Our Bracket Breakdown gets a little close to home…
The South Region is of some interest to us since that is Ohio State’s “Region”. It also has a few other top-rated teams such as Florida, Kansas, UCLA and Syracuse. Whoever emerges from this Region has a legitimate chance to be in the Finals and possibly win it all.
Rather than go through game-by-game in the Region, I’ll focus on five (5) topics; 1) the team likely to win region, 2) the region’s Cinderella team, 3) team most likely to be upset, 4) who is region’s unheralded player and 5) my Elite 8 picks. Envelopes, please…
Regional Favorite: Florida is my choice to win this Region. The Gators haven’t lost a game since December 2nd, and it’s unlikely they lose this week, until possibly the Finals. They are a well-balanced team, play decently on offense, but are a top notch defensive team. In their last 14 games, dating back to February 1st, they have allowed less than 60 points in 7 of them. A capable offense and a tough defense will carry this team to the Final Four.
Cinderella: The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks could be wearing the Glass Slipper, at least until midnight. They aren’t rated well (RPI 55, SOS 315) but they come in as the #12 seed against VCU and the Rams are only a 6 point favorite. They have a decent defense and are efficient of on offense (1.16 PPP). And, a #11/#12 seed moving on is not unheard of; just ask VCU. Read More
In a week full of surprises, this is a pretty good soundtrack for your Monday morning reading.
Sometimes life gives you some unexpected gifts. You’re set up on a date to be a wingman for a friend who’s girl has a cousin in town, and you end up in an amazing marriage together. You open a book and find an old letter from a friend that you’d forgotten about. A seldom worn jacket has cash in the pocket. Mowing the grass reveals a dog you’d forgotten you had. You let a friend borrow your truck and he has it detailed while he’s got it.
On second thought, that last one probably means that he used it to transport a body or something. Let’s move on.
This week in college football was like that- on paper, there weren’t any marquee “games of the century”. But, as we know, games aren’t played on paper- instead the tiny men who square off in our TV sets gave us some fantastic finishes and an incredible weekend of sports.
Let’s start in the B12… We give Charlie Weis and the Jayhawk program a lot of well deserved grief hereabouts, so I’ll be among the first to celebrate their win over the couch fire that has become the West Virginia program. It’s hard to say that Coach Holgorsen might be in a bit of a rebuilding year, but it’s certainly difficult to see the Mountaineer program fall so quickly from the tops of the conference.
That’s not to take anything away from Kansas- great win, gang. However, let’s not get all carried away, shall we?
Ohio State fans are certainly well aware of the Baylor Bears, who now are poised to jump the Buckeyes in the “we’re still totally making this up as we go” BCS standings. Baylor continued their undefeated season with a big win over Texas Tech on Saturday, a Raiders team that was a media darling following a soft early season schedule, but has now dropped four straight games. What the #narrative won’t tell you as they tout Baylor’s 63-34 win is that the Bears were trailing 20-7 in the first quarter. But hey… shiny!
With all the firepower that the Bears bring to the table one of the surprises is that it was Tech that gave us our first “catch of the week” nominee. For another angle, check this out:
Interestingly enough, the B12 also brings us the hit of the week, which was 100% targeting. It’s a Vine, but check out the shot that this trooper puts on this fan who decides that he wants to be a part of the action… If only Stoops’ team had tackled that well against Baylor. Read More
If you’re following us on the book of face, you know that I made it back from my trip to Mt. Whitney last week- when you’d usually be reading SBP, I was at 14,508 ft, as the picture to the right can attest. It’s Buckeye Nation everywhere, people.
To celebrate, today’s soundtrack is a personal favorite… And I’ll include a few more photos/notes from the trip at the end of this post.
Have you filled out your brackets for the Tournament Challenge yet? Here’s our last take on the regional matchups.
The South Region is chock full of talent and it could make an argument for being the toughest out of all four regions. It could also be anyone’s to win headed to the Final Four with a four seed taking the prize in that team we don’t like to call by name. This could be the year that everyone has dreaded and we actually see an All-B1G Final Four. Let’s get started.
Favorite-As much as I want to see an All-B1G Final Four and will pick that team as one of my two to leave the South, Kansas is the favorite here. Since the dismantling of the Buckeyes early in the season they have made a strong debate among who the other #1 seed was really going to be. Duke’s faltering down the stretch, yet again, really opened the door. I said early in the year that my two dark horses to win it all were Kansas and Arizona. We shall see what they have in the Sweet Sixteen when they square off against you know who.
Cinderella- Shaka’s team can no-longer be a cinderella, they are like Gonzaga and Butler when it comes to big-time respect and they are getting it. My cinderella here is an easy pick for me because a kid I have known all through his middle and high school years, who graduated with my two kids, and is a special player, is Chase Fieler from FGCU. This team has the makings of a very special team and the coach to get them there. They upset Miami early in the season and their reward for it and making the dance is Georgetown? They didn’t get a good enough look from the committee because they were a 12 seed easily. I look for these high flyers to make some noise. Read More
The Bucks and Jayhawks met for the third time in a little over a year, but it resulted in the exact same result as before. A tough, hard-fought battle ended with the Buckeyes coming up short by a final of 74-66. Kansas’s Ben McLemore led all scorers with 22 for the game, and was joined in double digits by Elijah Johnson (13), Jeff Withey (12), and Travis Releford (11). The Buckeyes were led by DeShaun Thomas’s 16 and Shannon Scotts 15.
