Good morning Buckeye Nation and welcome to the best holiday of the season, March Madness!
The Buckeye Bloggers Network has put together an NCAA Bracket challenge this year. Not only will you get some serious bragging rights in the Buckeye blogosphere, but there has been a great prize package assembled for the winner. To enter, head to Yahoo and complete your bracket by Thursday at noon (Group ID - 78517, Password - sw00n&su11y). If you're interested in the women's NCAA tourney the BBN also has you covered. Deadline for brackets is on Saturday at noon (Password - sammy!).
Anyway, let's get to the good stuff. With spring football and bracket madness upon us we have plenty to discuss.
The Buckeyes Getting Lots of NCAA Prediction Love
While Ohio State is in arguably the toughest region of the bracket and coming off a disappointing loss to Michigan State in the conference championship game, lots of folks are still drinking the scarlet and gray kool-aid. With yesterday's news that Syracuse's Fab Melo has been declared ineligible, the Buckeyes stock will even sky rocket all that much higher.
Surprisingly, Vegas oddsmakers are high on Ohio State. Even before the news that the Orangemen would be short-handed in the tournament, they gave OSU the second best odds in the field behind Kentucky. In fact, Mike Colbert of Cantor Gaming was very open in his praise for the Buckeyes.
"That probably surprises some people because they got beat yesterday by Michigan State in their conference championship," he said.
In any sport, Las Vegas usually makes teams more expensive if they're popular among bettors. But the Buckeyes' odds are based simply on the idea that they're a better team than the others, Colbert said.
"You put them on a neutral court against any of these other teams other than Kentucky and we think that they're the second-best team overall," he said. "We're putting these numbers up purely based off of how good we think these teams are and how good their chances are to win the championship."
Vegas isn't alone though. A simulation of Jeff Sagarin's numbers in the computer also has Matta's squad as the second most likely winner behind the Wildcats. Running the numbers 68 million times the computer has the Buckeyes winning just over 8 million times. In fact, the computer was also very high on the Big Ten conference in general. Michigan State was the third most likely champion with 5.4 million, ahead of Kansas, North Carolina and Syracuse.
If all of that doesn't impress you, just remember President Obama selected the Buckeyes to come out of the East Region!
Meyer Talks Spring Football
With spring football just around the corner, Meyer met with the media yesterday to give an update on where the team stands. There were a lot of nuggets from the presser, but competition and rewards were the major theme.
“(I’ll) put them in environments and situations where I want to see who the fighters are, who’s going to compete,” Meyer said “There’ll be rewards at the end of the day.
While that sounds like typical coach speech, Meyer unveiled a bit of the tactics he will enforce to find out who the real competitors on the team are. It's a whole incentive-based strategy designed to reward winners. It starts when the team returns at the end of the month. Meyer is doing something he calls the Champions Dinner, something he brings with him from previous stops. Those have done things the right way on the football field and have stayed out of trouble off-campus and academically will get a nice meal and some get some nice gear. Those that haven't, well, the will not eat as well.
It goes beyond one meal though. Once they hit the field in spring practice, starting jobs will be at stake and competition will be the name of the game.
“Every Wednesday and Saturday in spring (after the first week) there will be a winner and a loser when you leave the practice field,” he said. “It’s a competition. Once again, it’s creating environments and situations where I want to see who the fighters are and who the guys are who are going to compete.
“There will be rewards at the end of the day. You can get off the field with Gatorade if you win and if not, you drink out of a water hose and do some running. That includes the coaching staff.”
You have to love the attitude and the tenacity. It is going to be a fun year! For more coverage from the press conference, including Meyer talking about which players have been standing out thus far, click here and here.
Hoke Defends Use of "Ohio"
When the brackets came out at the beginning of the week, Buckeye fans got a nice chuckle about Michigan getting paired with Ohio. After a year of listening to Brad Hoke trying to insult the Ohio State by calling them "Ohio," something John Beilein picked up as well, it was pretty ironic to see the Wolverines taking on the Bobcats.
Not everyone is laughing though. Former OSU assistant and current Ohio basketball coach found it to be "disrespectful." Honestly, I would too after the season they put together this year. He and the folks in Athens shouldn't plan on Hoke or the Michigan administration to quit anything soon though. Hoke admitted to AnnArbor.com that he has been using the phrase since he was a 10 year old boy and shot back that it was not disrespectful. In fact, he made it clear that he doesn't envision ever giving up the phrase.
"I’ve been doing if for 43 years. I'm 53 years old. I was 10 years old when I started the Ohio, and I'm not stopping now."