2014 Big Ten Conference Preview: West Division

Written June 30th, 2014 by Patrick
Not content to only preview Ohio State’s schedule, Patrick is taking a two part look at the B1G for 2014. Here’s a look at the newbies and our Western Division brethren; after lunch the East gets due scrutiny in addition to the championship game predictions.

Motivation Fuel

When the dust settled on the 2013-14 season, the B1G had a Rose Bowl champion and……another bad bowl record as a conference.

Michigan State and Nebraska were the lone winners (Rose and Gator Bowls respectively) and the conference was 2-7 overall. Yet even after that showing, many pundits feel like the B1G is poised to be a top tier conference this season. When the season opens, they will more than likely have two top 10 teams (Michigan State and Ohio State) as well as a slew of others ranked in the top 25.

The B1G welcomes two new members this season as well. Maryland and Rutgers will make their football debuts in 2014. The B1G received a ton of criticism for the recent additions. Other conferences such as the SEC are adding schools like Texas A&M and Missouri while many people feel the B1G adding “schedule padders” for football. What people won’t tell you is that these two schools gets the B1G into markets (Washington DC and New York) that they haven’t been in since its inception.

The non conference schedules for a lot of the B1G schools is very very good this season. Defending champion MSU will travel west to Eugene, Oregon to take on the Ducks, Ohio State welcomes Va Tech into Columbus, Wisconsin takes on LSU in Houston, Nebraska travels to Fresno for a battle with Fresno St and then back home the following week to take on the Miami Hurricanes, Michigan will try to avenge a loss to Appalachian St (did I really just type that) as well as take on Notre Dame for the last time and welcome the Utes of Utah to Ann Arbor, and Minnesota will travel to Texas to battle TCU. The B1G as a conference will need a lot of wins from these non conference tilts in order to gain some respect from the rest of the country and the national media

2014 will also mark the first year of new conference alignment. Gone are the awful Leaders and Legends divisions and we finally get a traditional East/West divisions.

*2014 will also mark the 3rd year that Penn State will be ineligible for post season play.

2014 WEST PREVIEW

Even though the B1G divided up the divisions by east/west location, many feel the west is by far the weaker of the two. Nebraska and Wisconsin should battle for the next few years for the west crown with little challenge. Read More

Around the Diamond: B1G Tournament Recap

Written May 26th, 2014 by Gary Russell II

With the Ohio State softball team’s season coming to end it put the baseball team on center stage this past week.  Unfortunately the men weren’t able to showcase ther talents very long after dropping the first two of the of the B1G Tournament bringing their rollercoaster season to an end.  Ohio State opened up the tournament on Wednesday against host Nebraska with a 7-6 loss.  The Buckeyes followed that up with a 6-5 loss to 3-seed Illinois on Thursday.  Let’s take a look at the highlights:

5/21: OSU 6, Nebraska 7

Things looked good early for the Buckeyes as they jumped out to a big lead in the fourth inning.  With the bases loaded, Aaron Getz knocked in two runs with a double down the left field line.  Craig Nennig then followed up a with a successful squeeze bunt moving the score to 3-0.  After a wild pitch, RBI singles by Ronnie Dawson and Troy Kuhn made the score 6-0 in favor of the Bucks.

Nebraska then cut the lead in half in the fifth.  Back to back singles by Ben Miller and Steven Reveles started the inning.  An RBI double by Jake Placzek made the score 6-1.  Miller was able to score on a close play at the plate when Michael Pritchard grounded back to the mound putting the score at 6-2.  A shot past Ohio State shortstop Nennig by Pat Kelly scored Placzek and leaving the Cornhuskers trailing 6-3 after five. Read More

OSU clamps down, wins on road

Written February 15th, 2014 by Scott

Stingy defense and a 20-6 spurt in the second half allowed the Ohio

Thad Matta rallied the troops at halftime

Thad Matta rallied the troops at halftime

State Buckeyes to overcome an ugly first half and beat host Illinois 48-39 on Saturday.

A sellout crowd of 17,200 fans, many of whom were dressed like empty seats at game’s end, watched as Aaron Craft scored 14 points to lead the OSU effort. LaQuinton Ross added 9 and Marc Loving 8 as OSU improved to 20-6 overall and 7-6 in the B1G.

The spurt in the second half included eight straight points that helped OSU turn a 23-20 halftime deficit into a 36-29 lead midway through as the Buckeyes, who played for long stretches without the foul-plagued Craft, won at Illinois for the first time since 2011.

Loving was a spark in the second half, scoring all of his points, as was Ross, who hit a couple of early baskets to help erase the lead. The defense held Illinois to just 16 second-half points.

OSU was up 12 late in the game and heading for a blowout, but a lucky banked-in 3-point shot and some shaky free-throw shooting helped Illinois (14-12, 3-10) cut it to five with under a minute left. But Shannon Scott and Craft each nailed a pair of free throws to settle down OSU and ice the victory. Read More

BBN Basketball Liveblog: Illinois Part 2

Written February 15th, 2014 by Eric

Following the rather disappointing loss to Michigan, the Buckeyes have to hit the road again to take on the Fighting Illini.

The game is set to tip at 8pm eastern time this evening. You’ll be able to see the game on the Big Ten Network.
Read More

Ohio State Dominates Illinois 90-64

Written January 30th, 2014 by Charles

Ameryst Alston scored a career high 31 points in the OSU blowout win.

Ameryst Alston scored a career high 31 points in the OSU blowout win.

Ohio State came into tonight’s game against Illinois with a 13-10 (3-4 in the Big Ten) record.  As suggested by their record, conference play had been very up and down for the Buckeyes who were coming off a tough loss to Michigan State where OSU got out to a nice early lead only to lose the lead thanks to a scoring drought partway through the first half that they couldn’t overcome.  Despite their up and down season, OSU is currently projected as a 12 seed in the ESPN’s most recent NCAA tournament projection thanks to their top ranked strength of schedule and four wins over RPI top 50 teams.

