A “Q score” is supposed to measure the appeal of a character, celebrity, or TV program. After last night’s pulse-pounding last-second win, the phrase “Q score” has a different meaning for Ohio State fans — and it’s pretty appealing, too.
Posts Tagged ‘NCAA Tournament’
Posted in sports, tagged Aaron Craft, Big Ten, Big Ten basketball, Buckeye Basketball, Deshaun Thomas, Iowa State, Iowa State Cyclones, LaQuinton Ross, NCAA Tournament, Ohio State, Ohio State Buckeyes, sports on March 24, 2013 | 1 Comment »
Thanks to Aaron Craft, the Ohio State Buckeyes have survived and advanced, and my heart rate has just about returned to something approaching its normal rhythm.
What a great game this was, and what an impossible game to watch if you were a fan of either team! Iowa State had the advantage early, and the Buckeyes clawed their way back. Ohio State took control in the second half, Iowa State counterpunched, and then the Buckeyes rolled out to a big lead. But then, it was Iowa State’s turn. They made incredibly tough threes, erased a 13-point Buckeye lead in the blink of an eye, and left me and every member of Buckeye Nation shaking our heads at an epic collapse. But Aaron Craft, who had missed the front ends of two one-and-ones to expedite Iowa State’s comeback, wouldn’t give up. He made the big plays down the stretch and then, with the final seconds ticking away, swished a three-pointer to put the game on ice for the Buckeyes.
Kudos to Aaron Craft — the baby-faced assassin — and Deshaun Thomas and LaQuinton Ross, all of whom made big shots in the second half. And kudos, too, to the Iowa State Cyclones, who were tough, dogged, and determined not to give up. I’m glad the Buckeyes won, of course, but I have a huge amount of respect for Iowa State and their classy coach. Great game, Cyclones! I hope you will turn out to be the toughest team the Buckeyes have to play, because I don’t think Ohio State — or its fans — could survive a tougher game than this one.
Posted in sports, tagged Big East, Big Ten, college basketball, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mountain West, NCAA Tournament, Ohio State Buckeyes, sports on March 23, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
The NCAA Tournament is put up or shut up time. All year we hear about teams and conferences, and then March Madness comes and separates the pretenders from the contenders.
This year, there’s been a lot of talk — from people not named Charles Barkley — about the Big Ten being the best conference in basketball. Seven teams from the Old Conference made it to the Big Dance, and so far they’re represented the league well. The Big Ten’s record after the round of 64 is 6-1, with the only hiccup being Wisconsin’s dismal performance against Mississippi in a game where the Badgers simply could not put the ball into the basket. The Big Ten’s top-seeded teams, Indiana and Ohio State, both won by wide margins, Michigan State and Michigan played well in convincing wins, Illinois survived some poor shooting to beat Colorado, and Minnesota spanked UCLA in a surprising upset. Other conferences that were touted prior to the tournament, such as the Big East and the Mountain West, did not fare so well during the first round of play.
The great thing about the NCAA Tournament, of course, is that everything can turn on a dime. All of these Big Ten teams could lose their next game — and if that happens the conference will be viewed as an overrated paper tiger. For now, the Big Ten has 6 teams in the round of 32, and that’s not bad.
Posted in sports, tagged Buck Back Pool, Choking, Cincinnati, college basketball, Indiana, Iona, Memphis, Michigan, Montana, NCAA Tournament, San Diego State, sports, Wichita State on March 20, 2013 | 2 Comments »
We had our annual Buck Back draft the other day, and I think I gagged big time.
Long-time readers may recall that I play in an alternative approach to NCAA pools called the Buck Back. Rather than trying to forecast the results of every game, eight of us put in eight bucks each, select eight teams in a serpentine draft, and then get $1 — i.e., a buck back — every time one of our teams wins. The Buck Back during March Madness is now a time-honored tradition.
This year the draft was the hardest ever, because it’s impossible to have great confidence that any team is going to do well in the tournament. Every school has struggled at some point during the season, and every team has weaknesses.
I drafted fourth, and I look at my teams and wonder whether I’ll win even a few games, much less break even. My first pick was Indiana, which stumbled to the finish line, and my second pick was Michigan, which also struggled in the last half of the season. Both have talented players, but which teams will show up — the early season world-beaters, or the battered squads that limped home? My third-round pick was Memphis, which plays in one of the weakest conferences in the country, and my fourth selection was Wichita State, which has to start the Tournament against a tough Pitt team. My later round picks — San Diego State, Cincinnati, Montana, and Iona — all are question marks.
