Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University and pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeye baseball team from 1971 through 1974.  He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league league umpire for seven years, working in the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA).  He has written for numerous websites and outdoor publications, and for the past ten years has served as a regular columnist and photo editor for Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press.  Widely knowledgeable on that period of American History, Fulks is a frequent speaker on the Civil War at local roundtables throughout the Midwest. He and wife Mindy have two grown children and live in Covington, Ohio.


The question being asked…are the Buckeyes good enough to get through to the championship game, and then win a national title?  My answer:  Hey, does it matter?  Just enjoy the ride.

It’s everywhere you read or listen this week.

Are the Buckeyes good enough to beat Kansas and make it to the championship game of the NCAA tournament?

No one really knows, including me.  Those kinds of things are very hard to predict, given the uncertainty of NCAA Division I basketball.  Go back to 1985 and ask anyone then…if Villanova had a chance to beat Georgetown.  I watched that game, and even as the clock struck 0:00 I was pretty sure that Georgetown had a way of pulling it out.

Well, that didn’t happen.  And for that reason I give Ohio State a straight up chance of playing the games of their lives on back-to-back nights and doing what most people think can’t be done.  I haven’t talked to anyone yet who doesn’t think that Kentucky is just too good, and pre-ordained to win the national title this year.

That is, in a perfect world.  But in a perfect world you’d like to believe that the Buckeyes will rise to the occasion and all of those great individual performances throughout the year…from Sullinger, Smith, Thomas,  Craft, et. al…that it’ll be enough and that it will happen at the same time on consecutive nights.

South of the river they’re thinking the same thing, and hey…south of the river it’s really important that the right things happen on consecutive nights! 

In a perfect world Kentucky’s size and talent will overcome some of the doubts raised by their performance in the SEC tournament title game against Vanderbilt.  The Commodores are long gone from the tournament, yes, but the damage they created with that one win still haunt a lot of “blue”-bloods.  Vanderbilt is one thing, but Louisville “with our used-to-be head coach”, as a friend in Ashland, Kentucky puts it, is quite another.

Yeah, in a perfect world you’d like to believe that Ohio State is talented enough to win.  After all, they’ve been saying that now for two years, given the recruiting class that brought in Sullinger and his supporting cast.

Yeah, but.  There are those night like back in January…the meltdown against a very mediocre Illinois team.  Hiccup maybe, but there were other nights.

Their swoon at the close of the Big Ten regular season, for sure.

But more, their historic failure to play big when big really counts since 1960, when the Buckeyes last won a national title!

For sure, that has nothing to do with Thad Matta and the current roster.  But I’m just saying.  Has there not always been some reason why Ohio State always comes up short in the NCAA tournament?

Hey, in a perfect world Jared Sullinger will play the game of his life on Saturday against Kansas, who by the way, has some doubts of its own to erase.

In a perfect world, the Buckeyes will come out and shoot the ball the way in a manner consistent with all the hype in the media guide.

In a perfect world, William Buford will show up.

In a perfect world, they’ll hit free throws at crunch time.

You know the drill…it goes on and on.

Understand, I’m not a doubter…I’m just fearfully cynical.  I’ve seen it all before…for 50 years.  Jerry Lucas, Bill Hosket, Scoonie Penn, et. al.  Fred Taylor, Randy Ayers and Jim O’Brien.

“I wouldn’t get too fired up,”  said a friend last week, a long-time employee with the athletic department from my days on campus.  “This is still a football school, with a football mentality.  We don’t think like Duke when it comes to basketball.”

Really?  I really wouldn’t know how Duke thinks when it comes to football, and is that really relative to how Ohio State thinks about basketball?

Whatever.  I can see them getting past Kansas, and I can see them playing well for a half against either Kentucky or Louisville.  I’ve just yet to see them play well for that last 20 minutes with everything on the line…for the past 50 years, for God’s sake!

Not that they can’t, mind you.  That’s what I’m hoping for, like the rest of you.  And if it doesn’t, well hey…at least they’re there.  Enjoy the ride.

I’ll still have a job on Monday.

If it doesn’t happen, baseball starts next week.

I’m still getting money back from the government on April 15.

I’ve got 25 tickets for the Lottery drawing…$540 million big ones.  Really, that, or the Buckeyes winning it all?

It could happen, you know.  It does all the time…to someone.

In a perfect world!