2014 March Madness Bracketology: East Region

Written March 19th, 2014 by Scott

Have you turned in your brackets yet?image

Before you do, read this. I make no guarantees, but this will help you not finish last. Ethel the mail lady won’t read this. Let her finish last.
Like one of my favorite one-hit wonders we will Head East and preview the region nobody is really talking about.

That happens when the Midwest Region has all the best teams and somehow, the 1996 Bulls as well.

East games are in Raleigh, Spokane, San Antonio and Buffalo and finish at Madison Square Garden in The Big Apple.

Favorite: Virginia is the No. 1 seed on the strength of a regular-season and ACC tournament championship. The politicking  (reads: whining) about how good the ACC is by Coach K didn’t hurt either.
That’s how the conference ended up with a team in the First Four. Not a great team in my opinion but good enough to make it to New York because of the draw.

Adreian Payne will be tough for any team to guard.

Adreian Payne will be tough for any team to guard.

Michigan State is the sexy pick here. The Spartans did struggle at times in the regular season due to injuries, but they are healthy now and on a roll after winning the Big 10/11/12 Tournament.

Adreian Payne is a beast inside and Gary Harris makes the Spartans go at both ends. Tom Izzo knows how to coach in the NCAA Tournament as well.

In fact, this senior class is the only one that hasn’t been to a Final Four under Izzo. Don’t think for a second he hasn’t reminded them of that.

But I’m not convinced they are title bound as you will soon see.

Cinderella: Harvard upset New Mexico last year and there is almost always a 12-5 upset. Cincinnati was one of the best teams in the country for a stretch in the middle of the season, but they weren’t as good at the end.

Providence was uncomfortably on the bubble until the Friars won the Big East Tournament, likely knocking Xavier into the First Four. The No. 11 Friars are hot and could knock off No. 6 North Carolina, which is as hard to figure out as one of Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s string theories.

Either of those teams could win a couple games or more.

Most Likely to be an upset: In addition to the aforementioned Providence-UNC matchup, and perhaps Harvard, I would put my money on St. Joseph’s to knock off UConn. Granted it’s only a 7-10 game, and either team is a procedural bump away from being an 8 or 9 so it’s not much of an upset. But it is the Atlantic 10 beating the American Athletic Conference and let’s face it. We were talking about St. Joseph’s as a bubble team and potential First Four participant. The Hawks were seeded 38th overall, UConn 26th.

James Bell can score inside or hit a long-range jumper.

James Bell can score inside or hit a long-range jumper.

Unheralded Player: James Bell makes No. 2 Villanova go. He can jump out of any gym and is fun to watch in transition. He has good size at 6-foot-6 and can play a wing or mix it up inside. Bell has solid range from 3-point land as well. Scoring nearly 15 points a game and grabbing 6 rebounds he will have the ball in his hands a lot, especially late in a close game as he is an 81% free throw shooter.

Elite Eight Teams: As I mentioned, I’m not drinking the Green and White Kool-Aid. Someone will beat Sparty before they get to the regional final. I just have that feeling. That said, I like Virginia to make it, even though I think they are not one of the four best teams in the country. The other Elite Eighter is a team I have yet to mention: Iowa State.

Kind of like the San Antonio Spurs, the Cyclones quietly go about their business without much fanfare, although winning the Big 12 title in Kansas’ backyard was impressive and certainly made other teams take notice. Conference player of the year Melvin Ejim scores a ton and he will need to because Iowa State is horrible at defense, like 272nd nationally horrible. Despite that, I like them to play the Cavaliers in the Garden.

Should be an interesting regional final.

Buckeyes top Sparty, get No. 5 seed

Written March 9th, 2014 by Scott

They’ve been ranked as high as No. 3 in the country and have felt the pains of being unranked and unimpressive.

But now the Ohio State Buckeyes have a signature win and some momentum heading into the Big Ten Tournament.

Michigan State’s Gary Harris missed a jumper as time expired and OSU came from behind to beat the Spartans 69-67 at Value City Arena on Sunday.

Ohio State said goodbye to seniors Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr., and had a chance to say hello to the No. 4 seed and a much-coveted bye in the upcoming B1g money-maker, uh, tournament, but Wisconsin ruined that idea by choking against Nebraska Sunday night.

So Ohio State gets the No. 5 seed and a matchup against Purdue on Thursday. The winner gets Nebraska, which likely earned an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. That winner gets top-seeded Michigan.

LaQuinton Ross scored 22 points and had five rebounds while Craft had 12 points, 7 assists and became the conference’s all-time steals leader to help OSU overcome a pathetic 19-of-31 effort at the free throw line, which almost cost OSU in the final seconds.

