Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Title Game Tank Job and Basketball Banter…
Oh that hurt. Just when I was celebrating like a Buckeye fan with the electrifying Ted Ginn, Jr. TD jaunt off the opening kick off, something happened. Florida showed up to play and Ohio State played like the game was won long ago. Maybe on paper it was, but not on the field.

Many will wonder how much the 51-day layoff hurt the scarlet and gray. Myself included. One thing is for sure, the better team on that night won the game, and how. Florida dominated Ohio State. We all should have seen it coming. No one ever gives the No. 2 squad a chance in hell. In many cases, the No. 2 team beats the heavy favorite.

Must be something about orange and bright blue in that stadium. First Boise State, now Florida. If I had a vote, by the way, BSU gets a co-title with Florida. I don’t care who they played or didn’t play. The boys from Boise are the only undefeated team for the 2006 season.

Back to the game last night, it was actually quite anti-climatic after the kick return. Might have been one of the more boring title games yet. Hat’s off to the Buckeyes on a season that should not be diminished at all by one rotten egg. Same to Florida who became the first to possess the two biggest crowns in college sports at the same time. For golfers, that’s kinda like winning all four majors in a row. An amazing feat.

Well, now that the nearly five month foray into football is over, it is time to focus on the best sport in the land – college basketball. There is a HUGE battle for OSU tonight in Madison and some other intriguing games on the slate as well. Will the basketball Buckeyes suffer a football game watching hangover or make a statement on the road? Home teams have won eight of ten so far, and that doesn’t look to change much this week…

Final Get Gamm Football Standings
Well, since we all picked tOSU to win the National Title game, Buckeye Nation will hold on for the overall win. Congrats Buckeye Nation! You get $25 to spend in the TFS Store (link to the right). Hope it brings up your spirits after that debacle in Glendale! Let me know what you want and email it to me with your addy and I will get it in the mail.

1 - Buckeye Nation: 76-20 (.792) - 3 GG Wins
2 - Dan Meyer: 75-21 (.781) - 2 GG Wins
T3 - Gamm: 74-22 (.771) - 2 GG Wins
T3 - Mayo170: 74-22 (.771) - 1 GG Win
T3 - andrewj1313: 74-22 (.771) - 1 GG Win
6 - phatsdawg: 72-24 (.750)
7 - flakcat: 70-20 (.777) - 1 GG Win
8 - BigTenSportsFan: 59-24 (.711) - 1 GG Win
9 - PUFan: 51-23 (.689) - 1 GG Win

Back to basketball…

Team of the week…
Ohio State was beastly in the first week of Big Ten play. The Buckeyes had their hands full with Indiana in Columbus, but had their way at Illinois, arguably one of the toughest places to play anywhere in the country. It sets up an early season, attention grabbing tilt with the Badgers.

On the rise…
A few teams served some notice in the opening week of play. Michigan won at home and on the road. Not bad considering that home teams were a gaudy 8-2 to kick off conference play. Ohio State is obviously on the rise, but then again, the Bucknuts and Badgers are already at the top. The team that really rose up was Indiana. The Hoosiers battled Ohio State and then dominated Michigan State in Bloomington.

In need of some “Ws”…

Michigan State and Illinois. Two perennial contenders started off Big Ten play 0-2. MSU’s excuse is a thin roster dented even more due to injury. Not sure Illinois has as solid a reason. Either way, the teams will battle in East Lansing this Sunday to stay out of the cellar.

Player of the Week…
It’s tough to argue against BigTen.org’s pick of Penn State guard Danny Morrissey, who shot an unconscious 16-20 for the week and averaged 22.5 points in a 1-1 week for the Nittany Lions. But after watching D.J. White score on an array of moves against a good post defense team in Michigan State and turn it up on defense as well, the star forward from Indiana gets my props this week.

This Week’s Schedule:
Jan. 9 – Ohio State at Wisconsin (Tiebreaker)
Jan. 10 – Purdue at IndianaJan. 10 – Iowa at Illinois
Jan. 10 – Northwestern at Michigan State
Jan. 13 – Indiana at Penn State
Jan. 13 – Tennessee at Ohio State
Jan. 13 – Wisconsin at Northwestern
Jan. 13 – Minnesota at Iowa
Jan. 13 – Michigan at Purdue
Jan. 14 – Illinois at Michigan State

Gamm’s picks for the week…

The game of the week tips off tonight in Madison. The two teams that will fight for the Big Ten title go at it early in league play and it should be a classic. Wisconsin is off to its best start since the 1920s. The Badgers have picked off some very talented teams along the way and have the comforts of the Kohl Center at their disposal tonight. Ohio State is also quite battle tested, though OSU hasn’t had quite as much success. The Buckeyes are perhaps one of the few teams in the Big Ten fully equipped to handle the Badgers from 1 to 5. Oden and Tucker may not go head to head, but will be the headliners in this game. This one will go to the Badgers, but solely based on the home court edge. Wisconsin 67 – Ohio State 63.

