Ohio State 61 at Virginia 63 – 2nd Half

Halftime. Feels good to see Ohio State play so well. They are holding Virginia to 28.6 FG %.

JaQuan Lyle has made some great plus plays for Ohio State, so far. He also had a four possession stretch where the ball was in his hands one moment and in Virginia’s hands the next.

Big test for him in 2nd half. This is him in the game where he threw the water bottle after playing poorly versus MSU last season. Question, JaQuan, is how are you going to react this time?

I think he’ll come out focused and will settle down. He has to feel it in his bones how much of a difference he made in the first half when he was making good decisions. Also, what it felt like to lose control.

Guide your team, JaQuan. You. Can. Do. It.

Jae’Sean Tate is playing well. I’m so proud of Trevor Thompson this season. Making plays against Virginia I didn’t see him make last season. He wasn’t capable of it.

Queen “Is this the real life. Is this just fantasy?”

Answer the UVA run, Buckeyes.

36-30. Answer the run.

Hope I don’t have to type that again.

Timeout. 36-32 Ohio State.

Virginia, obviously, made half time adjustments. 8-0 run to start the 2nd half.

Drop it, Jae’Sean. Take the knock and move on. And he did set an illegal pick.

Answer the run, Buckeyes. Get your composure back. 36-35 after a UVA three.

UVA #33 Salt likes to block shots…hard. Fouls Tate. Timeout.

Can Jae’Sean hit two FTs in a row here?

Hits the first. Hits the 2nd. Mojo on Buckeyes side again?

UVA tip for two. 38-37 Ohio State. Tate turnover. UVA hits a two. UVA 39-38.

Whatever CJ Jackson had for breakfast this morning hope he remembers and keeps eating it. Third three-ball down the well for him.

Thompson hits two free throws. 43-39 Ohio State. 12:44 left.

So nervous right now. Loving finally hits a three! 46-41 Buckeyes.

Buckeyes have answered the UVA run. Now keep answering.


Nervous as can be. This would be a HUGE win if the Buckeyes can get it.

Trevor gets caught in popcorn machine. Foul. Three for him? Time for Micah Potter to add in. Wow. Lyle. I’m laughing. That was so sweet.

Loving with the looong assist to Micah Potter. 50-42 Buckeyes.

To point where I think Buckeyes might be a better team than Virginia?

Perrantes with a three. 50-45 Buckeyes.

Twilight time. What’s going to happen?

Timeout. 7:29

Trevor Thompson hits a FT. 51-46. Buckeyes.

Perrantes is good. Three.

Loving!! Assist to Thompson. Senior play.

C’mon Buckeyes!

Tate w/his fourth foul. Could be big.

Kam has to take the ball at the rim like that.

53-52 Ohio State. Kam makes two FTs. 55-52. 4:20 left.

Perrantes three 55-55.

Lyle answers. 57-52

Great game. Proud no matter what.

Foul on Loving.


Tie game 57-57. Turnover Buckeyes. JaQuan Lyle.

Darted past that dagger. Buckeyes on offense.

Lyle another turnover. UVA converts 57-55.

UVA is more composed. Lyle showed the ball too much to the off the ball defender. Under three minutes. Lots of time left.


Dang. Missed three. Then foul on Loving. UVA FTs.

61-57 UVA with 1:28 left.

Loving with a runner. 61-59. UVA.

Crunch time. Captain Crunch time.

22.6 left. Buckeyes must foul.

20 turnovers for Ohio State. Wow. Has hurt the Buckeyes a lot.


Two free throws for Lyle. 63-61.

Foul Thompson.  5 on him.

UVA misses both. Miracle?

Crossing everything I got for luck. Down two at 63-61.

Thought Lyle should have gone at the rim at all costs.

Great game, though. Think Buckeyes learned a few things tonight.

Buckeyes played this well without a major part of their team on the floor in Keita Bates-Diop.

