"Having to get through D'Angelo Russell to make it to the second weekend is going to be a scary prospect for any No. 1 or No. 2 seed."
-Rob Dauster, NBCSports.com
After last night's dismantling of Nebraska, the Buckeyes look like they're on track to lock up a seed somewhere in the 7-8 range. Should Thad Matta's team win out -- a feat that would require upsetting a Wisconsin team on pace for a deep tournament run -- they might find themselves with an even better seed. Still, winding up anywhere between the 7 and 10 seeds is still a pretty favorable draw for the Buckeyes, at least in the opening round. The only potential for a bad loss remaining on the team's schedule comes in the form of a Penn State team that the Buckeyes beat by 20 a few weeks ago.
Ohio State, per Dauster, is 6-8 against top-100 teams this season. That includes just two wins over top-50 teams. Still, the Buckeyes are pretty safe as far as the tournament is concerned, unless the wheels fall off completely and they drop all three of their remaining games. Purdue, the Buckeyes' next opponent, beat Ohio State back on Feb. 4 when Matta's small lineup failed to contain the Boilermakers' frontcourt. A revenge win on Sunday would certainly help right the ship.
"Justin Hilliard has requested and been granted the right to wear No. 47 for Ohio State."
-Dave Biddle, 247Sports.com
As solid as Urban Meyer's 2015 class is, there is only one five-star recruit in the bunch. That's Justin Hilliard, who Meyer is hoping will anchor the team's future at outside linebacker. Hilliard has worn No. 47 throughout his high school career, but had to get permission to wear that same number at Ohio State. That's because the team retired it in 2004 to honor Chic Harley, a three-time All-American at Ohio State.
Harley is traditionally regarded as one of the greatest players ever to don the scarlet and gray. His All-America honors in 1916, '17, and '19 bookended a year of military service as a fighter pilot in World War I in 1918. The Buckeyes reached out to members of Harley's family to get their approval before granting Hilliard permission to wear Harley's number, according to Biddle.
This is not unfamiliar territory for the Ohio State football program, either. In the mid-1990's, linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer became the first Buckeye player to wear No. 45 since two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin in the 1970s. In that instance, it was Griffin himself who gave Katzenmoyer the go-ahead to wear his number.
"Putting a burner like Devin Smith alongside Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and Brandon LaFell is an enticing prospect."
-Kevin Duffy, MassLive.com
One interesting landing spot for the best deep threat in the 2015 draft class? The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Though the Pats don't lack for reliable pass-catchers, they are missing the kind of straight-line speed guy that made the passing attack so formidable during Randy Moss's years with the team. Smith's 4.42 40-yard dash time, coupled with his insane ability to get up to the ball before his defender, could provide that kind of weapon for Tom Brady in the twilight years of his career.
Though Smith would probably be a great fit in New England, the circumstances necessary for him to end up a Patriot make it pretty unlikely to happen. For starters, Bill Belichick has struck out of late when it comes to drafting wide receivers in the early rounds: Duffy points to Julian Edelman, a seventh-rounder who pulled in 105 catches in 2013, compared to the last five receivers drafted by the Patriots in the second and third rounds, who have combined for 110 career catches with the team. Couple that with Belichick's (correct) aversion to drafting big-name guys as early as possible and his (again, correct) propensity for trading down to amass late-round or deferred picks, and it seems improbable that Smith, who is projected as a late first-rounder to early second-rounder, would fall to New England.
"Kelsey Mitchell made three three-pointers and now has 107 on the season. That passes [the] previous single-season school record of 106."
As the Ohio State women's basketball team soundly beat Penn State on Thursday night, freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell experienced a victory of her own. Mitchell hit three treys during the game, meaning that she's in sole possession of the school record for triples in a season with 107. What should give Buckeye fans hope -- and terrify opponents -- is that she's got three more years to go. At this pace, she could break her own record every season.
The Buckeyes are currently on the razor's edge of a double bye in the Big Ten conference tournament. In order to get the extra rest, Ohio State will need to beat Nebraska. Otherwise they'll be keeping their fingers crossed for an Iowa victory over Minnesota, who would unseat the Buckeyes with a win. The Cornhuskers have beaten the Buckeyes in five straight contests, so there's still a big challenge ahead in the final regular-season game for the team.
STICK TO SPORTS
- The search for a permanent OSU marching band director might take a little longer than expected.
- RIP Leonard Nimoy.
- ICYMI: So much talent, yet still so young. Meet Tyler Morgan.
- How many ancestors do you actually have?
- I don't know what this dog is doing, but I like it.