We get an early taste of one of the best rivalries in the Big Ten this week as well when Purdue heads south to face Indiana. Purdue was stunned in the Big Ten opener at Minnesota but then held off a tough Penn State squad in its home opener. Indiana gave the Buckeyes all they could handle in Columbus and then dismantled Michigan State in Bloomington. Calloway and D.J. White versus Teague and Landry is the underlying story here. The teams are evenly matched, which means it comes down to the home court advantage. Indiana 68 – Purdue 65.

Iowa got a nice opening win and then an off weekend to prepare for a big game at Illinois. The Illini are 0-2 and Iowa will not be a pushover. That said, the Illini are better built to handle the Hawkeyes than they were the Buckeyes and the chances of Illinois losing two in a row at home are slim to none. Illinois 71 – Iowa 62.

It is actually a bit of a surprise that Northwestern is 0-2 at this point, but shockingly, not so surprising that Michigan State is 0-2. Don’t get me wrong, the Spartans are the better team and will be a top half finisher come season’s end, but remember that a thin backcourt is just regaining health. Northwestern lost a tough one at home to a decent Michigan team, but home teams just don’t lose that often in the Big Ten. This is the one and only match-up and though it won’t be easy, it’ll be the win that MSU needs. Michigan State 65 – Northwestern 52.

Indiana at Penn State might be one of the surprisingly good games of the week in conference play. Penn State is an improving team, if not a Cedar Point Roller Coaster in their tendency to win big then lose a puzzler. The Bryce Jordan might be the least scary place to play a road game in the league, but this is a chance for PSU to make a statement. Penn State 73 – Indiana 70.

Ohio State steps out of the conference for what should be a really entertaining, up and down the court type game with the Volunteers. It is a key game for the scarlet and gray in terms of a big outside win to help when the NCAA Selection Committee convenes in early March. Ohio State 85 – Tennessee 80.

In what could be the upset game of the week, Wisconsin travels to Evanston to take on the Wildcats. Northwestern doesn’t scare anyone on paper and scares teams less when you see them in person. Talk about a collection, seemingly, of intramural scrappers longing to be in the spotlight. Still, this is a veteran Wisconsin team and I just don’t see them letting down to the point of a loss, even after a big one against OSU earlier in the week. Wisconsin 64 – Northwestern 58.

Minnesota and Iowa might be the yawner of the week. Iowa is coming along but how Minnesota wins is a mystery. Iowa 71 – Minnesota 57.

Michigan at Purdue is a game to keep an eye on. These are the types of games that often make or break a team that sits on the NCAA bubble come March. A win here would be epic for the Wolverines. But Matt Painter and his Boilermakers will be hungry after a tough one at Indiana. Purdue 69 – Michigan 63.

Who would have thunk it that we could have two 0-3 teams the likes of Michigan State and Illinois getting together for a national game this Sunday? I do expect both to win early in the week, setting this up to be key for positioning. You must hold serve at home to have a chance to contend in the Big Ten, even if the contention is for third or fourth place this go around. Illinois has had the Spartans’ number of late, but the Sunday crowd at the Breslin will be fired up and a State squad that is finally coming together gets a big win. Michigan State 68 - Illinois 64.

Get Gamm Basketball Standings
1 - Buckeye Nation: 17-4 (.810) – 1 GG Win
2 - Gamm: 15-6 (.714)
3 - PUFan: 14-7 (.667)
4 - Dan Meyer: 13-8 (.619) - 1 GG Win
5 - phatsdawg: 12-9 (.571)
6 - BigTenSportsFan: 3-8 (.273)


BigTenSportsFan said...

My life is in shambles.

Oh, Big Ten, how you have betrayed me ...

Buckeye Nation said...

I was flying back from the Arizona desert last night (trail of tears), and believe it or not, I would have picked us to lose a close one in Madison. BUT, here's the rest of my picks that will count:

Jan. 9 – Ohio State at Wisconsin (Tiebreaker)
Purdue 67 at Indiana 76
Iowa 68 at Illinois 71
Northwestern 59 at Michigan State 73
Indiana 69 at Penn State 68
Tennessee 65 at Ohio State 79
Wisconsin 77 at Northwestern 52
Minnesota 68 at Iowa 74
Michigan 69 at Purdue 70
Illinois 64 at Michigan State 73

Andy Gamm said...

Scores so far:

Wisconsin 72 - OSU 69 - valiant comeback try by the Bucks.

MSU 66 - NU 45 - MSU gets much needed W after starting on the road. BTW, how can Lunardi go from having State as a 5 seed last week to in his last four out list this week?

IU 85 - Purdue 58 - an absolute whipping. Perhaps MSU shouldn't feel so bad!

ILL 74 - Iowa 70 - a good game with some major momentum swings. Illinois is of the schnied.