Adreian Payne led all scorers with 23 points while Harris had 12 and Denzel Valentine 11.

The Buckeyes improve to 23-8 and 10-8 in the B1G. MSU, the No. 1 seed in the tourney, is also 22-8 and is 15-4 in the B1G.

It was one of those games where it felt like Sparty should have been blowing away the Buckeyes at times, but could only manage a 7-point lead as the game’s biggest spread.

More than once OSU was down at least five points but didn’t let that deter them from winning on Senior Day.

OSU trailed 38-36 at the half but began the second half with a 6-0 run, which ultimately sparked the Buckeyes to a 44-39 lead with about 17:30 left. Michigan State quickly answered and took a 49-44 lead with 16:56 left on a pair of Harris 3-pointers, a Payne dunk off a Harris assist and a Travis Trice dunk.

That led to an OSU timeout with 15:16 left.

Harris hit a pair of free throws to increase the lead to 51-44 and a cap a 12-0 run.

Craft hit a pair of free throws to end the run and make it 51-46 with about 14 minutes left.

Harris then hit a long catch-and-shoot bucket to increase the lead back to seven with about 13 minutes left.

But OSU wasn’t done despite having no real go-to scorer.

Amir Williams made one of two from the line and a Ross 3-pointer cut it to 53-50 after the under-12 timeout. Trice missed a shot, the Buckeyes rebounded and after a foul at the other end and Shannon Scott hit a pair of free throws to cut it to one.

That caused Coach Tom Izzo to bring his starters back in the game as he was resting Branden Dawson, Valentine and Keith Appling.

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BBN Basketball Liveblog: Michigan State Part 2

Written March 9th, 2014 by Eric

The Buckeyes play their last regular season game of the year today, taking on the Michigan State Spartans in Columbus. This is the second meeting between the two teams, the first having ended in a Spartan victory in overtime in East Lansing.

The game is scheduled for 4:30 PM Eastern Time on CBS. Don’t forget spring forward was last night, so change your clocks accordingly. We look forward to chatting with you through the game! Go Bucks!

Silver Bullet Points Is Talking About Practice

Written March 5th, 2014 by MaliBuckeye

If they can celebrate The Answer in Philly, we can celebrate Spring with this great musical tribute that includes his most notorious catchphrase

Buckeye 411

  • Spring Has Sprung- Ohio State started spring practice on Tuesday, and will do so again on Thursday prior to the players taking off for Spring Break. There was a lot of media coverage, be sure to check out Josh Winslow’s photo gallery for all your “guys running around in helmets” needs.
  • Injury Updates- Devan Bogard, Evan Spencer, and Chase Farris will be missing from practice this spring as they recover/rehab.  James Clark and Braxton will also be limited- Brax has shoulder surgery this past week, but will still be running and participating in “mental drills” with every snap of the first team.
  • Also banged up? Jeff Heuerman broke his nose in a weight room incident of sorts, Curtis Samuel missed work due to a hamstring issue, and Eli Apple was not participating for reasons that weren’t made clear.
  • And Also- Coach Meyer had a procedure on Monday to deal with a cyst that was giving him headaches.  From reports, it sounded as if it’s something he’s been aware of and treating for quite some time.
  • Alas- It’s official: uber-Linebacker Mike Mitchell will not practice with the team this spring.
  • Old Face, New Space- A couple of position changes to be aware of: Chase Farris and Joel Hale both leave Coach Johnson’s legions to bolster the offensive line, and Cam Burrows has been slid back from corner to safety.
  • Deep, Man- The folks at the OZone grabbed these photos of Tuesday’s depth charts (offense and defense). The buzz at practice was Darron Lee’s move to the starting Will Linebacker- Coach Meyer in particular highlighted his ability to trigger to the ball and the work he’d put in over the off season.
  • n00bs- Raekwon McMillan saw a lot of reps at middle linebacker today, and those in attendance said that the freshman absolutely looked the part.
  • Speedsters- Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson turned heads with their jets, and Mike Thomas continues to impress. People also talked about Jeff Green, the Georgia Tech transfer- his size, hands, and speed will create problems for other teams this year. Troubled tight end Marcus Baugh also saw some significant action.
  • Numerology- If you’re into that kind of thing, there were a couple of number swaps today. Dontre is back to wearing #2 (his high school number), while the #1 jersey goes to Johnny Dixon. Stephen Collier takes the mantle of #13 from Smooth Jazz, while Raekwon will be sporting #5. Curtis Samuel in #4, Mike Thomas in #3, and Marcelys Jones at #64 wrap up the new “it’s not the players, it’s the jersey” allocations for this season.
  • Four Letter Network- They were in the house today, and if you haven’t boycotted them (as your humble correspondent has), you can check out some video hereabouts.
  • Night Moves? Some speculation that Ohio State’s trip to East Lansing this season, an early November tilt, will be a prime time game… one of the first for the B1G in November.
  • Floppy Haired President? I’m not sure what the rules are for non-American born student body presidents at Ohio State (kidding, it’s totally cool), but our favorite Italian seems to be gaining momentum at taking that position.  Now supported by the Lantern (sort of), his campaign includes making Troy Smith very happy by bringing In-N-Out to Columbus.  Check out the video here:

  •  Also Awesome?  Mekka Don’s new release!!! Check it out on Amazon and iTunes!