Ohio State 36 at Virginia 24 – 1st half

Just now was able to turn the TV on. Watching V Tech at Michigan. Tech hits a three to go ahead. Maybe I better turn to another game as I’ve jinxed the Wolverines.

Screw it. I’m staying here. down 71-67, Irvin airballs but ball is picked up before it goes out of bounds. Ensuing passes leave ball in Robinson’s hands, wide open, too. Bad mistake, V Tech. Robinson drills the three. 71-70 with 29.5 left. V Tech guard pushes off.

Irvin misses next shot. V. Tech ball w/4.9 seconds left.  Looks like the Wolverines are going to drop this one at home.

73-70 V Tech w/3.2 left. Must have game for UM? I don’t know. Seems like they have a number of solid wins already this season. But likely one they would have liked to have

Game – Robinson misses three to tie as time runs out.

Buckeyes are up.

I have hopes the Buckeyes can pull a slight surprise tonight because let’s face it, they still have doubters nationally.

BUCKEYES lead 1-0!!! : )  Stop the game right now. Bucks win!

3-0 Ohio State. Stop the game.  Stop the game, I say. No? Okay. Play on.

Dang 3-3. Starting to get a feeling, though. But I won’t say it out loud. Potter with a three. 8-3 Ohio State.

Lyle looks good, except for that turnover. Circus move. Lyle to Tate. Boom 12-7 Buckeyes.  Timeout

Buckeye are fighting. Turnover by Trevor Thompson but then a defensive rebound on the other end. Lyle makes two shots on other end but no points???

Have to say it the bun does not look good on Virginia’s #5. Thompson with 2! Nice bounce pass from Tate. Assist.

Buckeyes 14-9 lead after a UVA three. Timeout.

10:48 left. Can’t ask for a better start. We’re competing. Unless the UVA D dials in and shuts Ohio State down the Buckeyes will be in this game the rest of the way.

UVA #4 is pretty good. ANDRE WESSON! Nice, but lucky pass (maybe) from Thompson. Layup. Fouled. Converts old-fashioned three. 17-11 Buckeyes.

Okay, three by Tate. He makes those, UVA is going to get beat.

Remember the kid from A League of Their Own? “You’re gonna lose. You’re gonna lose.” : )

22-11. Ohio State has doubled up the #6 team in NCAA.

Three by UVA. 22-14. Timeout. 7:37 left.

24-14 – Lyle steal and layup.

Tate had a wide open layup but passed it outside. Think he’d like to have that one back. 24-16 UVA with two on other end.

Yes, Marc Loving has to got to basket. TWO! Keep it simple, JaQuan! Lucky to be kicked by UVA. It’s okay, though, I like an aggressive Lyle. Long as he’s taking care of business, it’s all good.

Trevor Thompson with the out on the court D! Way-To-Go! Forces a travel.

CJ Jackson with a three! 29-16 – CJ Jackson with a 2nd three! My goodness. Timeout.

Runs. Answer runs and Ohio State will be fine. 32-21. Ohio State.

Timeout Ohio State.

Lyle has to get back in synch. SIMPLE.

Trevor Thompson saves JaQuan Lyle. Better say thank you later to Trevor, JaQuan.

Trevor Thompson is most improved player so far on Ohio State.

CJ Jackson somehow gets an over the top assist to Jae’Sean Tate.

36-24 Buckeyes after UVA’s bun man makes two FTs.


Win the 2nd half, too, Ohio State. You can do it. Rooting for JaQuan Lyle to get back in the groove. If he does the Buckeyes will be fine.





