Sunday, February 25, 2007

Big Ten Champions!

The Ohio State Buckeyes have won the Big Ten Conference regular season title. This statement is true for 2 different teams, the OSU men's basketball team, and the OSU women's basketball team. The women played their last regular season game today at Michigan, and defeated the Wolverines 72-58 to secure the outright Big Ten title, finishing the regular season 26-2 (15-1).

Now on to the men. The #1 (coaches poll) Buckeyes played host to the #1 (AP Poll) Wisconsin Badgers. The circumstances were simple: a win today would clinch the Big Ten regular season title despite the fact that there is one more game to go at Michigan....or a loss today would create a situation in which OSU could still share the title by beating Michigan, or possibly still win it outright if they beat UM and Wisconsin loses to MSU. They chose the former, and beat the Badgers 49-48 in a thriller at the Schottenstein Center to win their second outright Big Ten title in as many years. The game was close the whole way, with the largest lead by either team being only 6 points. The Badgers controlled the game in the early minutes, but the Bucks came back and held a 25-22 lead at halftime. In the second half things got really tight. With about a minute left UW took a one point lead, and the Bucks failed to score on their next possession. OSU began fouling in order to send UW to the line for one-and-one, and by the time they got to the bonus there was only 20 seconds left. When the Wisconsin shooter missed the front end of the one-and-one, the Bucks recovered the rebound and called timeout with 16 seconds left. The ensuing Buckeye possession ended with Mike Conley driving the lane and putting up a shot that bounced around the rim and then fell in with 3.9 seconds to go. Wisconsin would have one more chance, but to the dismay of the Badger faithful, UW's last second shot would fall harmlessly to the floor after being cleanly blocked by Ron Lewis. The win improved the Buckeyes record to 26-3 (14-1). Ivan Harris lead the Bucks in scoring with 13 points and Conley and Oden each had 11.

It was an awesome game, and the crowd was louder than any I've ever been a part of in an arena. The one thing that made me mad was the officials, they were terrible. The called almost none of the seemingly obvious fouls but instead called a multitude of ticky tack off-the-ball fouls. After one call where Oden was caught "traveling", despite the fact he was practically being raped from behind, the crowd went ballistic and started throwing their rally towels toward the court. Only a few made it to the hard wood, but many could be seen flying into the lower deck after being thrown from the upper deck.

After the game I stayed around for the championship trophy presentation and net cutting ceremony. Ohio State is now the first school in NCAA history to win outright conference championships in football, men's basketball and women's basketball in the same sports year. It was truly a great day to be a Buckeye.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Bucks are one win away from outright Big Ten title

Both the men's and women's basketball teams at OSU need to win their next game to secure their respective outright Big Ten regular season titles. On Wednesday the men defeated Penn State 68-60, and today the women also defeated Penn State, 78-61. Now the men's game was no walk in the park. The Nittany Lions came out strong and actually had a 3 point lead at the half. But the Buckeyes would come back in the 2nd half and eventually take the momentum of the game, resulting in the 8 point win.
So here is the situation for the men: They have two games left, and a 1 game lead over the Wisconsin Badgers. If they beat UW on Sunday, they clinch the outright Big Ten title, regardless of the season's final game, at Michigan. If they lose, a win at Michigan would still get the Bucks a split title, or even the outright title, if Wisconsin were to lose their last game (vs MSU). I'll be at the game Sunday, and it should be a good one.
Now for the women: They have already clinched at least a tie for the Big Ten regular season title. They lead Purdue and MSU by one game, with one game to go. The lady Bucks last game is at Michigan, and a win would secure the outright title. I'm 99% confident of a win, because Michigan sucks. No, this is not just a figure of speech, at 3-10 in the league, UM's women's team is the 10th best team in the Big Ten.

Now for some Cavs news. On Wednesday Cleveland won a 86-85 thriller in Toronto that broke the Raptors' 8 game home winning streak. The winning points came from the "Wild Thing" Anderson Verejao who grabbed an offensive rebound and slammed it home with 16 seconds to go. Tonight though, the Cavs fell at home to the Bulls 84-78. Cleveland is now 32-23.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Variety Post

OSU Basketball:
The Buckeyes defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers 85-67 today in Minneapolis. It was a good team effort and a solid win. The scoring was certainly spread around...Greg Oden had 19 points, Ron Lewis had 16, Othello Hunter had 15, and Ivan Harris had 14. Ohio State is now 24-3 overall, 12-1 in the Big Ten (tied with Wisconsin for 1st), and after Florida's loss to Vanderbilt has a good chance of being #1 come Monday.

NBA All Star Game:
Like normal, the NBA All Star Game was crappy. You can always tell the players don't really care and there is never any defense. The West won over the East 153-132. Last years MVP Lebron James had 28 points, making him the highest scorer for the Eastern Conference.

