Tag Archives: Jordan Sibert

“Buckeye Nation Seeks Redemption”

Ohio State Super Freshman, Jared Sullinger (pictured above), will be scoring early and often in helping lead the Buckeyes deep into March Madness this year.

2007 was the year of the Gator in College sports.  And really it could have been called the year of the Buckeye.  Two dates that will forever live in infamy in the eyes of all related to the school that sports the “Best Band in the Land (Ohio State)” are as follows:

January 8th, 2007–  On this date, a heavily favored Ohio State team was downed by a Florida team that featured a lethal quarterback tandem in Chris Leak, and some freshman named Tim Tebow.  The Buckeyes were the best team in the country all year and fully expected to ride their horses, Ted Ginn Jr. and Troy Smith to their first National Championship since 2002.  Sadly for Brutus and the Buckeyes, Florida demonstrated the amazing speed of the SEC and dominated Tressel’s team 41 to 14.

April 2nd, 2007– A few months after the BCS National Championship massacre, Ohio State was led by 2 outstanding freshman in Mike Conley Jr. and the ultimate big man (who calls himself a chameleon on commercials), Greg Oden on the basketball court.  The Buckeyes were looking to redeem themselves from the embarrassment that Gator Nation had laid on them a few months before on the gridiron.  This was the Buckeye’s chance to reign on the Gator parade.  Florida was the defending National Champs that had returned all 5 starters and were the heavily favored squad.  Donovan’s team featuring the likes of Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Lee Humphrey, Al Horford, and Taurean Green did not disappoint.  Ohio State once again suffered a defeat and was once again number 2.

Fast forward to 2010.  Both basketball programs appear to be back at the forefront of the College Basketball stratosphere.  Florida is ranked number 10 in the country and appears to be the favorite to bring home the SEC.  Ohio State is ranked 5th, and look to be a major contender to bring home the Big Ten title despite the loss of last year’s National Player of the  Year, Evan Turner.

I know it goes unspoken, but you better believe the Buckeyes are looking to extract some revenge on their Southern rival.  This is a rivalry that has really kind of flown under the radar.  Yes, I realize that Ohio State got a little redemption when they handily defeated the Gators in December of 2007, but neither team was ranked at the time.  Both teams were in the rebuilding phase.  Well now both teams are ranked again and looking to make a run at the Final Four.

This is the first major showdown of the season.  And boy should it be a doozy.  Florida features a squad led by Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker, and seniors Alex Tyus and Chandler Parsons.  This team is experienced.  This team has speed.  This team can shoot the rock.  And you better believe that Coach Billy Donovan has them ready to play on a night in and night out basis.  Plus Kentucky no longer is the super squad of a year ago.  Though they are tough, the SEC will now have to go through the Swamp.

Ohio State is a team that I have been saying for some time now will be one of the last team’s left dancing come March.  I will not stop talking about this squad any time soon in that they were a major pick that I spotted over a year ago.  They have the perfect mix of experience and talent.  They returned 3 senior starters and 1 junior starters.  Plus they brought in a phenomenal freshman class which features many players off of the same AAU team.  Freshman like Jared Sullinger, Deshaun Thomas, Aaron Craft, and Jordan Sibert are ready to make a major impact now.  And honestly, Sullinger and Thomas could easily be 1st team All Big Ten performers this year and be players of the one and done variety.  Thad has been to a championship game as mentioned earlier.  He is accustomed to winning and playing deep into the tournament.  Well expect this team to have a major shot at being the last one standing.

Look for Ohio State to Gator Chomp the Gators tonight in the first big time matchup of the season.  This Buckeye team is the real deal.  Could 2010/2011 be the year of the Buckeye?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

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“College Basketball Preview”

Super frosh, Kyrie Irving (pictured above on the right) has a lot to live up to at Duke. Could he be the next Jay Williams (pictured above on the left) and lead this team back to the Final Four?

College Basketball is back and better than ever folks..or is it?

Many of you probably do not even realize that regular season games have already been played.  I am not sure what the deal is with the lack of publicity thus far, but you better believe that come mid January (when College Football is done), College Basketball will be the center of attention again.  For many, it will become the prime event within the next week in that their College Football team is down and out.

In my opinion, NCAA Basketball has the best and most exciting tournament of them all.  March Madness may be the most consistently well done event that we have in American sports today. It never dissapoints. And yes, I realize that they expanded the tournament field, but you better believe the excitement will still be there come mid March.  Now a few years down the road when they hit their eventual goal of 96 teams, some of the luster may be faded.  But at this point, it will still be a top notch thrilling event.

A long while back, on July 13th to be exact, I gave my “Early Preseason Top 5.”  It read as follows:

1.  Duke

2.  Ohio State

3.  Michigan State

4.  Purdue

5. Butler

And my sleeper picks to make a run at the Final Four were UK, Syracuse, WVU, and Kansas State.

Not much has changed in my eyes from my super early preseason top 5.  There are a couple of minor changes though. 