BIG 10/ACC Challenge Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan State impressions


  • Interested in Illinois/NC State game…will veer off of Illini a bit when I get a chance to see Cleveland East Tech’s Markell Johnson on court.
  • Wisconsin 69 / Syracuse 55 with 4:26 left…this game is toast…
  • Iowa 4 Notre Dame 3 16:05…left in 1st…two safeties and a field goal?
  • This one is at ND…Always will remember watching UCLA’s 88 game win streak stopped there by the Irish…Adrian Dantley was a beast…John Shumate was a fave of mine, too…UCLA had Bill Walton and slim Keith Wilkes…
  • Can Iowa stop dribble drives now?
  • Illinois 15 NC State 10…10:51 1st half
  • NC State’s Markell Johnson with the steal, drive, score and opportunity for and one. He’s fast, folks. Great body control on that move.
  • See that Wisconsin won. What happened to Penn State? Okay, good. The Nittany Lions won, too.
  • 23 up Illinois/NC State. 6:56
  • Notre Dame 27/ Iowa 21 6:46 left 1st half…
  • Iowa’s Peter Jok is a taller model of Shawn Respert?
  • Fran McCaffery hit with a tech…
  • ND 31 / Iowa 21..Notre Dame with 12/13 FTS & Iowa 2/2…that disparity likely why McCaferry is bent sideways…
  • Michigan State 6 Duke 7…15:03
  • Izzo working the officials….I really didn’t think that was a foul. How could you think that was a foul. Foul on Cassius Winston.
  • Gahanna’s Nick Ward gets a shoulder to the chin on defense…scores a nice layup on other end…
  • Duke’s Luke Kennard on the drive with a hand out on defender to create space…
  • Nick Ward scores again–>Dunk…MSU 12 Duke 11…11:59 1st half…
  • I’ll catch the rest of this game tomorrow…
  • NC State 33 Ilinois 32 — Halftime
  • Iowa 36 Notre Dame 41 -…Peter Jok buries a right corner three as time runs out…Hawkeyes 39 / Notre Dame 41…Halftime…

I’ve had enough for today…Good luck to Iowa, Illinois and Michigan State…would love to wake up in the morning to see all three won…

Buckeyes play tomorrow! Lets Go Bucks!

BIG 10/ACC Challenge impressions – Penn State/Maryland/Wisky


  • Go to this late so both games are past 10 minutes…
  • Won’t be able to watch all games tonight but will share what I see…will publish this one and start another at some point tonight…
  • Georgia Tech/Penn State – Thought officials were going to call traveling on players taking 4 steps to set their feet after receiving a pass on the move before shooting a jump shot?
  • Penn State’s black unis with pink piping and numbers? Kind of cool but nothing about it reminds me of Penn State.
  • Nittany Lions and Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech are playing fast.
  • Penn State website says this about tonight’s uniform colors:

Penn State will wear its black and pink throwback uniforms against Georgia Tech in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Nov. 29. The uniforms honor the original school colors from 1887.

