By Josh Kramer
Welcome to the 7th edition of “Throwback Saturdays.” What was going on in the wide world of sports on March 3, 2010? How about March 3, 2011. Ironically, on “TheSportsKraze,” the news centered around the Scarlet and Grey (Ohio State) both times. Maybe we should just declare March 3rd a “Buckeye Day” on “TheSportsKraze?”
One year ago..
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Jared Sullinger made it clear to ESPN’s Dana O’Neil that he wants no part of splitting the Big Ten title. “It’s like sharing your girlfriend or your husband,’’ Sullinger said after OSU’s 82-61 win over Penn State Tuesday night. “You wouldn’t want to share your husband, would you? We don’t like to share.”
Furthermore, a win would further enhance coach Thad Matta’s squad chances of claiming the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.
One would be hard pressed to say OSU isn’t the best in the country. The two teams to topple OSU this season, Wisconsin and Purdue, haven’t lost at home this season.
Kansas lost at home to Texas and got dump-trucked at Kansas State. Texas has six losses, including dropping three out of four. BYU also has two losses, but the Mountain West isn’t the Big Ten or Big East. Pitt would probably make for the best argument, but they’ve lost twice in the city of Pittsburgh. Duke isn’t a title threat without Kyrie Irving.
Come Sunday, it’s strictly business for OSU…with a personal touch (To finish reading this post, click this link).
This was the first of many posts for “TheSportsKraze” from former contributor Grant Freking. Grant is a great journalist and now is a sportswriter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. Anyways, I will fully admit that I expected the Buckeyes to go all the way last season. So did many. Last year at this time, Ohio State was the unquestioned top team in the nation. Ironically, the team that thwarted their title hopes, Kentucky, is the heavy favorite to cut down the nets this year. Hopefully for Big Blue Nation’s sake, the Wildcats won’t suffer a similar fate to Ohio State.
Anyways, Ohio State headed into a duel with rival Wisconsin sporting a 28 and 2 record. They had just dismantled Penn State by 21, and wanted to not only win the Big Ten title outright, but they wanted to stake their claim to the number one overall seed for the NCAA Tourney. The Buckeyes were undefeated heading into the battle with the Badgers the first time a few weeks earlier. And we all know what happened that day in Madison. Well our very own Mr. Freking hit the nail on the head. The Buckeyes were all business in this one, stomping the Badgers by 28 points (93 to 65). Jon Diebler, the former Buckeye “X” Factor, who has been sorely missed in 2012, nailed seven three-pointers. Ohio State shot an astonishing 68.1% from the floor which is crazy in itself. But they also did something on that Sunday that was even more unthinkable. The Buckeyes shot 93.3% from three-point range. Yes, the Buckeyes went 14 of 15 from downtown. If they would have shot like that in the Sweet 16 against Kentucky, I have a feeling that they would have lived another day.
Two years ago..
A Bright Buckeye Future
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The beautiful thing for the Buckeyes is not only do they have a great nucleus returning, but boy do they have a talented group coming in. It is a gem of a class led by Jared Sullinger. Jared was shown by ESPN cameras last evening in attendance at the game. Buckeye fans, get used to seeing that face. Sullinger will be an instant impact player next season and really be a force down low. I know that for many of my loyal followers, you remember my post a couple of months ago when I pretty much guaranteed a Final Four bid for the Buckeyes next season.
Now are you starting to believe? Realize that 4 starters on this team are juniors. At least 3 of them will be back next year, and possibly 4, barring whether Turner decides to go pro. Turner’s decision will be a tough one and I would be unsure what to do in his position. He will have a lot of thinking to do after March Madness concludes for his squad. Hopefully he really takes the time to discuss with his family, coaches, and teammates, and is not to heavily pushed by anyone. The agents will be coming and I hope they do not pressure Evan to make a quick decision without thinking things through.
Either way, this team will be loaded next season with or without their star, Mr. Turner. Strap in Buckeye fans and get used to rushing the court. More Big Ten titles and possibly bigger things are to come in the near future (To finish reading this post, click this link).
So Ohio State did not win the National Championship in 2011. My big prediction was wrong. But they did have a remarkable year in which they went 33 and 3, and held down the number one spot in the country for the majority of the season. In addition, Jared Sullinger was an instant impact player who really had one of the best freshman years in recent memory. He was without question the best post player in American during the 2010/2011 college basketball season. Even without Evan Turner, Ohio State still thrived. I was right about the Big Ten title and the court rushing. Unfortunately though, it was not meant to be for Buckeye Nation.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.