Other News

  • Well, Gee… Our favorite bow-tied former Buckeye (sorry Malcolm) was named the new president in Morgantown this week, after being the “interim” president for the past few months.  Well wishes to Dr. Gee… and I think I’m not the only one who’d love to see you have one more tour of duty in Columbus.
  • Ah, Jersey- Other than Springsteen and Tony Soprano, what has the Garden State ever really given America? You’ve got to think that the B1G is wondering that every week as the Rutgers financial situation becomes more and more clear.  But “NYC TV Market!!!” and so forth.
  • I Still Heart Rich Rod- Actor? Nope… but I love that he’s taking a shot:

And Finally-

Today’s my dad’s birthday. So, this is relevant (and may explain a few things):

Dad

Getting Parental with Silver Bullet Points

Written February 12th, 2014 by MaliBuckeye

For the second straight week we go all “in loco parentis” for SBP… here’s the soundtrack to match, from back in the day.  Or as I call it, “The Day”.

“No, the cat is a bit to the left…”

Buckeye 411

  • He’s Got That Going For Him- While Aaron would certainly trade both of these accolades for a win last night, it’s significant to note that #4 was awarded the B1G Player of the Week for last week’s efforts, as well as being named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches “Good Works” team for 2014.  Adjust your swoonage accordingly.
  • Get Your Tickets- Yup, what used to be free will now cost you- the Ohio State Spring Game (and LAX showdown with Michigan) will be a $20 at the door cost for fans this year. Scheduled for Saturday, April 12, the tickets can be purchased prior to the event for $12… a far cry from the “bring a can of food” admissions cost of the past.
  • More Awards- Former Buckeye (and we certainly could have used him against TTUN) Jared Sullinger was also awarded “Player of the Week” by the NBA on Tuesday for his play with the Celtics.
  • And Even More- Last week in this space we told you that Ohio State’s Zach Smith was named the B1G Recruiter of the Year by Scout- today he added the same award from the folks at Rivals. Pretty solid work… wonder who his grandpa is?
  • This Week In Parenting, Part One- Sounds as if Malik McDowell is still in the “deliberation” process with his family, and will be making unofficial visits to Ohio State and Florida State with his parents in order to make a decision- the family has targeted April 1 as their “selection date”.  Also, it sounds as if the most important aspect of this story is being resolved; the relationship between parents and their son.
  • SNAPPER!!! Ohio State offered a longsnapper today… one of the 5 star variety! W00t!!
  • Wrasslin’- The National Duals are in Columbus this year, and Ohio State has drawn Hofstra to kick things off
  • This Week In Parenting, Part Two- This is a great video about the legacy of one of our favorite player’s parents and a surrogate “father” for a lot of past and future Buckeyes: Read More

No, Michigan State Is Not Our New Rival

Written January 9th, 2014 by Jeff

“Michigan State is Ohio State’s new rival.”  This theme began around 11:30pm Tuesday night.

To be fair, rumblings of this new theme began long before the Spartans defeated the Buckeyes in overtime at the Breslin Center, but they began to emerge heavily after the scarlet and gray’s 72-68 defeat.

I reject this thought immediately. Michigan State is NOT our new rival. Ohio State has one rival, and only one rival.

Tradition dictates that the Michigan Wolverines are the lone rival to my alma mater, and their misfortunes of late do not knock them from the ranks of rivalry. (By “misfortunes of late”, I mean their football team being a steaming heap of dung throughout the entire 21st century. Boom, roasted.)

Michigan State is atop the Big Ten, and they earned it by knocking the Buckeyes from the ranks of the unbeaten twice in five weeks. I can accept that they are the champions in football and the current leaders in basketball. They’re a damn good team in both sports, and while I am not happy about it, there’s no denying it.

But I cannot and will not allow history and tradition to be rewritten over an excellent stretch of athletic competition.

To me, a rivalry requires more than wins and losses on a stat sheet. It takes decades of hatred, frustration, glory, and respect. Michigan State will never evoke those emotions the way Michigan does.