  • So weird to think of Penn State’s conservative use of color in their school’s uniforms and then to contrast that with Black/Pink. Why not change to that scheme full time? Just saying.
  • Big dunk by PSU’s 6’10 Julian Moore. Nice take and ram from left baseline.
  • GT 28 PSU 23 3:26 left in 1st.
  • Maryland 20 /Pittsburgh 40 3:13 left until halftime.
  • Trimble scores in the lane. Wonder how well he shoots threes this season?
  • Announcer mentions Melo Trimble is averaging almost 9 FTs a game this season. Hits them at 81%.
  • So Trimble hitting threes at .342%
  • Terrapins are (‘were’) looking to go to 8-0 w/a win in tonights game. Now down 45-24, likely that isn’t happening. Halftime…
  • Wisconsin 21 / Syracuse 10 – Badgers hit a three & Orange calls T.O.
  • Badger frosh point guard D’Mitrik Trice (Huber Heights Wayne) on the floor. Recruited by Buckeyes.
  • 23-14 Badger w/11+ minutes to go 1st half.
  • Announcers giving permission to Nigel Hayes to speak his mind. He doesn’t need your permission.
  • Back door is open against vaunted length of Syracuse 2-3 zone. Zach Showalter with cut, catch and score.
  • Wisconsin big had 18 points/15 rebounds/3 blocks last season vs Syracuse.
  • Badgers get the ball to middle of the Syracuse zone and deftly passes it in a triangle to wing, top of key, middle, wing, top of three again for a 3 attempt. Beautiful ball movement.
  • Georgia Tech 31 / PSU 30 at 19:30 2nd half
  • Georgia Tech #5 tackles #11 Lamar Stevens at the Georgia Tech 35 yard line. Penalty on G. Tech. PSU ball out of bounds. Stevens cans a three.
  • Garner w/a deep three right wing.
  • Pittsburgh 49 Maryland 26…16:25 – 2nd half
  • Syracuse 27 Wisconsin 36…4:22 1st half…
  • Tuned into this game to see replay of Nigel Hayes diagonal bounce pass to Ethan Happ on left baseline for a dunk…sweet stuff…when you can do that to Syracuse you have a good shot to win against them…
  • 6’9 Badger frosh Alex Illikainen stationed at top of key for Badgers…
  • Pittsburgh 51 Maryland 26… 15:15 2nd half…
  • Trimble into the lane again with a made teardrop…
  • What else can I think but the Terrapin defense isn’t getting it done this game?
  • 7’1 Cekovsky with the dunk off a feed by Trimble…Cekovsky is a mobile guy for his size…not sure about his ability to slide his feed and that sort of thing but he can go a little bit…
  • 54-32 Pittsburgh…12:20
  • 6’7 Terrapin frosh Kevin Huerter is three point shooting threat…I’ve seen him shoot three and make one so far…got to do better than that, as Buckeye fans will tell you…
  • Trimble called for blocking going into a tv timeout…crowd chanting ‘Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit!’ headed to the break in the action…I assume those are Maryland fans…have heard they are a harsh group…
  • 1-1 so far in the Big 10/ACC Challenge..Minnesota lost last night…Northwestern wins…
  • 56-35 Pittsburgh at 11:30 mark…
  • Cekovsky with the run down block from behind…
  • Georgia Tech 39 / Penn State 42…11:14 to go
  • G. Tech 42 PSU 44…8:44 to go
  • So far am thinking Penn State has speed, athleticism and length on its side this season…
  • Wanted to see PSU post Mike Watkins but so far I haven’t noticed him on court…
  • Have to admit I like Penn State’s head coach, Pat Chambers
  • #24, there he is…Mike Watkins…
  • Shep Garner with the strong take and finish at the basket on the secondary break…


Western Carolina 38 @ Ohio State 66 – Happy Thanksgiving to all of you turkeys!

Was Ohio State versus Western Carolina a real game or a ready to eat pre-Thanksgiving roast turkey leg?


Gauging the quality of Western Carolina from the competition the Catamounts had faced prior to the game Monday evening provides a small hint to Buckeye fans that the room Ohio State has space to improve in still needs occupation. The team just got the luggage inside the door.

Western Carolina won it’s game against Hiwassee College 87-47. (That’s right, the Catamounts didn’t sleep on the Tigers)

But Western Carolina, alongside it’s loss to Ohio State, also lost at Miami (Fla) 92-43, at Marshall, 98-63, and at home to North Carolina Central, 67-59.

Comparatively, the Buckeyes, without Keita Bates-Diop, was better defensively, which is a good sign, against WCU, but lagged behind Miami and Marshall offensively.

Most seasons it’s stated college basketball offenses are usually behind the defenses in terms of organization and effectiveness. Given Ohio State held WCU to a FG percentage of 27.5 % is, then, a hopeful sign.

Tether that defensive effort to the 35.4 % performance the Providence Friars suffered through against the Buckeyes.  It appears Ohio State has risen to a good level of quality on defense. Excellent Thad Matta teams are able to get stops against difficult opponents. These Buckeyes are headed that direction.

On offense, after the Navy and North Carolina Central games, Ohio State took baby steps versus Providence and WCU to utilize all available talent. Keita Bates-Diop’s ankle injury stymied synchronization efforts a small bit as has the typical up and down nature of play 1st players exhibit. In the latter case Micah Potter and CJ Jackson are still only beginning to learn the balance of aggression and progression in working with the established team veterans.