It was very clear through the first half that the Buckeyes were struggling with the height of the Jayhawks. The Buckeyes spent the majority of the half looking for long and mid-range jumpers rather than attacking the basket. Defensively, while Ravs and Williams did a decent job limiting Withey’s touches, they seriously struggled when Withey managed to get the ball. At the half, the game was a lot closer than it actually felt like it should be.
The Buckeyes struggled in the second half hitting baskets from the floor. In fact, with 9 minutes to go in the game, the Buckeyes had shot 2/17 in the second half all told. The only reason they remained in the game was a combination of free throw shooting along with some poor shooting and decision making from Kansas. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to last. When the Buckeyes finally began to collect a couple field goals, Kansas also finally began to take control. Before the Buckeyes could blink, Kansas had a double digit lead. OSU used the typical trick of fouling to stretch the clock, and began to bring the lead under control, but it was far too little too late.
This is yet another good learning lesson game for a team that is still working to find the answers in the shooting game. What defines this team is the fact that they have lots and lots of guys that could be a hot scorer on any given night. Unfortunately, they don’t have a guy that is a hot scorer on every given night. Nor do they have a dominant presence in the paint to easily help open up looks outside. This is a problem that will plague this team all year, so don’t expect a quick fix.
Number Seven Ohio State. Number Nine Kansas. Is there really more that needs to be said?
Joining us as usual are the other members of the Buckeye Blogger Network. Make sure to stop by their place and say, “hey”: Buckeye Ninja, Our Honor Defend, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, Buckeye Empire, The Buckeye Blog, Unscripted Ohio, and Fox Sports Ohio.
The Liveblog will tip around 3:30 PM EST, with the Basketball game starting at 4:00 on CBS… Hello, Clark Kellogg!
Eight months ago, Ohio State’s men’s basketball team left the floor in New Orleans after a 64-62 loss to Kansas in the Final Four knowing that it gave one away.
There is no doubt about it, since that game on March 31, Ohio State has been looking forward to its rematch with the Jayhawks on Saturday.
Jared Sullinger and William Buford are gone for the Buckeyes, Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor for the Jayhawks. But what remains are a core of Ohio State players who want nothing more than to stick it to the team that ended its chance for a national championship.
Kansas is one of the all-time great college basketball programs. It is right up there with Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Indiana. Historically, Ohio State may not be on that level, but the Buckeyes can hold their own. Let’s take a look at the tale of the tape between these two top ten teams:
|All Time Wins||1,529 (36th)||2,070 (2nd)|
|National Championships||1 (1960)||3 (1952, 1988, 2008)|
|Program’s Leading Scorer||Dennis Hopson (2,096)||Danny Manning (2,951)|
Kansas will come into its game against the Buckeyes with a 9-1 record on the season with its only loss being a three point defeat on a neutral floor to Michigan State.
Freshman guard Ben McLemore leads the Jayhawks in scoring this year with 15.9 points per game. He wasn’t a part of that Kansas team a year ago that fell to Kentucky in the national championship game.
Someone who was, though, was center Jeff Withey. The seven footer is averaging 14 points and eight rebounds on the year to go along with 5.4 blocks per game.
He’s a dominant interior defender, so Evan Ravenel and Amir Williams’ ability to neutralize the play of Withey will be a huge key for Ohio State. Ravenel has played great of late, so he could wind up having a huge impact on this game.
Two great college basketball programs playing in a hostile environment. A little bit of revenge will be on the minds of all Buckeye fans.
Is this March already?
Everything is sort of quiet around the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, the holidays are almost here. Since hindsight is 20/20, let’s look back on 2012. Who’s ready to rumble?
The 2012 story didn’t begin on January 1, 2012. Of course, so much had already happened up to that point that I would be remiss without first going back to November 29, 2011 when the hiring of Urban Meyer as the next head coach at Ohio State became official. With that, we also have to think back to December 22nd of 2011, the day the sanctions prohibiting the Buckeyes from playing in a bowl game after the 2012 season, reducing scholarships and prohibiting Ohio State from competing in the Big Ten Championship game was announced.
“Gator don’t play…”
2012 started out with a trip to something called the Tax Slayer dot com Gator Bowl where the Buckeyes squared off with? Of course it had to be Urban Meyer’s old team, the Florida Gators. In a game that was quite honestly hard to watch, the Buckeyes fell 24-17. Unfortunately it was a game that didn’t feel like it was winnable in the end despite the mere seven point deficit. The good news from that day was that on the next day, January 2nd the Gators former boss officially took the wheel driving the Buckeye football program.
Anticipation and predictions
We waited all spring and through a long dry summer to finally see what Urban Meyer’s offense with Braxton Miller at quarterback would look like once it actually came to fruition on the field. Preseason speculation saw the Buckeyes picked to win anywhere from 7-10 games. With the Big Ten being in another of its string of down years, it wasn’t too farfetched to think the Buckeyes could be 10-2 or even 9-3. I think the consensus among people closest to the program were that road games at Michigan State and Wisconsin seemed like stumbling blocks for a young team. I think most thought Nebraska at Ohio Stadium would be a toss-up considering all that Nebraska had returning from 2011. Naturally, we all know anything can happen in The Game.
The first quarter against Miami… Read More