Blog Archives

Dancing with a Spring in Your Step

Despite yesterday’s nail-biting finishes and overtime suspense, it’s probably fair to say that most people living in 4-season locations aren’t hoping for an overtime of winter. Spring is officially here: rain, slices of sun and all.

The madness of winter is over.

Now winter is not bad, but when you park your car outside and scrape ice in freezing temperatures every morning, that routine can only be relieved by March 20th and the warmer days that follow. And seeing as it’s Friday, that’s protocol to have some fun. Therefore, a clip from Boy Meets World is in order.

It makes sense, don’t worry.

Today is the first day of Spring, which signifies the transition to warmer weather. People are anxiously yearning for things to get hotter. March Madness has tipped off. Or, as it’s also known, “the big dance” has arrived. Television broadcasters are consistently playing back classic, nostalgic highlights from past tournament games, including the 1990s.

With that, I give you a clip of the starting 5 men (plus its 6th man) of Boy Meets World (a classic ’90s sitcom), dancing to the song, “Hot Stuff.”

Feeny: As smooth as D’Angelo Russell.

Pandemonium’s Playground is Open

A tornado unlike anything you’ve ever seen before is coming…

No, not that one. Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! will premiere on July 22nd at 9 p.m. ET on the Syfy network.

This tornado is filled with colossal upsets, trending dunks, dancing mascots and buzzer-beaters is finally touching ground in basketball arenas all across the United States today. March Madness, the wildest sports tournament in existence, is tipping off for the final 64 teams after a few teams were required to take an entrance exam for admittance earlier this week. From coast-to-coast, American companies will experience its lowest output for the year.

However, employee excitement levels will be off the charts.

Nobody has figured out an algorithm that is perfectly compatible for this tournament during any given year. That’s probably why sports fans anxiously await this momentous occasion. Any person has a shot at predicting correctly. The rationales for picking Team X or Team Y between Person A and Person B can see a variance as gaping as the Grand Canyon. And more surprising is that logic can and will only determine some of the results. The nature of March Madness is exactly that: madness. Therefore, each person’s bracket needs to have a few major upsets. There should probably be a Cinderella run by a mid-major. Mascot superiority and jersey colors will be determining factors. A few top teams will play exactly as expected. A 16-seed will never win.

As crazy as it reads, I strongly believe that a 16-seeded David will slay a Goliath sometime in the next few to several years. When this happens, the tournament will be deemed certifiably mad.

For some fun, listed below are a few highlights from my bracket:

  • Every Iowa school (#7 Iowa, #3 Iowa State, #5 Northern Iowa) will win at least its first round game
  • #11 The Dayton Flyers will see good fortune playing in Ohio, specifically in nearby Columbus
  • #1 Duke and #2 UVA will meet in the Final Four for an epic ACC clash
  • #7 Wichita State will shock the world and bring the entire state of Kentucky to tears en route to another Final Four
  • #1 Wisconsin v #4 UNC will be must-see television
  • The Arizona Wildcats will officially return to the college basketball summit by winning the 2015 National Championship with Sandra Bullock (“that wildcat behind the wheel”) sitting court side

Jim Nantz: You’re on.

A Tale of Two Halves

The first half was a disaster. The second half had its disastrous moments too, but it showed potential.

The Ohio State men’s basketball team lost at Louisville last night 64-55 as part of the established ACC/Big Ten Challenge late last night. After the first evening of games, the Big Ten is dominating the competition 6-2.

Yes, the Big Ten is still is a pretty good/awesome conference.

To say the first 20 minutes were difficult to watch as a Buckeye fan would be accurate. It looked like most everything, but basketball. Shooting awareness and concentration was near zero and Ohio State’s zone defense led to the zoning out of its defenders, which created open layups and three-point shots by the Cardinals. Conventional wisdom would typically dictate a 35-18 lead for Louisville, ranked #5 in America (hmm?) a comfortable second half and eventual victory.

It was anything but that.

After both teams played a sloppy first half, each had their moments again and again (and again) in the fast-paced second half. However, the difference was an energized and determined Buckeyes defense that caused turnover after turnover and fought off rebound after rebound to cut the deficit to as low as 5 points late in the game. Unfortunately for Thad Matta’s guys, missed open shots, a three pointer and free throws were the final bricks (ironic, right?) in the wall preventing a magnificently improbable come-from-behind win on the road.

