The Buckeyes blow an 18-point lead at Penn State, inexplicably, and Ohio’s Mr. Basketball never sees the court…Russia shows why you’d better have more than just a game plan if you’re going to beat them…and can the NFL do more to embarrass itself than the end of the Chiefs-Bills game?
I, like many others (I presume), watched helplessly Saturday night as the Ohio State Buckeyes men’s basketball (8-2) team did one of those famous Big Ten implosions on the road, blowing an 18-point lead before losing to Penn State (5-5), 83-80.
It snapped the Buckeyes’ 7-game win streak, and no doubt created some questions by those who follow the program…that this team could be again destined to mediocrity as it embarks on a challenging rest-of-December (UCLA, New Orleans, West Virginia), followed by the resumption of the grinding conference schedule beginning in January.
It’s hard to explain, even in the Big Ten, losing that much momentum between halves of a basketball game. Ohio State shot nearly 60% in the first half, lead 41-29 at the break, then got outscored 46-25 in the second half as Penn State scorched them from three-point range…and with questionable challenge from the Buckeyes defense. Simply put, many of the Nitany Lions shots came from range greater than the effort to defend. At one point they simply watched as Penn State hit 6 of 7 shots from as far as 25 feet!
It brings to mind an oft-repeated Chris Holtmann quote through the first ten games of the season: “We’ve got to get better at some things.”
Starting, perhaps, with figuring out a rotation of which seven you can trust to have on the floor that 1) gives you a chance to score, 2) can handle the ball against opposing pressure without turnovers, 3) that’s athletic enough compete against talent that you see now capable of shooting from far beyond the 20-foot, 9-inch three-point line.
And curiously, is it not time to see why Pickerington Central’s Devin Royal was voted Ohio’s Mr. Basketball last year? Royal didn’t see the court at Penn State, while questionably being a more lethal offensive threat than, say, Penn State transfer Evan Mahaffey, who’s averaging 3.5 points per game on 30% shooting. Royal, in limited time (about 8 mins. per game) is averaging 50% from the floor and showed to be a ferocious interior defender in high school, as well as rebounder.
The comparison is nowhere near objective, of course, because it’s true that he isn’t at Pickerington, anymore. But again, I say…‘Mr. Basketballs’, in today’s culture, start looking for greener pastures sooner than they once did if they’re not getting opportunity.
I’m just sayin’, “We’ve got to get better” can come in many flavors, and carries with it some unexpected consequences. And I’m not criticizing, of course…just curious!
Speaking of athletic, what we saw last Friday night at Russia (Roo-shee) in the Raiders’ 78-39 win over Fairlawn…is what we’re going to see a lot more of through the course their next 20 games. The Raiders are going to run, and score, and take their chances with opponents who attempt to control their pace of play.
And it starts on defense. The Raiders affected 25 turnovers against Fairlawn, an average Division IV team in terms of athletes, 17 steals, and turned of those miscues into a veritable layup fest at the other end.
But more, even on made shots they pushed pace and forced the Jets to catch them before they got to the rim at the other end.
“We have to trust the process,” says Russia coach Spencer Cordonnier. “By the time the fourth quarter comes around we’re going to be just fine. We think we have eight kids that we can run with, and we just keep running them. Just keep up the pace and see if teams can still play with us in the fourth quarter. The goal is to just wear teams out.”
If the NFL is supposed to be the Mount Rushmore of the sport of football, there are times when it makes you question, does it not?
I quit watching, by and large, four years ago with the all the Colin Kaepernick drama…because I, like most of you, don’t tune in on Sunday to be lectured on social issues. I just want to watch football.
And, too, like with major league baseball, I’ve come to the point of frustration over officiating…and penalties called when an offensive lineman flinches, or grabs a jersey that’s deemed to be holding, when someone grabs a jersey on nearly every play. Worse, we all see receivers get mugged while attempting to catch a forward pass and there’s no call at all. Chiefs’ coach Andy Reid said after Sunday’s loss to Buffalo: “It seems like it’s something (with the officials) every week.”
But Sunday, when Kansas City pass catcher Kadarius Toney lined up offsides, thereby negating an eventual game-winning touchdown on the same play, it illustrated that the NFL, in a moment of extreme frustration, is no more professional than your local high school team. Replay shows that Toney was looking right at the football, had to know that he was offside, and never adjusted.
Andy Reid saw it, too, and claimed that because that offensive offsides is rarely called (like once in 25,000 plays), that offsides shouldn’t have been called, at all.
And quarterback Patrick Mahomes later said that you just don’t make a call that costs a team a win in a situation like that, and that there should have been a warning.
And yes, that kinda’ sounds like a high school sophomore.
On the other hand, I guess this keeps us watching – good to know that billionaires are no more mature sometimes than the quarterback who lives next door and rides a bicycle to practice.
Or that their idea of what’s fair in society might go hand-in-hand with what they think is fair on the playing field. If it benefits me…fine!