Wow! What a crazy finish to the Daytona 500. I will say, I was pulling for Martin at the end, and was disappointed when Harvick passed him by a nose to win. The crash that took place behind Harvick and Martin was amazing. Cars were sliding and wrecking all over the place. The driver of the #7 crossed the finish line sliding upside down and on fire. He was fine though, his car flipped back over on the infield grass and he was able to escape. I've seen crazy wrecks and I've seen close finishes, but I can't recall a time where there was a combination of both right at the end of such a big race. I was happy that there was such an exciting ending. This truly was "The Great American Race."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hint of Spring

Today marks he beginning of another season of Indians baseball, as it is report day for pitchers and catchers. In the coming days past and prospective players will start filtering in to camp at Winter Haven, Florida. The full team report day is February 20th and the first spring training game will be March 1st. The Tribe's front office has been busy this past off season, singing several relievers including Keith Foulke, Roberto Hernandez, Aaron Fultz, Joe Borowski and Cliff Politte to improve the bullpen. They also brought in Trot Nixon and David Dellucci as well as a few others to help beef up the bench. Some big names returning to Cleveland in 2007 are Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta, Casey Blake, Hector Luna, Jason Michaels, Paul Byrd, Jake Westbrook, Cliff Lee, and CC Sabathia. Also returning from last year are some young and prospective players like Shin-Soo Chin, Andy Marte, Ryan Garko, Joe Inglett and Fernando Cabrera. Most of these guys will have to compete for their spots on the team during spring training, as well as a few of the new players. Another note is that Brad Snyder, who is from my hometown of Bellevue, OH will be attending his second year of spring training for the Tribe. Best of luck to him on making the team.....though he'll probably end up in AAA Buffalo this year. Last year he played for AA Akron.
Here's to a good season. Go Tribe.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

LA Lakers come to Cleveland.....and get defeated

Pictured above, Sasha Pavlovic drives the lane to score, and all 5 Lakers have a good view of it. Today the Cleveland Cavaliers played host to the Los Angeles Lakers, and sent them on their way after posting a 99-90 victory. The Cavs started out weakly, and were down by 7 early in the 1st period. But they would manage to come back and lead 52-41 at halftime. In the 3rd quarter, the Lakers out scored Cleveland 26-12 and held a small lead in the early 4th period, and things were looking bad. However, the Cavs would out score LA 35-23 in the last period, securing the win. Lebron James had 18 points, and 8 rebounds, abd was not the Cavs leading scorer. That would be Pavlovic, who had 21 points, with 13 coming in the 4th period. He has been doing extremely well as of late, and having the best year I've seen him play. The "wild thing" Anderson Varejao had a great day as well with 12 points and 6 rebounds and Illgauskus scored 17 and grabbed 7 rebounds. It was truly a team effort win, which helped overcome would could be called a "sub par" day for James. The Cavs are now 30-21.
The Cavs were in LA last night to complete the home/away series with the Lakers. Cleveland won 114-108, earning their first victory in LA since 1997. Lebron James led the team with 38 points and Aderson Varejao had 15 points and 11 rebounds. 7 different Cavaliers threw in points, with the lowest point total for any of them being 11. It was a big win and a good way to head into the All Star break. At 31-22, the Cavs trail Detroit by 2 games for both the division and conference lead .

Saturday, February 10, 2007

It was ugly...but it's still a "W"

Wow. Today the OSU men's basketball team played host to the Purdue Boilermakers. I was in attendance, not in the band, but in the upper deck with a ticket I got from a roommate. It was a very frustrating game to watch. It seemed as if neither team could really get control of the game or momentum. Every time Ohio State had a chance to extend a small 2-4 point lead after a Purdue miss or turnover, they failed to score, and things would end up tied again. At halftime the Bucks lead the Boilers (makers thereof) 33-30. In the second half things got worse....with 7 minutes left to play, Purdue had a 5 point lead. But then the Buckeyes came back and took a one point lead, which finally got the place going and the crowd into the game. In the closing minutes the game would go back and forth a bit, and finally the Bucks pulled ahead by 5. In the last minute, the Bucks hit their free throws and escaped with a 63-56 win. A few keys to why it was so close were: 1. Oden got into foul trouble and as a result only played 21 minutes and was held to 14 points, 2. Turnovers and wasted possessions, 3. missed free throws and missed three pointers.
But all in all, a win is a win is a win. Ohio State is now 22-3 (10-1) and is tied with Wisconsin for first place in the Big Ten.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Cavs defeat Champs, Puck Bucks pull one out

