Block O Table Recap, Shooty Hoops Edition

Posted by Vico in Block O Table, Hoops |

The Block O Table
The conference tournaments are over and the brackets are out.  The men’s team, in spite of a less than desirable finish to the regular season, rebounded well enough in the Big Ten tournament to make their selection into the dance a certainty.  The 8th seeded Buckeyes will be going to nearby Dayton to open up tournament play in an 8-9 game against an American-born English actress a color a tiny liberal arts college — one no doubt filled with nerds — in upstate New York.  The women’s team, the regular season and conference Big Ten tournament champions, head down the street to open up their tournament against Sacred Heart Hospital University.  In anticipation, I asked a few questions a week ago for the consideration of readers and other bloggers.  The turnout was quite impressive.  Below, I summarize the responses, providing my own comments as I see fit.

Bloggers: The Silver Bullet, Fear the Elf, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, Team Secret Falcon

Commenters: Greg, ShoeWorker, Matt, Ken, Todd of the not Boeckman variety, El Caballo de Sangre, BK, Gabby Jay, Brian Fantana, Wil

01. Evan Turner was not named the Big Ten Player of the Year.  This is A) highway robbery or B) petty theft or C) good call/no big deal (I didn’t need my wallet, car keys and shoes anyways, sir)?  Really though, do you feel Turner was jobbed? Why?

A lot of diversity of opinions on this one.  First, give people volunteered the opinion that Evan Turner was rightfully passed over for MVP and that any objections to this are to an act of no general consequence.  For Matt, consistency was key and Turner, at times, certainly lacked it.  For example, the point totals may have been there in almost every game, but the shot selection varied wildly.  El Caballo feels the same way, drawing attention to his affinity for turnovers as WSAS also does.  Without a consistent handle, there’s no reason to expect him to be Player of the Year.  Ken simply says it’s no big deal.  Men of the Scarlet and Gray (MotSaG) draws a connection between this MVP Award and the similar awards for baseball, where the expectation is to be on a championship-caliber team.  Ohio State isn’t that team.

Greg, Brian Fantana, ShoeWorker and BK think this is petty theft, though there’s even some variation here.  Greg admits that a better case could be made for Turner over Lucas, but that the slight here is marginal at best.  ShoeWorker agrees.  Fantana admits that it’s hard to swallow insofaras the fact that Turner carried this team, but abides by the rule of “best player on the best team”.  BK puts a nice spin on it, saying that the general myopia from the voters should be forgiven because at least Buckeye fans know that this team might be a single-digit win team without Turner.

Most respondents let loose of their inner homer, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Fear The Elf (FTE) thinks that Turner was absolutely jobbed, but relates this highway robbery with other occasions where a deserving MVP-type was passed over.  Unlike Fantana or MotSaG, the slight feels more real for FTE.  Team Secret Falcon (TSF) makes a very good point in saying that Michigan State is still a top team in the Big Ten without Lucas; Ohio State would stink out loud without Turner this season and their would’ve been audible groans of displeasure around Columbus.  The Silver Bullet (TSB) feels the same way, giving greater privilege to Turner’s statistics.  On the note of Lucas being nothing greater than the best player on the best team, Wil spins the question into another argument: fine, not Evan Turner, but why not Talor Battle or Manny Harris? I agree especially with the first name mentioned there: Talor Battle was the only other viable Player of the Year candidate outside of Evan Turner, in my humble opinion.  I think George Mason found that out last night.  Todd has a similarly cynical view of Lucas: his stats don’t immediately seem like Player of the Year stats.

I guess the arbitrary “winner” of this question goes to Gabby, who kind of cheated because he overheard me talking about this.  If the Player of the Year award goes to the best player on the best team, then why did DJ White of the Hoosiers win it last year?  They were the best team for a stretch, but fell apart at the end to finish 3rd in the Big Ten.  So then why not Brian Butch if the award is reducible to the best player on the best team.  To be fair: I agree with that decision considering how much DJ White meant to that team last year even with the emerging Eric Gordon also bringing in freshman of the year.  But why DJ White likely won it is not why Lucas won it.  I think this may even hold for Alando Tucker in 2007.  Fallacies of ecological inference aside, the point is that even though this award usually goes to the best player on the best team (Terrance Dials, for example, in 2006), this suggests that there’s an inconsistent voting rule for this award.  Buckeye fans, and Penn State fans, have a right to feel a little miffed here.  Though, perhaps if Michigan State didn’t run away with the regular season crown by 4 games, this decision would’ve been a little harder.   Ohhhh well.