Hope that KBD’s ankle heals quickly and is stable enough to allow him to participate in a steady string of games starting with this next week and heading toward the Holidays arriving at the end of December.

Last item of note here is the need to allow Marc Loving to taste some success on offense. His defense, according to Thad Matta, is responsible for too many unnecessary fouls called. While that’s more a matter for Loving of discernment in how and when to act aggressively from a defensive position, offense is more so finding a scorer like Marc some rhythm seeing the ball go into the basket, building momentum and then carrying it forward for longer periods of time.

JaQuan Lyle has now found a groove in two consecutive games to play his type of hoop music. Jae’Sean ‘Robo’ Tate keeps rolling along in every game so far and Trevor Thompson, too, has yet to suffer through a difficult outing. His contributions at the rim are precious material while his counterpart, Micah Potter, is learning to relax and develop.

Kam Williams is hitting almost 60% of his three point shots so far, .484% of his FG attempts and is scoring 12.4 ppg. So he’s doing his job. The more the Buckeyes can find him beyond the arc the higher his PPG average will rise. I think, if that happens, the more efficient of an offensive team the Buckeyes will become.

Buckeyes next play Jackson State Wednesday and Marshall on Friday.

I’m stepping away from writing up my impressions following games until just before Ohio State travels to Virginia on Tuesday, November 29th.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

To those who read my blog, I am thankful for you.




LIU Brooklyn at Ohio State – Saturday game – LIU scores zero points in the lane

LIU-B 54 @ Ohio State 113

(Info. found at http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/sports/w-baskbl/recaps/111916aaa.html )

Question/What type of game was Ohio State involved in Saturday when they faced LIU-Brooklyn in the Schott?

Answer\Stephanie Mavunga, who prior to this game had been on the floor 22.3 mpg and who was leading the Buckeyes in rebounding at 11 per game, sat out the entire contest and in Head Coach Kevin McGuff’s words the reason was “general soreness.”

Yes, it was that kind of game.

A game where every player on the Buckeye roster scored at least 4 points. Where the team set a new season high for total rebounds with 56. A new season high for opponent turnovers was claimed with 28. The 113 points by Ohio State is the 5th most ever scored in the program’s history.

In the AP article linked above McGuff mentioned the focus of this game was to get better.

So Sierra Calhoun set an individual scoring high with 22 points and she made 5/6 three pointers. Meanwhile, Calhoun also earned a new high in steals with 4.

The Buckeyes inside game was air tight dominant. They scored 62 points in the paint and allowed ZERO LIU-Brooklyn points. I don’t think in any game I’ve ever watched has one team not scored a single point in the lane.

Great work, Buckeyes!

At the end of the day Kelsey Mitchell moved within one of the Ohio State record for made three pointers by knocking down 4/6.

Next game for the Buckeyes is on the road in Estero, Florida against Florida Gulf Coast in the Gulf Coast Showcase.



Buckeye Leaves – Cleveland State/Providence


Kelsey Mitchell – A player who hits 7-14 three-point shots and scores 31 on 12/19 overall gets a Buckeye Leave.


2nd Buckeye Leave goes to freshman Kiara Lewis picked up 12 pts/8 rbs/6 assists/2 steals.



JaQuan Lyle – Buckeye Leave – Almost earned a triple double – 21 pts/8 rbs/7 assists & only one turnover.


Trevor Thompson – Buckeye Leave – Ascending quality play – 12 pts/9 rbs


Dave Bell – Buckeye Leave – Important energy & results in his role.




Providence 67 at Ohio State 72 – Cavalry finally arrived

Finally, JaQuan Lyle, the Ohio State PG with promise fans had heard worked so hard this summer and was ready to step up and help lead the Buckeyes back from NIT wastelands, showed up.

Seeing Lyle shaking and baking, the Buckeye cavalry mounted up and rode in unison into the fray. The entire Ohio State team got results against Providence and came out with a win that last year these same players likely would have not earned.

Congratulations to all! To all it was a good night, wasn’t it?