So I sit, waiting for the Big Dance to start in earnest tomorrow, and I wonder whether my entire Buck Back draft was a choke. I’ll bet I’m not the only one who feels that way — and I can’t wait for the Tournament to start.
We fans need to train and prepare for the NCAA Tournament, too. To help everyone get ready for the miracle finishes, Cinderella stories, and upset specials that will come our way this weekend, Webner House hereby offers this compilation of the best basketball buzzer-beaters of 2013. Some of them are pretty spectacular.
It’s time for the Big Dance!
Our diverse country is rarely unified in thought or deed, but this week is an exception: we can say with supreme confidence that virtually every worker in America is filling out their office’s version of the NCAA Tournament pool. Our ability, from sea to shining sea, to share in the communal experience of NCAA Tournament wagering has moved me to verse:
An Ode To Office Basketball Pools
Our annual betting racket
I feel the heat, I must complete
My NCAA bracket.
I’ve studied hard and thought with care.
And confidence? I don’t lack it
I know this year I’ll win it clear
Thanks to this perfect bracket!
I’ll fold it neat and keep it near
So success, I can track it
And I’ll peruse whene’er I choose
My pristine tourney bracket!
Then Thursday comes, and upsets, too
And my forehead, I will smack it
As X-outs sprout and teams go out
And mar fore’er my bracket.
By Sunday night I’m crushed and mad
And fit for a strait jacket
My Final Four are all no more
Another failed bracket!
A shining moment, I ne’er had
If it were underground I’d frack it
I’m in the ditch, it’s fit to pitch
Curs’d NCAA bracket!
Posted in sports, tagged Aaron Craft, Amir Williams, Buckeye Basketball, Deshaun Thomas, Jared Sullinger, Lenzelle Smith Jr., NCAA Tournament, Ohio State, Sam Thompson, Shannon Scott, sports, Thad Matta, William Buford on March 31, 2012 | 1 Comment »
The Ohio State-Kansas game lived up to its billing — a tough slugging match between two heavyweights. Unfortunately for Ohio State (and me), Kansas took the Buckeyes’ best shot and came back strong to win. All credit to the Jayhawks for hustling and scrapping and getting the rebounds and loose balls that allowed them to turn the tide in the second half.
Obviously, I’m sorry that the Buckeyes could not hold their lead and could not make their goal of the national championship game. Their loss, however, does not take away from what has been a wonderful season for the team and its fans. This is a group that battled through adversity and tough stretches and came back to play extremely well down the stretch and in the NCAA Tournament. Much as I would like to have seen the Buckeyes win and get the chance to knock off Kentucky, there is no shame in losing by two points in a hard-fought game to a basketball powerhouse like Kansas.
I’d like to thank William Buford and Jared Sullinger for coming back to play another year, when they could have gone to the NBA and made a lot of money this year instead. I’ve relished watching Aaron Craft play, and Deshaun Thomas develop into a much more well-rounded player, and Lenzelle Smith Jr. make crucial shots when the team needed them most. I’ve enjoyed watching Shannon Scott and Amir Williams and Sam Thompson and catching glimpses of their bright futures. And, I’ve appreciated the hard work of Thad Matta and his coaching staff as they have gotten the team ready to play, game after game.
An evenly matched contest like the one played tonight is a game of inches; the fact that things didn’t bounce the Buckeyes’ way at the end doesn’t detract from a great year. I know it’s tough for the players and coaches, who were hoping for something even more; it will be some time before the sting eases. In the meantime, I just want to say thanks for lots of great basketball, Buckeyes!
The basketball Buckeyes left Columbus today for New Orleans and their Final Four matchup on Saturday with the Kansas Jayhawks. Although there wasn’t a formal pep rally, the team buses drove through campus on their way to the airport and got an enthusiastic sendoff from the Buckeye faithful.
I haven’t paid much attention to the Republican presidential primary race lately. In light of March Madness, has anyone? The Republicans are like a Sweet Sixteen team that has played two dreadfully boring early-round games and then gets overlooked in the talk about the upcoming games. You sort of think: “Wow — are they still around?”