02. You might have noticed, but the women’s basketball team has been on quite a roll recently.  They won their 5th straight Big Ten title won their second Big Ten tournament.  They’re destined to play their first two games in Columbus and will, by all logic, be on ESPN/ESPN2 for it.  Do you plan to follow them as well or am I really the only one who cares about this team? and

Not a lot of excitement for the women’s team, I take it.  Most responses were here were a resounding “no” or “wake me when they make it past the first weekend”, but some others volunteed their support.  ShoeWorker wants to see this team finally get into the Sweet 16, a feat accomplished only once by Jim Foster since he’s been in Columbus.  I’m interpreting Ken’s one word response of “absolutely” as unqualified support for the women’s team as they prepare for their own tournament run.  Todd, unbeknownst to me, has added incentive to follow the women’s basketball team.

As a high school basketball referee, I do alot of girls basketball games. I had the pleasure of doing one of Jantel Lavender’s games. I w(ill) always follow her. I hope that they get over the hump in the tourney and make a run to at least the sweet sixteen.

Our Honor Defend, Todd.

03. The single biggest thing Ohio State’s men’s team needs to do/change/get in order to turn this team back into a national title contender is ______________.  Why?

The usual suspects came up in this answer.  However, the most original responses came from TSF and BK, who said that Ohio State doesn’t need to do anything.  In Thad Matta’s five years at Ohio State, he’s won 2 Big Ten titles outright, has a Final Four appearance and won the NIT.  The high profile talents brought in are responsible for those highs.  Though their early defections can set back the program to NIT status, they were necessary to compete for a national title in the first place.  After all, the alternative is always the last few years of Jim O’Brien.  No thanks.

Three other unique answers came up.  Brian Fantana wants more rebounds and Wil will likely approve of the upcoming transition to semesters because losing scholarships because of the one-and-dones isn’t fair.  Matt wants a total team effort.

Everyone else brought up basically two things: 1) we need a true point guard and 2) kids need to stay for more than one year.  FTE, WSAS and El Caballo all brought up the need for a true point guard.  FTE thinks that Conley was as much a contributing factor that dominant 2007 team as was anyone on that team.  WSAS again longs for Mike Conley to return to Ohio State, noting especially that the lack of a reliable point guard on this team ultimately has some people playing out of position.  El Caballo agrees, thinking that the threats of one-and-dones are just a necessary fact of life now for college coaches.

The “kids need to stay” argument is pretty straight-forward, and it’s one that I’m most sympathetic to above the others.  With the high turnover that’s likely to happen from kids opting to go pro after only a year at Ohio State, each successive team gets younger and younger.  The team gets a little more sensitive to the injuries to the veterans it does retain, as TSB notes regarding David Lighty.  Conley and Oden get a lot of praise for being rising talents that propeled that team to new heights, but veteran play from guys like Jamar Butler and Ivan Harris were more than helpful.  Ron Lewis was especially helpful, as Xavier may remember all too well.  For Ohio State’s purposes, this just may be a matter of time since Turner has said he’s coming back, Diebler and Lauderdale aren’t going anywhere and Lighty will return next year as a RS Junior.

04. The person on the mens’ team that has been most disappointing this season is _______________________.  Explain.

This was a two horse race between the two big men on the roster all the way.  Wil provided a third party candidate in Noopy Crater (Caballo wanted to as well).  Greg brought up Thad Matta in part, but everyone here picked between BJ Mullens and Dallas Lauderdale.  By my count, this contest is tied at 7-7.  FTE, TSB, TSF, Greg, Shoeworker, BK and Brian Fantana voted in favor of Mullens and MotSaG, Matt, Ken, Todd, WSAS, Caballo and Gabby in favor of Lauderdale.

The argument for BJ is pretty simple.  For the last two years, Ohio State brought in two highly-touted freshmen centers, the first who became an immediate fan favorite and the second having found his niche before leaving for the NBA.  Mullens seems to be the Godfather III in that trilogy.  Okay, and that’s not entirely fair to say about BJ, but he’s struggled in most facets of the game.  He doesn’t have any upper body strength, nor much endurance to speak of, is out of position for rebounds, is soft on defense and is seemingly very skittish when posting up.  Early into the season, I was upset that there weren’t enough post entry passes for Mullens, but after seeing him often tossing the ball back on the perimeter for sheer uncertainty on what to do on offense, I can understand now.  Worse yet for Mullens, he hasn’t had the stellar season at Ohio State needed to secure his top NBA Draft pick status.  His draft stock can only be sliding.

