“I had other opportunities — Hawaii, Pepperdine — but I wanted something different,” the 6-foot-6, senior opposite said. “I visited and fell in love with Ohio State. I love the campus, the people, the seasons. This has been awesome.”
— Ohio State volleyball star Miles Johnson on how he ended up as a Buckeye (John Maffei, The San Diego Union-Tribune
While he may have grown up in California, Miles Johnson has grown to be a superstar on the Ohio State men's volleyball team. As reported by The San Diego Tribune Review, Johnson had opportunities to play on the college level at the likes of Hawaii and Pepperdine, but chose to come to the capital of Ohio.
Choosing to be a Buckeye has benefited both parties, as Johnson has helped the Buckeyes reach the NCAA Championship in back-to-back seasons. Last season, when Ohio State won the whole enchilada by beating UCLA and BYU in the tournament, Johnson picked up NCAA Tournament MVP honors as well as All-MIVA (conference) honors. In that tournament run, which took place at Penn State's campus in University Park, Penn., Johnson attributed a whopping 40 points, while attacking at .352.
This season, Johnson picked up right where he left off—and was an even bigger nemesis to opposing teams. He helped the Buckeyes soar to one of the longest win streaks ever in the MIVA en route to a 30-2 record. Johnson stuffed the box scores, and entered the NCAA tournament this season with 415 kills. That was good enough for him to bring home first place All-American honors.
In that article by John Maffei, Johnson said he wanted something different in college. I think it´s safe to say he found something different, as it´s not too often that you help pave the way for a program to reach two straight national championship games.
Speaking of going to the natty, how exactly did the Buckeyes get there?
“After a tight first set, the Buckeyes dominated the Rainbow Warriors from the service line and at the net en route to a 25-22, 25-18, 25-19 victory”
— Jacob Myers of The Lantern breaks down the OSU men's volleyball win in the national semifinals against Hawaii
Last year in the NCAA Tournament, the Buckeyes had an epic battle against UCLA in the semifinals. This time around, it was Hawaii that stood in the Bucks´ way of reaching the national title game. However, the Warriors only stood in the Scarlet and Gray´s way for a short amount of time, as they were dispatched in just three sets.
The match lasted less than 90 minutes, but Pete Hanson´s squad showcased their strengths to the volleyball world (again). Johnson did his part by earning 9 kills, while Nicolas Szerszen led the team with 10 kills. Keeping up with the numerical pattern, the Buckeyes collected 11 blocks as a team. In comparison, the Warriors, who entered this game with an impressive 27-5 record, recorded just one team block.
Szerszen also tallied five service aces, and the Bucks had six as a team. Just like in the team block section of the box score, Hawaii could only muster a single tally in the service ace category.
With the win, OSU has a chance to capture the championship on their home floor on Saturday night. Once again, it will be a Buckeyes-BYU Cougars matchup for all the marbles. Unlike last year, the Bucks don’t have to travel far, as their home floor, St. John Arena, is the host venue for this year’s tournament.
The championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET, and will be broadcasted on ESPN2.
“To make that a reality, the Big Ten has decided that each member of the league will play a home game and a road game the first weekend of December.”
— Rob Dauster on the Big Ten Conference rearranging the schedule in order to have the B1G Basketball Tournament take place at the Madison Square Garden in 2018. (NBC Sports)
Transitioning to the college basketball world, there was some pretty big news in regards to how the scheduling will work for this upcoming season. More specific, it’s how the Big Ten conference will make do with holding the conference tournament in the Madison Square Garden—the same place where the Big East conference takes place.
The answer is simple to make the arrangement work: the Big Ten would have to play the conference tourney a week earlier than usual. That way, there isn’t a venue problem with two tournaments happening at the same time. The issue if you’re a member of the B1G: You now have to play a couple conference games in the late part of November/early part of December—a time normally dedicated to playing non-conference squads and getting your team ready for the conference grind.
All of this would be happening around the ACC/Big Ten challenge, which will dictate whether the two conference games take place on Friday/Sunday or Saturday/Monday. Those conference games are important, as that’s how the seeding for the conference tournament is established. Now, teams that are just starting to play together will be thrust into some pretty big games that will determine who gets a bye-date in the conference tournament in NYC.
In the article by Rob Dauster, the reasoning for the conference tourney to stop by MSG is to increase the conference footprint (which ultimately brings in more money for the member institutions). The tradeoff is that the Big Ten, one of the power conferences in the college basketball world, would be playing their conference tournament a week earlier with the Mid-Major conferences.
Who knows, maybe this ideal is really good. The Big Ten wouldn’t be competing with the other major conferences for eyes, and have the spotlight on them. On the other side of the coin, the Big Ten schools that make it to the NCAA tournament would be sitting for a week. For teams that need the rest to get healthy, it seems like a good idea; for the teams that are riding a hot-streak, that added rest may do more harm than good. We won’t know for sure until we see the effects in real time.