They are. The Republicans just had a primary in Illinois. Mitt Romney won and continues to slowly build a huge lead in delegates. Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich each advise the others to exit the race and then vow to continue to the convention. In short, not much as changed.
You wonder what the Republicans really have to talk about, after so many debates and straw polls and caucuses and primaries. An answer of sorts lies in the fact that today’s big news is about a comment made by a Mitt Romney advisor who said the general election is like taking an Etch A Sketch, shaking it, and then starting all over in the fall. Romney’s rivals pounced on the remark and said it reflected Romney’s plan to reinvent himself for the general election. Both Gingrich and Santorum took Etch A Sketches to their rallies today as props.
Really, guys? Etch A Sketches? The NCAA Tournament is a lot more interesting, and now it seems a lot less frivolous.
Posted in Ohio, sports, tagged Aaron Craft, Bearcats, Big East, Big Ten, Buckeye Basketball, Deshaun Thomas, Jared Sullinger, Lenzelle Smith Jr., NCAA Tournament, Ohio, Ohio State, sports, Sweet Sixteen, University of Cincinnati, William Buford on March 21, 2012 | 6 Comments »
Tomorrow night the Buckeyes play an NCAA Tournament regional semifinal game against the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. The round of games is called the Sweet Sixteen, but recently it has had a decidedly sour taste for Ohio State.
This is the third year in a row the Buckeyes have made it this far — and the last two years they went no farther. In 2010 they lost a heart-breaker to Tennessee, 76-73; last year they arguably had the best team around and fell in a stomach-churning loss to Kentucky, 62-60. The close scores made the losses more agonizing, and Buckeyes fans don’t want to endure another.
Ohio State and Cincinnati are in the same state but don’t play each other often. Nevertheless, they have a rich basketball history. Cincinnati beat the Buckeyes in two NCAA championship games 50 years ago, during the Jerry Lucas era. Some of my friends would dearly like to get belated payback this year.
It’s safe to say that the participants in this year’s game won’t be thinking much about Lucas and the Buckeyes of the early ’60s. They’ll be focused on stopping a UC team that is tough, scrappy, and balanced, with four players who average in double figures. The team bounced back after a humiliating loss to crosstown rival Xavier — in a game that ended in an awful bench-clearing brawl — to play well in their conference and advance to the Big East title game. UC’s experience in the Big East means they won’t be intimidated by the setting or the opponent.
As for the Buckeyes, they can’t afford another start like they had against Gonzaga, which dominated the boards early and got Jared Sullinger into foul trouble. They’ll need to rebound better and will be looking for Lenzelle Smith to crash the glass and bring hustle on defense. They’ll want to get the terrific contributions from Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft that they got against Gonzaga. Finally, they’ll need big games from Sullinger and, especially, William Buford, who will be looking to exorcise some demons from last year’s loss to Kentucky.
The game tips tomorrow night at (ugh!) 9:45 p.m. Already, the insides of the stalwart members of Buckeye Nation are churning.
Posted in sports, tagged Aaron Craft, Amir Williams, Big Ten, Big Ten basketball, Buckeye Basketball, Cincinnati, Deshaun Thomas, Florida State, Gonzaga, Jared Sullinger, NCAA Tournament, Ohio State, Shannon Scott, sports, William Buford on March 17, 2012 | 1 Comment »
It was a nail-biter, and Gonzaga came back as you knew they would, but this afternoon the Ohio State Buckeyes ultimately prevailed and are moving on to the Sweet Sixteen.
This was a very good win against a very good team. The Buckeyes were out of sorts early and were getting killed on the boards. Shouted epithets rang through Webner House as the Bulldogs got put-backs and second-chance points after grabbing offensive rebounds. But with Jared Sullinger on the bench with two fouls, the Buckeyes clawed their way back. Amir Williams gave Ohio State a presence in the middle, and Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas brought the Buckeyes back to lead at the half. In the second half, the terrific Craft led the way and the Buckeyes built up a 10-point lead. Then, Gonzaga wisely went to a zone, the Buckeyes were thrown off stride, and their lead ultimately dwindled to nothing. But Ohio State stuck at it, made their free throws, and finally got the crucial rebounds. The final score was 73-66, but the game was a lot closer than that.
