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Why is this news? Ohio State-Michigan rivalry heating up early, Greg Oden working out for NBA teams

Late night discussion helped to fuel title run, and next year's hockey recruits have a few stars already among them.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

"I think our staff is certainly aware of Coach Harbaugh’s history. Any time the adversary has quality people in there, you’re aware of everything they’re doing and their work. I don’t know if (the rivalry) is ratcheted up. I think aware is the appropriate word. We’re certainly aware and we want to make sure we’re staying on top of our business."

-Urban Meyer, via Gabrielle McMillen, Perform Media

The Ohio State Buckeyes aren’t supposed to face off against Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan squad until Nov. 28 in Ann Arbor, but the first edition of Meyer verses Harbaugh is already causing the rivalry to heat up in June.

Bill Bender of Sporting News discussed how the rivalry game is important to the Big Ten Conference because it brings together two of the top five coaches in the NCAA into a premier conference rivalry.Urban Meyer is 3-0 against Michigan, all victories coming against Brady Hoke-coached teams. Coming off of a national championship, Meyer is facing a successful college and professional coach in Jim Harbaugh, who is returning to his alma mater following four seasons as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Jim Harbaugh has been highly visible this offseason, cementing his presence on Twitter and generating some rather disturbing images of him running shirtless around a camp. He is igniting a program that has been lacking in intensity since the departure of Lloyd Carr seven years ago. Michigan’s foremost need on the field is to find a quarterback, with Iowa transfer Jake Rudock gunning against former highly touted recruit Shane Morris, but Michigan is also facing several years of catchup in the talent development arena as Ohio State and Michigan State have dominated the conference this past season.

Though Ohio State has won 12 of the past 14 games verses Michigan, Bender expects that this year’s game in Ann Arbor will be close given the invigorated setting for fans and the program for the first game between the two coaches.

Michigan went 5-7 last season, with a 3-5 conference record.

"Coach Meyer talks about defining moments. That was a real defining moment. We went out on the balcony and just laid the foundation."

-Ohio State guard Billy Price, via Andy Staples, Sports Illustrated

One of the formative moments of the 2014 Ohio State football season happened in the middle of the night in a Florida hotel after an Orange Bowl loss to Clemson.

Linebacker Darron Lee pounded on offensive lineman Billy Price’s door at 3:45 a.m. to discuss what they were going to do to help fix the team for the following season. Neither had played in the Orange Bowl, both of them sitting out as redshirt freshmen, and both discussed the feeling of helplessness they encountered standing on the sidelines, watching their team lose and quarterback Braxton Miller falling to injury early on in the game.

The duo decided to do something to improve their situation, vowing to police each other throughout their off-season practices, where both would be picking up new positions. Lee, who had been recruited as a quarterback out of high school, made the switch to linebacker. Price had initially chosen to play on the defensive line at Ohio State, but switched to offense in the preseason. The loss of linemen Corey Linsley, Jack Mewhort and Andrew Norwell to the NFL opened up starting spots on the offensive line for Price, but both Price and Lee agreed that they had to be more than starters to help turn the Buckeyes around --- they had to be leaders.

Lee and Price were joined in their recruiting class by other standouts from the 2014 season, including quarterback J.T. Barrett, who stepped up following Miller’s injury, running back Ezekiel Elliott, defensive end Joey Bosa, safety Vonn Bell and cornerback Eli Apple.

This year’s incoming freshman class on the Ohio State men’s hockey team includes three players who have already been drafted by NHL teams in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in the fifth round. The class includes seven forwards and three defensemen from five states and one Canadian province. The drafted players include:

  • Dakota Joshua, forward from Michigan, drafted No. 128 overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Tyler Nanne, defenseman from Minnesota, drafted No. 142 overall by the New York Rangers
  • Miguel Fidler, forward from Minnesota, drafted No. 143 overall by the Florida Panthers

All 10 of the incoming freshmen played in the United States Hockey League, the top junior ice hockey league in the country, with four of the players serving as captains of their respective teams. The league is entirely amateur, and players are able to go on to play NCAA hockey after participating.

The NHL Entry Draft allows pro teams to draft players sometimes years in advance of them actually signing with their respective teams, allowing for continued development on the ice in a highly competitive environment. In the draft, division I players can be chosen without losing their eligibility. Players between the ages of 18-20 are eligible for the draft.

"The first overall selection to the Portland Trail Blazers in 2007, Oden was considered a generational pro prospect capable of having a career arc similar to the NBA’s all-time big men greats."

-Shams Charania, Real GM

Former Buckeye basketball star and free agent Greg Oden is working out for several teams over the summer as part of free agent camps. He visited with the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday and is also scheduled to meet with the Dallas Mavericks this week.

Oden already worked out for the Memphis Grizzlies in the spring, and the Grizzlies are expected to continue monitoring Oden throughout the summer. Fellow Buckeye Mike Conley, Jr., who played with Oden since high school, has been a standout on the team for several years.

In his one year at Ohio State, Oden, a 7-foot center, averaged over 15 points and nine rebounds per game, leading the Buckeyes to the NCAA tournament finals in 2007.

The 27 year old Oden has played two seasons for Portland and one for Miami, having been plagued by injury, including three microfracture knee surgeries, throughout his career. Oden was picked up by Miami in 2013 after being inactive for three seasons. He played in 23 games with the Heat in the 2013-14 season, scoring 67 total points with 54 rebounds.