The Spartans are our chief competitors for the title. They are our most difficult opponents. They are our toughest struggle. But they are NOT our rival.

So what’s the difference between MSU and UM?

  • If I’m watching a pro sport and I see a player has played for MSU, it’s no big deal. “Oh, I remember Mateen Cleaves. He was great.” But if there’s a former Wolverine on the team, I’m immediately pulling for the other team (or a minor injury of some sort).
  • In 1998, Michigan State gave us our only loss and ruined a championship season. I can’t name more than one or two players from that Spartan team off the top of my head. But I can tell you exactly where I was when Michigan’s John Kolesar caught a game-winning pass against us in 1987, that traitorous sonofabitch.
  • If a Buckeye assistant coach were to take a job as Michigan’s head coach, we’d curse him until the day he died (Ex – Bo Schembechler). Meanwhile, Mark Dantonio roams the MSU sidelines without a harsh word from our fan base.
  • There isn’t a punk band in Columbus called the Dead Heathcotes.
  • Nobody knows how many days until we play MSU again. Maybe Jack Park knows, but the rest of us don’t. But I can tell you that it’s 324 days until “The Game” renews in Columbus.
  • Here’s a list of the “Ten Greatest Michigan State Spartans”. Hell, I forgot half the names on this list. You don’t do that with a team that is actually your rival.

There are several teams that want to claim us as their rival. That’s fine with me – they do it because beating us would make their season. We’re the kings. But just because Penn State or Indiana wants to declare us their rival doesn’t mean we should reciprocate. Let it go. Take the games seriously, but there simply is no massive rivalry aside from the maize and blue. You’ll never compare to our greatest rival.

If that’s not enough to convince you, perhaps a history lesson is in order.

Towards the end of the John Cooper era at Ohio State, there were similar rumblings coming from Ann Arbor. Michigan had handled us so many times recently, and their fans were losing the flavor for The Game. They were declaring Michigan State to be their biggest rival. Perhaps they were doing it to get under our skin, because that’s what Ohio State and Michigan does to one another – constant contempt and mockery.

It worked. It got under our skin. Michigan began to take us for granted, and after they knocked us off 38-26 in 2000, we’d had enough. We went and hired Jim Tressel. Since that day, the Wolverines have paid the price for disrespecting The Rivalry. They’ve only tasted victory twice in the 13 years since.

Buckeye fans, I urge you – do not declare MSU to be our new rival. They simply aren’t.

Keep your eyes on the ball. Those bastards to the north are our rivals, and they always will be.

BBN Basketball Liveblog: Michigan State

Written January 7th, 2014 by Eric

The Buckeye Shooty Hoopers get their toughest test of the season tonight playing in the frozen arctic tundra of East Lansing, MI. OSU will have their hands full with a very talented and game Sparty team.

Come join us as we chat away the battle of the heavyweights, tipping off at 9pm tonight on ESPN! Go Bucks!

tBBC Preview: Rose Bowl – Michigan State vs. Stanford

Written December 31st, 2013 by Jason

Yeah… we’re wistful. But still, here’s the rundown

TOR_2014_100TH_RBG_LOGO_CMYK_COLOR_PRINTMichigan State (11-1, 9-0 B1G) vs Stanford (11-2, 7-2 PAC12)

January 1st, 2014  5:00 PM EST ESPN

It’s the 100th Rose Bowl game and this years rendition of the classic features two similar teams that play an old fashioned “defense and run” style of game. Can the Cardinal move the ball on the ground as they like to do against the Spartan defense? Will the Spartans be able to move the ball at all against the Cardinal defense? We’ll find out in what should be a classic.

Oh, and you can’t have a Rose Bowl without Buckeyes- Orlando Pace will be enshrined in the Rose Hall Of Fame on Wednesday, and Archie Griffin was named Rose Bowl “All Century” player for his successes in four straight games.

Michigan State: The Spartans roll into Pasadena for the first time since 1988 when they defeated USC 20-17. Head coach Mark Dantonio has his team believing after knocking off second ranked Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. However, beating Stanford will be no easy task and an off-field issue has made it even more daunting.

Max Bullough is undoubtedly defensive heart and soul. Due to an off-field issue that we won’t speculate on, he has violated team rules and will not be participating in the game. To put in perspective, though he’s not as good of a player, this would be like the Buckeyes losing Ryan Shazier for the Orange Bowl.

The Spartan defense does still has Darqueze Dennard and he is looking to go out with a bang in his last game in Spartan green. I also am a believer in teams, especially when it’s a key player on an already outstanding defense, being able to rise above the loss of a star player. Sparty may be just fine when the Cardinal have the ball. Read More