Start off with JaQuan Lyle’s contributions. He is an aggressive high risk, high reward type of player and combined with his ability if he’s got it going he’s an offensive threat to opponents no matter where he is on the floor.

Lyle can also make the fundamentally sound play and when he combines flair and foundational efforts JaQuan is at his best. Last night he did both. Passing. Handling the ball. He was solid and his sight was mostly right on. I like him just a little bit out there because that means he’s seeing possibilities and trying to take advantage of them.

The various type of assists he made were right on. Trevor Thompson got one of them in the middle of the Providence D and got an easy basket out of it. Dave Bell also received an alley oop pass that enabled him to power down a one hand dunk that was plain spectacular. Finally, the patience Lyle had late in the game to wait on Kam Williams to spot up on the left basket angle to drop a three ball in was superb. Right on target.

Those kind of plays are the type JaQuan Lyle can make and are the type he needs to, to raise the level of play of his teammates. That’s the mark of a great player.

Scoring the ball, can we expect him to keep making the same type of shots he took last night? That prospect doesn’t seem out of the question. His jump shot seems more measured than it was a year ago. He’s taking the time he needs to set his feet, balance up and follow through. Sweet results.

I feel the more Lyle can shave the fancy stuff down and marry the fundamentals and flair closer together, the more success he’ll see.

Keep it rolling, JaQuan. This team needs you.

My Buckeye MVP so far is Jae’Sean Tate. He’s been in every game doing his thing. Bounce, strength and touch. Consistency.

Trevor Thompson has put 3/3 effective games together, also. I didn’t know what to expect out of Trevor this season. I hoped fans would see a more polished, smarter, aggressive performer this season and I think he’s lived up to that.

Dave Bell earned respect last night. An active Dave Bell is a pretty good player. He’s quick, strong enough, can leap and anticipates. What’s more, I watched Bell make offensive moves versus Providence that if he can get those to go down will change the terrain of any game he plays in. Watch and see if he doesn’t make a nice leap this season.

Mark Loving grabbed 10 rebounds vs The Friars. Give him credit for that stat. Rebounding is about effort. He wasn’t on shooting the ball but he also didn’t cast up a bunch of shots, either. I like him posted up. He has skill down low. Keep working for your team, Marc.

Kam Williams wasn’t on either. But he does a cool thing when he isn’t. Like Loving, he added positives in other areas and when called upon in the 2nd half to shoot his only three attempt of the night, Kam buried it. Big!

CJ Jackson didn’t enjoy the amount of assists he had in the 1st two games. He missed both shots he took. But he was out there giving it all he had.

General Lyle directed the Buckeyes. The rest of these guys were the cavalry and they rode well.

Keep it going, Buckeyes.

They can now use these next three home games to tune up their game, and at the end of that run of home contests, go on the road in the Big 10/ACC Challenge, invading Virginia on Wednesday, November 30th.


Cleveland State 78 at Ohio State 96 – Wednesday game

After hosting South Carolina Monday and losing to the Gamecocks for the 2nd season in a row, the Buckeyes then hosted Cleveland State Wednesday evening and won the game by 18 points, 96-78.

The Buckeyes were up 51-34 at the end of the 2nd quarter and 79-52 at the end of three.

Kelsey Mitchell led Ohio State w/31 points and knocked down 7/14 three point shots in the process. However, the Buckeyes shot just 8/27 from beyond the arc. Yikes!

Ohio State held a 60-24 scoring advantage in the paint w/posts Stephanie Mavunga and freshman Tori McCoy each scoring 12 points.

Checking other aspects of the game via stats Ohio State had 22 assists with  Kiera Lewis, freshman from Chicago’s Whitney Young HS (Sam Thompson’s HS) dealing out six. Lewis, also,  picked up 12 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals in 24 minutes on court to reach “stat sheet stuffer” status for the CSU contest.

Mavunga led Ohio State with 10 boards.

The Buckeyes next host LIU Brooklyn Saturday, November 19th at noon.