There were a few positive moments from the game for Ohio State, but mostly, it was negative. The Ohio State team is old and young with 5 seniors and 5 freshman and a couple sophomores. This team just experienced its first true challenge against a quick, physical and talented opponent in a hostile environment on the road. OSU’s players were sloppy, disorganized, slow, unaware of their surroundings/tall shot blockers and not competent in running a set offensive or defensive system…until the second half. The defensive pressure was quintessential Thad Matta pressure, they countered well off of turnovers and they started to make some shots. The shooting still needs vast improvement, but it got better as the game went on. The intensity was undeniably impressive. Most of the starry-eyed freshman had their moments, but nothing spectacular. And then, whoa, there was the free throw line. Let me put it this way: free throws clearly aren’t free.

This may read as a harsh criticism of the Buckeyes. Good. They needed it for their own good.

Last night’s challenge was not against an elite high school basketball academy or the Sacred Heart Pioneers. The Louisville Cardinals were a difficult opponent and emblematic of what they’ll face throughout the Big Ten season (in some form or another), as well as in March Madness, if they make it. Matta does have that minimum 20-win season on his resume…But Jae’Sean Tate, Kam Williams and D’Angelo Russell (especially Russell) need to understand team basketball, relentless concentration and the highly-talented world of college hoops. The game moves more quickly than high school and if they keep running and shooting like it’s only about them, then that first half will be on an exhausting repeat like Groundhog Day all season long. Seniors Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson will also need to add consistency to their existing basketball arsenals. But this Ohio State team needed that ass whooping last night to wake them up to the realization of how top teams play and the virtues of hard work (ie – the necessary second half defense to avoid complete embarrassment). The current dynamics of this team include exciting flashes of raw talent, experienced guidance and athleticism and the yet-to-be-determined end result.

At bare minimum, Ohio State should first strive to be a hard-working team with speed, an overwhelming defense, consistent offensive and an unknown potential no team wants to risk facing if and when that single game elimination scenario comes up/is earned come March. That is a realistically attainable goal for this squad because the season has just barely begun. There’s plenty of time.

After that, anything is possible. For at least 40 minutes, the Buckeyes have now seen, experienced and felt what happens when they play lost. As strange as it sounds, viewers found out more about Ohio State than Louisville last night. Ohio State, however clumsily, nearly pulled off an impossible comeback with a warrior’s heart.

Hopefully, The Ohio State Buckeyes continue to play like they did in the second half, yet never forget that first half.

“Don’t you, forget about me…”

12:15 p.m. Pens, pencils and fingers down. Let the madness begin!

March 21st is not only the day the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament starts (sans play-in games), but is also the second day of Spring. An important question to ask ourselves before the sealing wax is impressed on the envelope containing our acutely examined NCAA bracket is, “Which team will be ‘reborn’ during this tournament?”

There is no consensus “best team” in the nation. Number one seeds are naturally perceived as the favorites and most likely to win. However, Louisville, Indiana, Gonzaga and Kansas have not been dominant throughout the entire season. Each has had its stumbles and one, in particular, has endured embarrassing losses (cough cough–Kansas). Neither of these teams have a “golden ticket” to the National Championship or the Final Four.

In terms of being ‘reborn,’ this references to a team or teams that are very good, but have had a couple bad setbacks and therefore lost the attention of the country and commentators. One of the vital factors, if not the most important in making this determination, is the man who sits second in from the scorers table. A college head coach, more so than in the NBA, can spark an improbable comeback and maintain composure with his players in the most frantic and stressful situations.

The evening of January 19th was a prime example of the magic that is yearned for every year in college basketball. The game was close throughout and literally came down to the last play of the game. Relive the madness, January edition.

Brad Stevens is the coolest coach under pressure in college basketball today. His teams are fundamentally sound and he is refreshing in his demeanor. Stevens is grateful in victory and gracious in defeat. The Bulldogs did lose five games in conference and finished third at the conclusion of the Atlantic 10 regular season. Even despite their past success, most have put them in the, pardon the pun, “doghouse.”

I am not predicting Butler to win the national championship, but they did beat Gonzaga (#1 seed) and Indiana (#1 seed) in close games this season. Usually, victories in late March come down to a final shot or defensive stand…

And is it just me, or does it seem like Brad Stevens was born for this.