If I had to cast a “tie-breaking” vote of any kind, I’d go with Lauderdale.  Knowing Mullens didn’t have the capacity to take over at the HS level like he was capable of, I consigned his freshman year to what I knew Diebler’s would be in 2007: shaky.  I’m optimistic for BJ’s future at Ohio State, should he come back.  Lauderdale has been more of a let-down for me, which is unfortunate since he’s one of my favorite players on the team.  It’s unfathomable that he couldn’t lead the team in rebounds, but he doesn’t.  As Matt said, there’s very little reason for him not to be putting up offensive rebounds and garbage points, though I’ll forgive Lauderdale for the fact that caroms off the long jumpers that Ohio State relies on are hard to reliably chase down.  Others have mentioned just how great he looked in the first part of this season, only to regress from there.  On my end, I’m most disappointed in how little control he has of his upper body and the offensive fouls he picks up on a whim are frustrating.  I’m hopeful he shines next year as an upperclassmen.

05. This country finally had an election that had some kind of purpose and value.  I’m talking, of course, about the Whitest Man Election held at Club TrillionShenanigans followed and there was no clear winner.  Nevertheless, who did you vote for in this most important election and why?

Looking over the results to this question led me to believe that the preponderance of votes for Titus came from the fact that his blog at Club Trillion was great enough to merit him getting the vote.  Otherwise, Kyle Madsen is clearly the whitest player on that team.  Caballo admitted as much and Gabby meant it when he voted for Titus.  Wil and FTE offered other reasons for their vote, related to Titus’ whiteness.  For Wil, anyone that makes as many professional wrestling references as Titus does has to be the whitest man on the team.  For FTE, mentioning O-Town (oh God I remember them) was enough to push him over Madsen.

Still, it seems like Madsen is the only real option for this prestigious award.  He’s from Dublin, Ohio.  He’s a big golf fan.  He’s from Dublin, Ohio.  He listens to the Counting Crows, a band so tacky that only white people could like them.  He attended Vanderbilt for a brief period.  Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, he’s from Dublin, Ohio.  In fairness to Titus, I did go to Brownsburg, Indiana on my trip to watch the Buckeyes play Butler last season.  It is plenty white.  However, it is no Dublin, Ohio.

Of course, the not-yet-a parent in me wants to simply say “kids, kids… you’re both so brightly white that you couldn’t get past a blind man”.  That, or say as Todd said: Matt Sylvester retired that award years ago.  He was so white and baby-faced that I called him Pickles — as in Tommy Pickles, of that Rugrats cartoon — when he was playing at Ohio State.  See: here and here.  It was more pronounced when he had a buzzcut.

EC. Call your shot here: how far do the Buckeyes get in the Big Ten Tournament?

Rather than go one-by-one about how we were all wrong, it’d be easier to declare FTE the winner of this question.  Shoeworker gets credit for dancing around the idea of an upset of Michigan State.  Todd gets credit for saying that Purdue would beat Ohio State in the finale.  But FTE was almost spot on:

Beating Michigan State, in which Turner outplays Lucas, and blogosphere is aflame with musings of Turner > Lucas. Then lose to Purdue, and blogosphere is ablaze with Hummel>Turner>Lucas sentiments. A bit of a “what have you done for me lately” thing.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed their time here.  Next one will be in early April as the thoughts of the Spring Game and NFL draft loom large.


Written by: Vico | full bio

Vico is the nom de guerre of the founder and current website chair of Our Honor Defend. He is currently living in exile in Alabama.


6 Responses to “Block O Table Recap, Shooty Hoops Edition”

  1. 1 Fear the Elf

    Man, I wish I would’ve said OSU would beat Purdue. Maybe that would’ve gotten them over the hump.

  2. 2 Todd (Not Boeckman)

    They got about as bad a draw as you could imagine. I would’ve like to see them beat PU and get a 7 seed. Lets blame the elf.

  3. 3 Team Secret Falcon

    watched the game against st johns from 1999 on the big tens greatest games yesterday. gives me hope for a little bit of a run this year. oh wait, the hope is gone. still, it was nice while it lasted…

  4. 4 BK

    This is a really good feature. Fun to get a considered group of opinions to sift through.

  5. 5 Ken

    I agree with BK, this is a fun-feature. Next time I’ll get a little more expansive than “Absolutely”; LOL at myself..

  6. 6 El Caballo de Sangre

    I still want somebody, anybody, to try my thought experiment. Citius, Altius, Fortius and all that.

Leave a Reply