Cue the Rocky theme song- A Call for Buckeye leadership – “dudes” & “dawgs”

In the wake of Ohio State’s uneven effort at home versus North Carolina Central Monday night the question was asked of me on twitter by Mark @govolx “Who are the dudes and dawgs on Ohio State’s team.”

(Keep the term “develop” in your back pocket as we proceed)

(Please remember these are just my opinions. Nothing more than that. I certainly don’t think I’m right about everything.)

Dudes are defined as the “talent”




Like Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke’ LaLoosh from the movie, Bull Durham.



Dawgs are defined as the meat-and-potatoes, get things done at all cost players.


Like Crash Davis from the same movie.

Mark’s question hits an important nail on the head about the level this season’s Ohio State team can reach. One that requires a positive answer if the Buckeyes see themselves achieving goals.

Does a team absolutely need a “dude”?

Scrutinize two examples.

#1 – In 2013, #9 seed Wichita State made the Final Four.

#2 – In 2006, #11 seed George Mason made the Final Four.

Did these teams have a true dude, or dudes? Or simply a collection of good players?

Each had players with exceptional ability at the college level whose work with teammates to win games could be termed remarkable.

Wichita State had 6’8 Cleanthony Early, who scored 24 and had 10 rebounds in the Shockers 72-68 loss to eventual National Champion Louisville. Early was long, full of intensity and pop, and skilled.

George Mason had guards Jai Lewis and Tony Skinn that ran a show of determination and shock during the tournament. Thinking of them now causes me to draw comparisons with the Canton McKinley/Buckeye duo of Ron Stokes and Troy Taylor. Both pairs were joined at the hip.

In 2006 the Patriots lost 73-58 to eventual National Champion Florida but far surpassed presumptions of results to get that far.

Both teams started off with less than advantageous tournament seeds, but willed and wove their way through each challenge to reach the Final Four.

So, I say the answer is yes, teams need at least one player who “can get theirs” as the saying goes.

Look a little deeper at these squads, though, and you’ll see “dawg” after “dawg” lined up in support of the “dude(s)”. Without the dawgs the dudes aren’t traveling far.

Another aspect of these definitions of what boils down to who is a star and who is more supporting/role players, is that a dawg can play with enough quality and consistency to eventually be considered a dude.

If a player can do one or two things well within his/her role it’s certain that player will be noticed.

Wichita State had 6’4 guard, “Iceman” Ron Baker, who is now a member of the New York Knicks.

The Shockers also had tenacious PG Fred VanVleet, 6’3 guard Tekele Cotton and 6’7 forwards Darius Carter and Chadrack Lufile. I can describe details of Early, Baker, VanVleet, and a few on Cotton, but one thing I absolutely recall about that entire group is how well organized they were and how much will they had to get things done. The Shockers kept coming at you, no matter who was in the game.

George Mason’s “dawgs” were even less well know than Wichita State’s. Will Thomas, at 6’7, 230 pounds, exemplified the whole Patriot team. He was a bruiser who could flat pin his opponent on his back and move him around like a dump truck.

Thomas was relentless, a brick wall on the boards and guarded with strength and decent feet. The Patriots believed in themselves and were on a Blues Brothers type mission.


Despite the result against Florida they showed the nation there would aways be a vein of overlooked programs to be feared when March Madness arrived.

The Buckeyes don’t yet compare to either of these teams but that’s not to say they can’t rise up and surprise.

I’m not predicting a Final 4 but the Buckeyes can make the NCAA tournament and throw a scare into a Sweet 16 opponent. But they have a whole lot of work ahead to get there.

Here’s my list of possible “Dudes” on the Ohio State team:

There are two.

1. JaQuan Lyle 1A. Keita Bates-Diop

Either of these two players have the outright ability and status to become “Dude” of the Buckeyes.

JaQuan Lyle is young and talented with a facility for aggressive hoops and a flair for scoring. He reminds me of a thoroughbred colt who has yet to grow into his body or to show understanding of how to implement and navigate a strategically based mind on court.

