By Josh Kramer
Welcome to the fifth edition of “Throwback Saturdays.” Though this campaign was originally intended to just last a month, I couldn’t resist. It is always fun to look at the past when analyzing the present and the future for that matter. What was going on in sports on February 18, 2011? What was transpiring on February 18, 2010? Let’s find out.
One year ago..
Buckeye X Factor
Here is a snippet..
As I have mentioned many times on this blog, dating back to well over a year ago, Ohio State will go to the Final Four this year. In my opinion, they are the nation’s best team. I do feel that Duke would have been the favorite had Kyrie Irving not have gone down. But injuries happen.
I have talked about what makes Ohio State so good. They have the perfect mix of talent, experience, and chemistry. When rumors of an outstanding incoming freshman class started transpiring well over a year ago, many considered Ohio State to be a team that would be in contention. But when Evan Turner left for the draft, people already wrote them off. They decided that Ohio State would be solid, but probably a top 20 team that was not quite as good as the Big Ten’s elite teams, Purdue and Michigan State. I stuck by the Buckeyes and will continue to. And here is why.
Freshman talent is a great thing. Just ask University of Kentucky Coach John Calipari. These one and done phenoms can make your team an instant contender. But sadly, they are not enough generally to bring home the crown. UK last year had arguably the two best players in the country, in John Wall and Demarcus Cousins. They had 5 guys get selected in the first round. Yet they did not even make the Final Four..
Experience still matters even in the one and done age people. Though I will state that Kentucky will put this theory to the test next year when they bring in 4 of the top 5 rated players in America. Experience is something that this Ohio State team possesses though. They returned 4 starters from last year’s very talented squad. 3 of these gentlemen are seniors while the other is a junior. Then they brought in this phenomenal freshman class. And little did most people outside of Buckeye Nation know, but 4 of these diaper dandies came from the same AAU team. An AAU team that dominated the summer circuit more than any team has in recent memory. This team brought home 3 consecutive National Titles and really just laid a smack down on any and all teams nation wide. These 4 kids are good friends. And they all decided to take the next step together. Thad Matta hit the jackpot when he visited the All Ohio Red Basketball program. Or maybe he hit the jackpot in that JJ Sullinger (Jared’s older brother), played for him at Ohio State. Either way, Matta reeled in the perfect class that had a great winning demeanor and was ready to work from Day 1 (To finish reading this post, click this link).
My big pick was that Ohio State would go to the 2011 Final Four. With the arrival of Jared Sullinger and Co., I had no doubt in my mind even way back on November 13, 2009. Well I should have had some doubts, because I was wrong. Ohio State was upset in shocking fashion against a UK team that nobody gave a chance to make a deep run. Go figure that UK was overlooked. I promise you that they are not being overlooked in 2012.
Ohio State once again is looking very solid this year. But they are without their “X” factor of a year ago, the Big Ten’s all-time leader in 3-pointers, Jon Diebler. And as we have seen at various times this year, when Sullinger has to hit the bench due to injuries or foul trouble, Matta’s team becomes a very one-dimensional from an offensive standpoint. They have Buford and his mid-range game. But they are really lacking that big time 3-point threat like Diebler. With Sullinger’s inside game, Buford’s all around offensive repertoire, and Diebler’s long range sniper ability, Ohio State’s offense last year was nearly unstoppable (except on March 25, 2011). Though Ohio State has a very good team this year that is capable of making a deep run, the lack of their former “X” factor (Diebler) hurts.
Two years ago..
No Excuses Now King
Here is a snippet from the end of the post
It is title or bust now for LeBron. If he cannot win it with this team, it is bye-bye Cleveland. But there are no excuses now. He has the core of players to help him capture a championship (To finish reading this post, click this link)
Cleveland won an NBA best 61 games during the 2009/2010 season. When talking about LeBron having the pieces in place, Cleveland had just picked up routine 20/10 guy Antawn Jamison the day of the post. They appeared to be a team poised to bring Cleveland its first championship in any professional sport since the Browns won the 1964 NFL Title (pre-Super Bowl days). Instead, well you all know what happened. Many accused LeBron of “quitting” during the Cavaliers ugly six-game Eastern Conference Semi-Finals loss to Boston. May 13th would be the last night that LeBron would ever dawn a Cavalier’s jersey.
It really was bye-bye Cleveland for LeBron, as he took his talents to South Beach via the infamous “Decision.”
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.