The defending NBA Champion Miami Heat were in Cleveland Friday night, and the Heat weren't so hot. I did not get to see any of this game, because I was at the OSU hockey game, but I just saw a SportsCenter highlight of the game and it seems as if LeBron had several big dunks. He also had 29 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Larry Houghes tossed in 16 points and Sasha Pavlovic had 15 points, a real good game for him. Ilgauskus and Gooden were rebounding machines, Z had 10 and Drew grabbed 13, as well as 10 points, making him the only Cavalier with a double-double. All of this added up to a 103-79 blowout win over Shaq, D-Wade and company. A very big win at home it was, and Cleveland is now 29-21 and 2 games shy of Detroit for both the division and conference lead.
On to hockey.
Tonight I played in the pep band for the OSU vs Northern Michigan hockey game. Now of all the schools in Michigan I'd say NMU is the one I have the least of a problem with. They play in Marquette, a town in the Upper Peninsula, which is the one part of that state up north that I like and would like to visit again. Also, I've been told that NMU's band director went to OSU. But none-the-less, their school has the word Michigan in it, so fuck 'em
Anyway, the game was one of the better ones I've seen. There were lots of penalties and big hits. OSU had a 1-0 lead after the 1st period. Then NMU took a 2-1 lead, but the Bucks tied it up at 2 all just before the 2nd intermission. The Buckeyes would score the only goalin the 3rd period and skate away with a 3-2 victory, making their current record 11-13-5 (not the best year for hockey at OSU). There was a good atmosphere in the Schott and I had a fun time.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Beating Michigan, it never gets old...

We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan. These words were heard numerous time tonight in the Jerome Shottenstein Center, where the basketball Buckeyes took care of that team up north. I was at the game, in the pep band, and at first it seemed very strange how things were going. First off, the heaving snow that is currently falling in Columbus must have altered the traffic patterns of the fans quite a bit, because at tip off the place was only half full and only made it to I'd say around 80-85% full, and not till about mid way through the 1st half. Then, the game was close for the entire first half, with Oden missing quite a few shots in the paint. Of course, the fact that the refs were letting UM players get away with about anything short of stabbing him when he had the ball might have had something to do with it. There were constant uncalled body checks and hacks at his arms....and I was getting fairly pissed at the time (I'm sure the guy in front of me would agree if you asked him).
In the second half things finally started shifting permanently in favor of the Buckeyes. The 3 started falling more, there was better rebounding, and there were a few fast breaks, dunks and big blocks that got the croud loud and the momentum going OSU's way. The lead eventually became two digit and then in crunch time when UM had to foul, the Bucks hit their free throws and ended the night with a 76-63 win over those bastards from the north. Greg Oden had 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 blocks and Mike Conley lead the scoring with 23 points as well as 6 assists and even a block. It was a good game and I'm glad I had the privilege of being in attendance for this rivalry game. While the OSU/UM rivalry is pretty much all football, it's nice to see us dominate them in the other major college sport as well. Go Bucks! Michigan sucks.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Super Sunday

Today was a good day. I'm no die hard Colts fan, but I was definitely was rooting for them tonight. It was nice to see Peyton Manning finally win the NFL championship, he's a great player and I like his personality. Congrats to the Colts and to Indianaplolis. I wonder how Baltimore fans are feeling right now, after seeing their former team win a championship in another city. Oh wait, I guess I do know what that feels like.....
And I will say, the commercials weren't the best....I've seen much better years for Super Bowl commercials.

In OSU news, I was at the women's basketball game today, and the Buckeyes beat Iowa 85-49. The best part of the game came when Jessica Davenport became the first player in Big Ten women's basketball history to reach the mark of 2000 career points, 1000 career rebounds and 300 career blocks. She just flat out dominates in the paint and is a great free throw shooter and team leader. She is definitely destined to have her number (50) retired and hung in the rafters of the Shottenstein well as a successful WNBA career.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Huge win for OSU

For the Buckeyes, playing in East Lancing is always a challenge. The Spartans of Michigan State always play well at home, but the Bucks handed them their first home loss of this season. Greg Oden had 16 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks to lead Ohio State to a 63-54 win. Last week, OSU lead MSU at home by 20 at the half, but squandered away the big lead in the second half, and narrowly escaped with a 2 point win....I was there and it was very frustrating. This week, the game was close the whole way. Ohio State lead by a small margin all throughout the game, and there were a few times MSU got within 5 and once tied it. However, the Spartans never could get the lead and in the end the Bucks hit the free throws they needed to secure the victory. This is a big win because it keeps OSU tied with Wisconsin for 1st in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes have 5 games leading up to the rematch with the Badgers, and they should win all of them fairly easily. If that happens, the Feb. 25th match up vs Wisconsin in Columbus could end up being for the Big Ten regular season title.