Keita Bates-Diop has a mature basketball body that combines better than average athletic ability with ridiculous length. Bates-Diop gives the impression of possessing a high level of off court maturation. His hoop skills are wide and varied. I would call him Ohio State’s best representative of a potential five tool basketball player.

He can score, pass, rebound, block shots and earn steals. He might also be Ohio State’s best defender.

Keita can be streaky shooting the basketball but he can drive the ball and finish. I’m less attuned to the level of his basketball mind because he is not a PG but I would say he can carry out objectives, those planned, or those which arise on the fly.

Naming one of them a better bet to lead than the other is difficult.

Optimally, JaQuan will eventually be on court for larger periods of time and, if so, will possess the ball as the PG and have the ability to make choices that best benefit his teammates.

If I had anything to do with it, though, Keita would have much of the offense run through him.

JaQuan’s mindset is to be the “dude” He wants to earn his team’s confidence and make plays. Question is, just how much dexterity does he have to create opportunities for teammates and remain a threat to score and/or collect high quantities of assists? Bigger question? Will Lyle commit himself to play the type of defense Thad Matta wants him to?

Keita’s mindset is to not push his agenda but the problem with that is he’s Ohio State’s best player, who, if he possessed the dominant streak of a bull, would consistently take opponents on and win.

In reality, the Buckeyes need both players to step into the batter’s box to take their cuts and get used to making smart, tough, on time plays to lead their squad to a higher level of synchronized effectiveness.

Now, take the term “develop” out of your back pocket. Keita Bates-Diop and JaQuan Lyle both need to develop and continually look to bolster their leadership in order for their team to advance in quality this season.

Both have shown they can become a “dude” this season.

If this team doesn’t work together at a higher level than last season, though, it’s in trouble. I don’t state that fact lightly.

Who are the “dawgs” or possible “dawgs” on this 2016-2017 Buckeye team?


1. Jae’Sean Tate – The ultimate “dawg” – Lives in the junkyard and isn’t giving his up space to you or anyone else. Effort, strength and idiosyncratic offensive ability and touch near the rim are the hallmarks of his game. Definite “dawg”.

2. Kam Williams – Has worked his tale off to become a more formidable all around player. His shooting touch is gold. Has shown glimpses of 2nd and 3rd options this seasons if defenders try to run him off the 3-point line. I’m rooting for Kam Williams to show how easy it could be for him to destroy opponent’s defenses. All that’s missing is consistency. “dawg” who can become a “dude” this season or next.

3. Marc Loving – I look to the results Loving got in the latter third of last season as a focal point for what he’s capable of if he’s dialed in long term. I think the idea Marc doesn’t care enough and doesn’t give big effort is a bunch of hooey. “dawg”

4. Micah Potter – Freshman. Doesn’t yet know what he doesn’t know about college hoops. Has the coach Matta’s confidence. Can shoot from deep with accuracy. Rebounds. Good passer. A little lost on D. Goes too hard trying to make effort plays, which I call Daniel Giddens syndrome. Wasted energy.  “dawg” this season who can become a “dude” in the future.

5. CJ Jackson – Defender, ball handler, assist provider. If Jackson can stick to making fundamental plays he can play the role of a huge “dawg” for Ohio State. Let’s hope Lyle gets it together and CJ can get comfortable in a role.

6. Dave Bell and Andre Wesson – Two players where consistent, sound performances can provide them minutes. Possible “dawgs.” As is, once the Big 10 schedule arrives, it will be difficult for them to see the court. All depends on what they add to the team that is beneficial.

All of the players on Ohio State I’ve listed above have the skills and athleticism, and most now have enough experience, to form a cohesive Buckeye brotherhood that can overcome the challenges within the 2016-2017 season and overcome them.

“Want to”, if applied, can go a loooooooooooonnnnnnggggg way. Cue the Rocky Theme Song.

Go Buckeyes!

Beat Providence!