldn’t hit it. Can you blame him? Once again, there is no other scoring threat on the team. Nobody to fear.
As Scott brought the ball down the floor he apparently was under the impression he was about to be fouled and therefore chucked the rock at the hoop. It was as awkward to watch as it sounds. The shot wasn’t even close, crashing off the side of the backboard, and the Spartans rebounded to close things out. Scott walked off the floor with his jersey over his face in embarrassment. He probably doesn’t read Wednesday Night Rumble, but if he did I’d tell him “Shake it off. It happens.”
The Buckeyes rebounded from the MSU loss with a 72-63 win at the Schottenstein center over Iowa. Their next two games are on Saturday at Penn State and then Tuesday at home against Wisconsin.
It seems everyone has a joke and an opinion on the Manti Te’o story. Here are some things I think that I think regarding Manti and his “girlfriend” situation:
First off, I believed that Te’o should have won the Heisman trophy and still do. If you’re a Heisman voter (I’m not) and you voted for Te’o but now say you wouldn’t, then your voting credential should instantly be revoked. My selection, like yours Mr. Heisman voter, was based on what we saw from September 1st through December 1st.
Secondly, how can a nationally known athlete at Notre Dame possibly be this stupid? You never actually met her? You didn’t attend her funeral or visit her when she was sick? There are only two possible conclusions: Manti Te’o was in on the scam and trying to gain from the sentiments that came from it, or he’s extremely gullible and probably believes that Batman will hunt down the person who “catfished” him and make him pay for his indiscretions. At this point, Manti had better be looking in the sky for the Bat Symbol because it will do irreparable harm to his image if he were somehow involved with this hoax.
Third, why didn’t Notre Dame come forward with this information immediately? They are claiming it was in the “best interest” of the teams in the National Championship game that the story remains quiet until after. Well I’m sorry, Notre Dame, but while that may be laced with good intentions it reeks of a cover-up. Should a proper investigation find that Te’o is lying or involved in any way, Notre Dame should have to pay a price for its silence, much like Jim Tressel and Ohio State or even Joe Paterno and Penn State were forced to pay. There was a lot gained from the impact that this story had on television viewers and Heisman voters. My own mother wanted Te’o to win the Heisman because “he deserves it after all he went through with his grandmother and poor girlfriend.”
So far the Irish brass has played it cool. They’ve supported Te’o and defended that he was hoaxed on a vigilant level. I’m not saying Manti is guilty of anything other than blatant stupidity or that Notre Dame is wrong for anything other than assuming they should get to decide when a story this huge is made public. But if Te’o was involved or he/they lied about when he found out and then held the story until after their putrid display in the biggest game the school has been in involved with in over thirty years, their need to be consequences and repercussions for the program. I’m thinking something like “Lack of Institutional Control” fits the bill.
I know that Te’o is going on television with Katie Couric on Thursday afternoon. I’ll want to believe him, but I think I’ll wait for all the facts to come out before deciding if I do or not.
Interesting notes from the Michigan State hoops game: The Buckeyes were down 13-2 at the 13:00 minute mark of the first half, 10-0 at one point early. They committed turnovers on five of their first ten possessions. Ohio State finished 8/13 at the free throw line. This was a beyond winnable game and never should have come down to the wire.
Buckeye class of 2013 recruit Trey Johnson actually dropped out of the Rivals top 100, falling from #86 where he was listed on the last ranking. He is now listed at #105.
The 7 current Rivals top 100 recruits for Ohio State equals the total of all other Big Ten teams. Penn State and TTUN each have three, Nebraska has one.
Head hoops coach Thad Matta received an extension to his contract and a pay raise. His deal now runs through 2019 and is worth 3.2 million, up from 2.9 million. He is now the second highest paid coach in the Big Ten behind Troll Izzo and his 3.6 mil.
Arron Craft passed Jay Burson as the all-time steals leader in Ohio State history during Tuesday night’s win over Iowa.
Wrap it up
It would be great to see Vonn Bell and Dontre Wilson sign with Ohio State. The 2013 recruiting class is turning out to be one of the best in a long time, and that’s impressive because the Buckeyes have had some great recruiting classes under Jim Tressel and John Cooper. And to think that this is only Urban Meyer’s first full season hitting the trail with a Block “O” on his on his jacket. And since I mentioned her…
Metallica track of the week
Let’s go back to the anniversary shows in San Francisco’s famous Fillmore auditorium. During the four 30th anniversary shows, many a special guest was brought on stage. Amongst names like Ozzy Osborne and Rob Halford, each night former bass player Jason Newsted was brought up to play a few classics. Here is Metallica with Jason Newsted performing Harvester of Sorrow!