This may have been the gutsiest effort by Ohio State this year. They played, and beat, an experienced team that is a perennial NCAA Tournament contender. Equally important, it was a true team effort — perhaps the most total team effort of the season. Four players scored in double figures and the Buckeyes got quality contributions off the bench from Amir Williams and Shannon Scott. It was good to see William Buford on the line at the end, knocking down free throws to ice the game. Buford deserves some love and respect from Buckeyes fans for coming back for his senior year when he easily could have gone pro and providing the team’s most dependable outside shooting.
So now the Buckeyes get to sit back and wait to see whether they play Florida State or Cincinnati in the round of 16 — where the Buckeyes have fallen the last two years. Let’s hope they take a few moments tonight to reflect on and enjoy a job well done today.
Norfolk State’s epic victory over a shell-shocked Missouri basically guaranteed that I will have my worst Buck Back performance ever. Although my picks have been dismal and the results embarrassing, it’s impossible not to enjoy — a little bit — a huge underdog’s win, especially when they are led by a guy named Kyle O’Quinn on the day before St. Patrick’s Day.
In any case, this classic footage from Monty Python aptly captures the state of my Buck Back team.
Columbus gets some first-hand exposure to March Madness this weekend, as the NCAA Tournament comes to town.
Four games will be played today in Nationwide Arena, and the winners will match up in two games on Sunday. Among the teams who will be playing are Michigan State, Georgetown, North Carolina State, and Memphis, so we’ll be seeing lots of Spartan green — well-time for St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow – Hoya blue, and Wolfpack red, among other school colors, over the next few days. I’ve already noticed fans of the some of the teams, proudly wearing their gear, in the downtown area.
It’s great to have NCAA Tournament games played in Columbus. It’s good for the local economy, good for our fair city’s national visibility, and good for local sports fans who just want to see some top-flight college basketball. Unfortunately, it’s a rainy day today — but because the games will be played indoors, we’ll hope that the showers don’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for their visit. Have fun, folks, and come back again!
When NCAA Tournament time arrives, that means it’s time for the Buck Back — the greatest pool in the history of organized sports.
Well, okay — that may be an overstatement, but the Buck Back is a lot of fun. Just recruit seven friends who like college basketball and don’t take things too seriously, ask everybody kick 8 bucks into the kitty, and then have a serpentine draft of all of the teams on the 64 lines of the NCAA Tournament grid. The eight players will end up with eight teams (we don’t count the four play-in games). Each time one of your teams wins a tournament game you get a buck back — hence the pool’s name.
I’m not a gambler, and I never enter the standard NCAA pools or on-line bracket contests. But I can spare 8 bucks to participate in the draft session, where insults and self-deprecating humor rule the day, and then follow my teams as they try to make their way in the Big Dance. This year I drafted seventh and ended up with Missouri, Baylor, San Diego State, Gonzaga, Southern Mississippi, Ohio U., Davidson, and Loyola (Maryland). I’m a bit skeptical of my roster of teams, but by drafting Loyola I at least ensured that, if my beloved Buckeyes gag and lose their first-round game, I get a buck out of it.
Let the Buck Back begin!
After losing a brusing contest against Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament championship game, Ohio State will head to the NCAA East Region as a number 2 seed. The Buckeyes will play Thursday against Loyola (Maryland).
Before we get too wrapped up in March Madness, I hope all Ohio State fans take a moment to recognize what a fine season the Buckeyes had. The team beat Duke and Florida early in the season, played in the toughest conference in the country, overcame some mid-season struggles, and won its last two regular season games to win a share of the Big Ten regular season title. Winning the Big Ten regular season title is an accomplishment worth savoring, and Coach Thad Matta is making it seem routine. What a fabulous hire he has been! The Buckeyes then played two excellent games in the Big Ten Tournament before falling to the Spartans in a classic, physical slugfest. Congratulations to Michigan State for winning a very tough game between two evenly matched teams.
Now that we’ve taken a moment to appreciate the season so far, let’s turn to the Big Dance. I don’t want to hear any whining from Ohio State fans about being put in the toughest regional, or drawing unfavorable match-ups, or having to deal with different styles of officiating. If you want to be a champion, you need to suck it up and find a way to overcome the obstacles in your path. The last week of the regular season and the Big Ten Tournament suggested that Ohio State may be starting to gel as a very good team. We’ll find out soon enough — starting Thursday, against the Loyola Greyhounds — whether this year’s version of the Buckeyes is made of championship stuff.