The game got off to a poor start for Ohio State as Illinois hit back-to-back three pointers in the first minute and a half as the Illini scored the first 8 points of the game.  Even when OSU finally got their offense going, the Illini hit another pair of three pointers to extend their lead to 16-5 less than five minutes into the game.  At this point Kevin McGuff switched up the Buckeye defense, changing to a 3-2 which resulted in the Buckeyes getting out on the Illinois shooters better.  OSU then started taking advantage of Illinois missing some shots and started to force some turnovers which sparked an 18 to 3 run by the Buckeyes that gave them a 23-19 lead at the midpoint of the first half.  A technical foul on the Illinois coach seemed to wake up the Illini who started to hit shots again to tie the game at 28 with just under eight minutes remaining in the half.  A pair of free throws by Martina Ellerbe and an old fashioned three point play by Raven Ferguson put the Buckeyes back on top and OSU continued their surging for the rest of the half on the way to a 47-35 lead at intermission.

Read More

BBN Basketball LiveBlog: Illinois

Written January 23rd, 2014 by Eric

The Buckeyes are back in Columbus this evening to play host to John Groce’s Illinois Fighting Illini. The game is a matchup of two teams that have both lost 4 straight in Big Ten play, so everyone will be trying to right the ship this evening.

While you wait, go swing by these excellent articles by Jeff and Ken on the current state of the OSU Men’s basketball team. I promise they’ll make you feel less terrible about the current run.

The game is scheduled to tip at 7 PM Eastern time on ESPN. Swing by and chat with all of your favorite Buckeye bloggers and friends! Go Bucks!

Pick ‘em: The last week?

Written November 28th, 2013 by Scott

It’s the last week of the regular season and just like when we started our pick ‘em we are tied.

Big-10-logoLast week’s dud by Gary allowed me to tie it up. I was sooooooo close to taking Iowa over Michigan but I didn’t want to risk it.

Oops.

Gary went 3-3 last week, picking OSU, Sparty and Whiskey correctly, while whiffing on TTUN, Purdon’t and Penn State. The only difference with my picks was that I took Illinois over the Boilerstinkers.

Hey, I know when a team is really bad. I’m a Cubs fan.

So this week we have six games.

SPOILER ALERT: We will have to have a tiebreaker next week.

Gary and I have picked the same on all the games. We are taking Ohio State, Nebraska, Sparty, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Indiana.

No matter how you slice it, we are going to end up tied. I really, really tried to pick one game against Gary. But I couldn’t find one where I felt even remotely comfortable. Gary didn’t want to take any chances either.

Soooooooooooooooooooo, we will look ahead to next week where there are eight games we will use as our tiebreaker. And total points in the B1G title game will serve as the ultimate tiebreaker. IF we both pick the same number of points, I don’t know what to tell you.

Beer chugging contest? Jagerbombs?

Maybe we will take suggestions from our readers.

Standings heading into final week:

Gary and Scott: 26-13

The Week That Were: 11.23.13

Written November 25th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

Happy Thanksgiving week! Here’s a little music to get you ready for Thursday… and another ditty to prep you for Saturday.

Yowzers

One Of Those Days

You know what’s interesting about college sports? Call it “the circle of life”, call it “karma” (j/k, don’t do that) call it “Brent Musberger’s Vegas Connections”, but the fact is that things just seem to work themselves out.

In spite of efforts to create story lines and “narrative”, teams win and teams lose and everyone gets to play in a bowl. Well, almost everyone.

It’s like I’ve been saying all season- “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” Play well, win the game you’re in, and let the chips fall where they may.

Sure, it’s great that you’re averaging a metric bucketload of points every week, but when you don’t hit that target what will you do? Case in point: Texas A&M, Oregon, and Baylor combined for 41 points in their three losses. yesterday. That’s less than Oregon and Baylor were each averaging per game.

As the prophet said, “Everyone’s got a plan until they get hit in the mouth”.

The Ducks went down in spectacular fashion, giving Rich Rodriguez a home upset of a nationally ranked team that will surely a) earn him an extension and b) give Michi1gAAn fans eternal heartburn. Not only did Mariotti throw his first interception of the year in the game as a result of that great play you see above, but he then tossed his second on the way to a 42-16 loss in Tuscon. It’s not that the Ducks were without flash and sizzle… it’s just that they never found a rhythm and were unable to play Stanford football.

That Kind Of Night

One Of Those Nights

Baylor came into Stillwater not having won there in forever… and left the same way. The nation’s top offensive team was unable to deal with the different looks that TBPU gave them, and struggled to get their high octane offense going.

In addition, their vaunted defensive front didn’t create any consistent pressure or stop Oklahoma State’s bigger specialists from making play after play.  I guess the Lord helps those who help their Chelf.

Helmet sticker goes to the “turf monster”, though, who seemed to be the leading tackler for both teams.  He also made a big play by interfering with a Baylor snap late in the game to solidify the win for the up and coming Cowboy team.

As for Johnny Freaking Football, he and the Aggies continued their trend of underperforming against top competition. As our friend @FightOnTwist pointed out earlier in November, Manziel is an amazing quarterback, but his interceptions often lead to opposing teams’ scores; and other than the win in Tuscaloosa, he’s been pretty pedestrian versus teams that are nationally ranked.

Against LSU on Saturday, his one TD pass was coupled with only 1g completions and two interceptions as the Aggies fell again to LSU by a 34-10 score. I guess you could say he got beaten like a… well… yeah. Read More

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