"Whenever I've got the ball, people are like, 'Ooh," because I made a good pass. It's different. I feel like it's a lost art."
-D'Angelo Russell, via USA Today
Despite emerging as Ohio State's most reliable scorer in 2015, D'Angelo Russell values another aspect of his game much more highly than his ability to put points on the board: his passing. The freshman guard's ability to distribute the ball and find teammates in tight windows is uncanny. His teammates certainly enjoy Russell's ability to get them the ball, too.
"It's fun playing with a guy like that," Sam Thompson told USA Today's Nicole Auerbach. "Every once in awhile he makes a pass so spectacular that you don't think it's going to get through...we're used to expecting the spectacular play." It's telling that perhaps his most memorable single highlight of the season wasn't a shot or a dunk, but an eye-popping through-traffic pass against Northwestern.
"I'd rather make a nice pass than have 30 points or go dunk on somebody," Russell told Auerbach. But for the Buckeyes to have a fighting chance at a deep run in the NCAA tournament, he'll probably have to do all three.
"The only certainty is that Meyer owes Barrett and Miller a legitimate chance to win back the starting job."
-Ted Miller, ESPN
This morning, ESPN's Ted Miller outlined 10 of the biggest story lines we can expect for this spring in college football. Leading this list, unsurprisingly, is the looming quarterback battle in Columbus. Cardale Jones is the only healthy quarterback of the three at the moment, giving him a leg up as the Buckeyes head into spring practice. He's also coming off of a national championship game victory, which doesn't count for nothing.
Still, Urban Meyer seems to have learned a chess move or two from the school of Bill Belichick. ESPN's Miller predicts that the team won't name a starter until the fall, leaving the competition open as long as possible. With Meyer and co. certainly aiming to do everything in their power to embarrass Virginia Tech in the season opener as revenge for last season's debacle, there's no rush at all to name a No. 1 guy and give the Hokies a clear-cut option to prepare for.
One other prediction made by Miller? The rest of the Big Ten frontrunners won't come that close to catching the Buckeyes this season. With the bizarre winters of teams like Wisconsin, Michigan State, Nebraska, and Michigan, there seems to be little hope that any of these teams will be able to make immediate noise on the national level this coming year.
"All eight of these guys have brought different things to the table, on the ice, off the ice, and in the classroom."
-OSU Men's Hockey coach Steve Rohlik, via The Lantern
This weekend, the Ohio State men's hockey senior class will play their final home series as Buckeyes. Eight Buckeyes will suit up at the Schottenstein Center for the last time: Darik Angeli, Clark Cristofoli, Justin DaSilva, Tanner Fritz, Matt Johnson, Al McLean, Chad Niddery, and Nick Oddo.
The senior class has been the most valuable offensive unit on the ice for the Buckeyes this season. They've notched 33 of the team's 84 total goals. They get things done on the defensive side of things, too: seniors have blocked 192 shots out of 493 for the team as a whole. There's little doubt that this would be a different (and worse) team without the acumen and leadership of these eight players.
They won't have an easy road to a last home win, though. The team faces the No. 15 Minnesota Golden Gophers on Friday and Saturday, who sit in second place in the Big Ten (the Buckeyes are fifth). Minnesota has convincingly beaten Ohio State twice already this season, racking up a brace of wins last month to the tune of 4-2 and 6-2. Here's hoping the team can steal a pair back this weekend and send the senior class out on a high note.
"Honestly, that was the game plan: Just don't get killed on national television."
-Thad Matta, via The Dispatch
Today marks the 10th anniversary of one of Ohio State's more memorable basketball highlights: the three-pointer by Matt Sylvester in the final seconds against undefeated Illiinois in the last game of the regular season. The Buckeyes had no business even being competitive in that game -- the Illini were the prohibitive title favorites, and Ohio State had nothing to play for thanks to self-imposed sanctions handed down in Thad Matta's first season with the team.
The safer play call would have been to feed center Terence Dials down low, tie the game, and send it to overtime. That wasn't what Matta wanted.
"Fellas, do you really want to play these guys for five more minutes? We're going to go for the win," Matta remembers telling his playeryers tball platate foos. Instead, Sylvester got the nod. He sunk the three in front of Ohio State's bench, and in full view of a few recruits whose names might sound familiar: Daequan Cook and B.J. Mullens. The final score was 65-64, and a perfect season was snatched away from Illinois in heartbreaking fashion. To their credit, the Illini didn't lose another game until the national championship.