Here is my real “Preseason Top Five.”

1.  Duke-The defending National Champs return the majority of last year’s squad.  Look for Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler to play at an All American level all year.  Expect the Plumlee brothers to emerge into a formidable post combo.  And do not forget about the arrival of super frosh point guard, Kyrie Irving.  This kid can flat out play with the top guards in the country already.  Plus a little Curry (Stephon Curry’s little brother) will be mixing in with the backcourt.  Coach K has much to like with this very deep and talented squad.

2.  Ohio State-I have said it numerous times, and I will say it again.  It is Final Four or bust this year for Ohio State.  With 4 returning starters, and arguably the best and most college ready Freshman Class in the country, this team will have the talent and the experience to ride all the way to the National Championship.  Thad Matta should be smiling all day and every day with this group.  The freshman class includes the likes of arguably the best big man in the entire country, Jared Sullinger,  a small forward in Deshaun Thomas that can get up and down the floor with the best in the country, a lock down defender in Aaron Craft, and the very smooth all around talent that is shooting guard Jordan Sibert.  Not to mention the Buckeyes feature a junior, that could take home Big Ten Player of the Year in William Buford, plus returning starters, Diebler, Lauderdale, and Lighty.  This team could definitely go the distance.

3.  Michigan State-Tom Izzo has been to 6 Final Fours in the last 12 years for a reason.  The only difference this year is Tom Izzo actually has a team with Final Four talent.  I can only imagine how good this team could be.  Kalin Lucas will be running the point and poised to show why he was Big Ten Player of the year 2 seasons ago.  Durrell Summers, Delvin Roe, Draymond Green, and Korie Lucious are full of experience and ability.  Plus Izzo brought in arguably the best Freshman Power Forward/Center in the country, in the very long and versatile Adreian Payne.  This team could be flat out scary.  I cannot wait to see them match up with Duke on December 1st and Ohio State on February 15th.

4.  Pittsburgh-This Pitt team appears to be the cream of the crop in the Big East.  Though they struggled against a tough Rhode Island team the other night, that is how Jamie Dixon likes it.  His Pitt squads over the years have typified the term, “Winning Ugly.”  This team brings back some very talented mainstays off of last year’s 25 win team such as Ashton Gibbs, Brad Wanamaker, and Gilbert Brown.  I will state that this team does not wow on paper as some of these other top teams I am discussing do.  But Pittsburgh always seems to find a way to win 25 plus games in the rugged Big East and I expect no different this year.  Look for Gibbs and Wanamaker to really lead this team to the top of the Big East.

5. Kansas State-Frank Martin’s Elite 8 team of a year ago looks poised to make another deep run this year.  And we all know if they don’t, they will have to deal with the wrath that is their Coach, Frank Martin.  This team is relatively young and will deeply miss guard Denis Clemente, but they will be led by two very talented seniors in Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly.  These two will provide one of the more formidable high low combos in the entire country.  Look for this team to be similar to Pittsburgh.  Very tough and hard working.  A team that beats you with defense and exceptional effort, especially on the boards.  Would you expect anything else from a Frank Martin coached team?

My sleepers to make a Final Four run are UK (depending on Kantor’s elgibility), North Carolina, Illinois, and Butler.

Key Items to Note

Number 1: Purdue will be Hummel-less this year.  Due to this fact, Purdue will no longer be a top 5 or even top 10 team.  They will be solid and make the tournament, but they are no longer a real “contender” in my eyes.  My condolences go out to Hummel, his family, and all of Boilermaker Nation.

Number 2: The Big Ten looks to be the cream of the crop without a doubt.  Basketball has been dominated by the Big East for the past 4 or 5 years, but the torch appears to have been passed to the old school Big Ten.  ESPN and many of the experts jumped the gun last year saying that the Big Ten was the elite conference.  Well now they are.  Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Purdue all look to be sure fire tourney squads.  And without Hummel going down, I would have said that Ohio State, Michigan State, and Purdue were all National Championship contenders.  Also do not sleep on a very experienced Illinois team and a very solid Bo Ryan led Wisconsin Badger team.  All of these squads are dangerous.

Third: Can Coach K bring home his 5th National Title?   You better believe that he can.  But will he?  There is a lot of basketball to be played, but on paper, Duke is definitely the team to beat.  Keep an eye on Super Frosh, Kyrie Irving.  He will provide fireworks for the Cameron Crazies.

Fourth: Can Brad Stevens lead Butler to another magical tournament run? The talent is there once again.  Shelvin Mack, Ronald Nored, and Matt Howard all return from last year’s National Runner Up.  Will the run continue?  Will Stevens stay through his entire 12 year contract?  We will find out soon.

So there you have it.  It is the Big Ten’s year to shine.  What a season we have in store.  The unpredictably of March Madness is always one of the most fascinating things that happens in sports.

In the words of Dickie V, “Its totally awesome baby!”

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze