Ken Kohl (9:13 pm)

Since my series on The James, I've been included on their email list to be kept updated on various stuff going on there. Below is an excerpt from an email I received today.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The first-ever “Top Doc” Cooking Challenge – an  informational and entertaining food event similar
to the popular TV  shows “Top Chef” and “Chopped” – will feature four Ohio State University cancer experts each paired up with a trained chef from the Nutrition Services Department at the Ohio State University Medical Center to  create a
unique dish using a mystery basket of ingredients that may help prevent cancer.

 Dr. Steven Clinton, program leader of Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention for the  Ohio State University
Comprehensive Cancer – Arthur G. James Cancer  Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James),  along with Ohio State University Medical Center Chef Jim Warner, will  host the cooking challenge. 

Media are invited to cover the event, which will be held from 6-8 p.m.  March 1 at The Ohio State University Student
Union in the instructional  kitchen on the lower level, 1739 N. High St. in Columbus.The challenge will feature these OSUCCC-James experts:

  • Dr. Michael Caligiuri, director of Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute,
  • Dr. Joseph Flynn, clinical director of hematologic malignancies,
  • Dr. Patrick Ross, professor and chief, division of thoracic surgery,
  • Dr. Charles Shapiro, director, breast medical oncology and leader of the breast cancer research program.

A panel of celebrity judges, including local restaurateurs Cameron  Mitchell and Chris Doody and Dispatch Food Editor
Robin Davis, will  judge each meal based on taste, texture, color, appearance and presentation. The winning team will receive a “Culinary Oscar.”

The free event is hosted by JamesCare for Life, which  provides support for cancer patients, family and friends. Seating is  limited and registration is required. For more information or to  register, contact JamesCare for Life at 614-293-6428
or click here.

Personally, with his Buffalo connections, I'm pulling for Dr, Caligiuri to pull this off with a preparation and presentation of beef-on-weck and chicken wings. Off course, he's going to have to go off-menu to do it...

Michael 8:48 pm
Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes received their first commitment on the offensive line. Evan Lisle who measures 6 foot 5 inch 265 lbs. from Centerville committed to Ohio State today.  Lisle just posted on his Facebook: “It feels great to finally be a buckeye!!”

Ohio State beat out schools like Alabama, Notre Dame, Miami and TSUN for Lisle’s services. 

Lisle becomes the fifth member of what promises to be a fruitful 2013 class. Even though Ohio State will graduate no one from this year’s offensive line, look for the Buckeyes to sign at least 2-4 more OL prospects. 

Ohio State currently has seven offers on the OL: Ethan Pocic, Colin McGovern, Hunter Bivin, Marcell Lizard, John Montelus, Derwin Gray, and Laremy Tunsil. Do not be surprised if Alex Gall, Kyle Meadows and Lovell Peterson eventually receive offers.  With Taylor Decker, Kyle Dodson, Joe O’Connor, Jacoby Boren and Pat Elflien in the fold for this year, the 2013 class will add much needed depth to one of the most important positions on the team. 

Ohio State is still suffering from a few lean years of recruiting OL and last years class had quantity but may have lacked the quality that 2012 and the 2013 class will shape up to be.

Look for Hunter Bivin to be the next OL to commit to the OSU 2013 class.

On a side note, Alex Kozan, who had been tied to Ohio State, signed today with Auburn. He verbally committed to Iowa but did not sign his letter of intent on NSD.  Kozan also had an offer from Michigan but decided to be an Auburn Tiger, spurning the B1G for the SEC.

Ken Kohl (3:32 pm)

I was staring out the window this afternoon, at the sunny, relatively mild day, and my thoughts wandered to golf. On that note, I went to the OSU athletic department web site to see what the Lady Buckeyes have been up to lately. Seems they're between Florida trips and concluded a pretty successful swing, so to speak. Excerpted, below, from the original article.

Feb. 21, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Led by two Buckeyes in the Top 10, the Ohio State women's golf team concluded the Central District Invitational in sixth. Notching a third  round team score of 296, the Buckeyes totaled 893 at the par 72, 6,218-yard  River Wilderness Golf Club in Parrish, Fla. Leading Ohio State with a career-low total of 217 was junior captain Amy Meier (pictured). The Rochester Hills, Mich., product fired a final round of 73 to finish in a career-best tie for fourth. Joining Meier in the Top 10 was freshman Kendall Prince who carded a third round of 1-under 71 to total 218 and finish in a tie for sixth. Her 54-hole sum was the lowest of her Buckeye career.

Totaling 231, junior Rachel Rohanna concluded the tournament in a tie for 47th after a final round of 78. One stroke back at 232 was freshman Claudia Lim who tallied a score of 79 in day two. fter back-to-back rounds of 80, junior Susana Benavides improved in the final round with a score of 74 to finish tied for 59th. Up next, the Buckeyes return to Florida for the Hurricane Invitational in Miami, March 5-6.

Ken 1:18
Normally, I’d do a game preview of OSU’s upcoming game, but we’ve played Northwestern before, and we’ve played a team with a similar ‘pass it around and look for back-door cut or shoot before shot clock runs out’ approach. So, I’ll
pass for this basketball game preview.

Speaking of basketball, yesterday I was reading Monty’s article at BHC on Jared Sullinger (
http://www.buckeyehousecall.com/2012-articles/february/the-jared-sullinger-dilemma.html) when these lines
struck me.

In addition, Thad threw the team out of practice the day before the Wisconsin game by saying, “They weren’t ready to practice, and this team has shown that we play like we practice.” 

Matta wasn’t referring to the entire team but rather this upperclassmen by adding, “My freshmen always come to practice. They do a great job.”

So, I wandered over to Columbus Dispatch, and sure enough there was a  post-game video snippet of Thad Matta and Aaron Craft. Craft’s contribution amounted stating that the season is over a hundred practices, tough to get up for them,
but the Buckeyes are a young team and they’ll get it figured out soon, etc.

A couple things here; first, I’m a little dismayed that this close to the season end, in a practice before a critical conference game, and Thad deems the team wasn’t ready to practice. It was pretty obvious that Wisconsin was ready to play. For the players who may hope to move on to the next level, I cannot believe that NBA practice/ travel/ game requirements will be any easier. 
Since I’m glass-half-full sort, I want to end this on an upbeat note. In spite of this grueling schedule, Aaron Craft was named an Academic All-American. This is quite an accomplish and Crafty is to be commended. Well done, lad.

Michael Chung (4:42 pm)

Soap operas should be reserved for daytime viewing, not college football.  But if one has been following the Davonte Neal story, nothing short of “soap opera” is happening.

The five-star recruit was once an Ohio State target.  It would have been a good fit. Neal was a speedy playmaker in line with Percy Harvin and Urban Meyer’s spread offense needs players who have speed and quickness in space to make tacklers miss.

Then signing day came and Rivals’ Mike Farrell declared that Neal wanted to sign with Ohio State but the Buckeyes rescinded their offer.

The Arizona Republic initially came to Neal’s defense citing his father as a source stating the family had no knowledge of the situation.

Buckeye fans assumed that Ohio State was a lock to sign current Maryland recruit Stefon Diggs, who himself has gotten into some hot water.

Diggs did not sign with Ohio State, instead opting for his hometown school Maryland and Ohio State was left without their playmaker.
Ken Kohl (12:15 pm)

I'm going to keep this simple, since we all saw what happened yesterday. The
Buckeyes can now forget winning the Big 10 regular season title. OSU just needs
to get back on track, since their record is now 4-3 for February; not the way
you want to 'peak' going into tournement play. Below are excerpts from my
Preview (normal font) and post-game comments (bold font).

These are two closely matched teams that statistically are not separated by
much. But for Wisconsin being able to make their free throws and protect the

As a team, Ohio State needs to come out with the level of focus and intensity
as they did against Illinois. And keep it up for the full forty minutes at both
ends of the floor. Lost focus on defensive end (wheres my man?) and poor free
throw shooting.

Time enough to gloat over the cheese-heads after we win. Maybe next time.

I hope that Matta or Jent convince Buford that the Sunday game is actually a "Tuesday" game so that will hopefully break Buf's alternating good-game bad-game  tendencies. Soso results on 4/11 shotting. However, Buf did lead team in
rebounds and at 5/5 from the line was the only reliable free throw  shooter.

 Additionally, the game at Wisconsin was won at the foul line; Ohio State went  13/16 while Wisconsin went 3/3. So, the Buckeyes had big games from two of the  scorers and a heavy dose of FT's, which seemed to do the trick last time.
Sort of tired beating this expired equine.

 OSU needs to get the ball to Sullinger in the post. But once there, something positive needs to be done with it.

 OSU needs a few early jumpers to go down to discourage Wisky from "cheating"  on Sully. It'd be nice for Thomas to start with a couple 3’s to loosen the  interior defense, and he’ll get his share of put-backs with offensive rebounds. I should have mentioned that OSU needed to sustain it. My fault.

Defensively, OSU needs to be energetic on the perimeter. The Badger offense,  to oversimplify it, is a "run weaves/screens for 25-30 seconds, then have Taylor  take a shot" type of thing. That's who they are and they do pretty well with it. Other than Sullinger losing his man a couple times, I tought that OSU did contest most perimeter shots.

The wing defenders (Thomas and Buford) cannot fall asleep while Wisky is doing whatever they do that leads up to Taylor shooting. They are just sneaky enough to look for back-door cuts and pick & rolls to get easy points. Badgers did get a few of these. I would like to hear why Smith felt the need to double Buford's man on the wing, when his man rolled down the lane for a layop.

 From a bench standpoint, whew boy, where do I start? As mentioned above, Ravenal can be a nice alternative against Wisky. They are just not athletic enough that Evan will be fine. In addition to Scott, who can contribute as a defender, point guard, but not scoring threat, Sibert gives a nice look at a guard spot. I think that Thompson brings a lot of athleticism to the
lineup so he should see some significant minutes. Frankly, this could be a good opportunity for Amir Williams to see some spot duty to spell Sully.  In 32 minutes of game time, the OSU bench chipped in 1 point, 6 rebounds and an assist. Evan Ravenal got the point and 5 of the rebounds.

Ken Kohl (10:55 am)

Earlier on Friday, Dave did a "speak-the-unspeakable" article on the mans basketball season to date. Originally, I was going to comment on the article, but decided that my wordiness would be more appropriate in a post, so here we are. I'll just blurt out my thoughts on Dave's work, since I think he's on to something.

I think that a lot of people, myself included, were taken with the return of of two starters (Sullinger, Buford) and a defacto starter (Craft) from a very good 2010-2011 team. I think we missed the part of what losing talents such as Lighty, Diebler and Lauderdale meant to this team. This team was over-rated and had too much success placed upon it in the preseason. Accordingly, "Expectation is the enemy of Acceptance", so yeah, this team has not measured up to, what I think were unrealistic expectations. 

Poor Outside Shooting
The Buckeyes are really struggling from 3-pt land, so teams are not paying the price of collapsing on Sullinger. Additionally, there has not been much of any consistent outside shooting threat, so other coaches (somewhat aware of this) aren't concerned about dealing with OSU's past inside-outside game because at this point the OSU offense is inside-whatever.. Dave is absolutely correct, OSU is much easier to defend than last year. The fact that Sibert can't find the basket hasn't helped.

Lack of an inside enforcer
Sometimes last year Big D drove me to distraction. But, to give the devil, or in this case Dallas, his due, Lauderdale was a good defensive stopgap that took pressure off Sullinger defensively. Offensively, he would set some jaw-jarring screens and pick up the occasional weak-side rebound and dunk.

Buford's roller coaster season
Honestly, I have nothing to add to Dave's perspective.

Sullen Sully
I do wish he'd quit carping at the refs, but IMO he is getting physically mauled this year, so he may have a point, but it's a distraction from his performance. If you want to cast Sullinger in role as a "star", then this year he is suffering from not quite the supporting cast that he had last year.

Thad's bench, etc.
I think that Dave pretty much said what had to be said. I would love to see more Amir Williams and Sam Thompson. I have noticed, from my couch in Buffalo anyway, that Thad's '2nd five' plays with a lot of energy which supports Dave's "run people ragged" scenario.
Ken Kohl (5:45 pm)

I'm going to keep this preview simple: we've played these guys before, so they're no stranger to us. Sunday sees the #8 OSU Buckeyes 23-5 (11-4) host the #16 Wisconsin Badgers 20-8 (9-6) in a big rematch game. OSU won the 1st game at Kohl, 58-52 in early February in the fashion typical of OSU-Wisky games. The Buckeyes trail the Spartans by one game in the Conference as we enter the last week of the regular season, so this is a "must-win" to give the team any shot at a conference title.

These are two closely matched teams that statistically are not separated by much. Ohio State averages slightly better on net points-per-possession than Wisconsin, and OSU averages seven more possessions per game. (If you want to get your stat fix, I encourage you to go to www.statsheet.com). It behooves OSU to force a more up-tempo pace. As a team, Ohio State needs to come out with the level of focus and intensity as they did against Illinois and keep it up for the full forty minutes at both ends of the floor. As fans, especially if you’ll be in attendance, we need to put aside the "deal with it" and "Urban cheats" nonsense emanating from Madison and pull for a win on Sunday afternoon. Time enough to gloat over the cheese-heads after we win.

Dave Thurman (9:54 am)

Departing the beaches of south Florida last September I picked up a Lindy's College Basketball preview at the Ft. Myers airport to read on the plane ride home.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the prognosticators picked Ohio State as the number one team in the nation.  In fact in the "National Picks" section, where the Buckeyes were pegged as the future national champion, the sub-line read, "Take Heart, Buck Backers: These Guys Are Gonna Give You a Title."  Although most other basketball previews had OSU at number 3 or 4, the point is that the experts thought this year's team would be as good or better than last year's squad.  So, as the season rounds the final turn it is easy to ask, "What went wrong?"  Last year's team finished 34-3 (16-2 in the B1G) and was the number one seed in the NCAA tourney.  This season's squad is 23-5 (11-4). 

Well for starters it says a lot about Thad Matta's success that fans are disappointed with a 23-5 year.  And I think it also points to the problem with preseason predictions which tend to get people thinking unrealistically.  For instance, Lindy's magazine also had Vanderbilt at #4 (they are currently unranked), Pittsburgh ranked sixth (15-13 right now), and UCLA at 20th (currently 16-12).  So, nobody knows what will happen when the ball is actually tossed into the air, and so many things change as a season unfolds.  Still, after the great run in 2010-11, the lofty preseason expectations, and the early season beatdown of Duke, we expected so much more of this team.  So what went wrong.  Well, I can point to a number of factors:

Thomas led the way with 19 points and 5 boards
Ken Kohl (8:49 pm)

Well, that was a  lot better than the first meeting,wasn't it? The Buckeyes 23-5 (11-4) came out very focused against Illinois 16-12 (5-10) and really put them away pretty early. As you saw, the offense came out very efficient, and flipped the shooting percentages from the first game against Illinois. In the 1st half, OSU shot almost 71% from the field, and 60% in 2nd half. If you “cool off” to 60% shooting, you're fairly torrid for the night. Again, you all probably watched last night, so you have a pretty good idea of how the game flowed but here is the box score.

If you're statistically inclined, or just curious about this stuff, go here; www.statsheet.com.  

For the Illini, Myers Leonard (21 points, 5 rebounds) and D.J. Richardson (12 points, 6 rebounds) were pretty much it for them. We were spared getting “Brandon Paul'd” since B.P. had 9 points on 2/9 shooting.

Brandon Paul's 43 points came on 11-15 shooting (8-10 on 3's) which calculated out to an eFG% of 100%. That's pretty good.

Last go-round, Illinois' starters scored with a couple points to average except for the aforementioned Mr. Paul. For the Buckeyes, most of the starters hit or exceeded their season scoring average. Not a surprise that Tank lit up the scoreboard on 8-12 shooting, since he's been carrying the team lately.