The Buckeyes Hit The Road, To Jayhawk Land (Cont.)

Jared Sullinger sat out today’s game, and Ohio State fell short and suffered its first loss of the season.  Kansas shot the ball well, Thomas Robinson was a beast down low, and the Jayhawks pulled away from the Buckeyes at the end, 78-67.

However, I can’t be too discouraged by the Buckeyes’ play today.  Clearly, the Buckeyes’ offense was out of sync without Sullinger in the game, and they are still adjusting to his absence in the middle.  Nevertheless, and although Ohio State just could not buy a bucket in the first half, they hung in the game and consistently answered the Kansas surges with a surge of their own.  Deshaun Thomas, and in the second half William Buford and Aaron Craft, made some big buckets to keep the Buckeyes within range — but Ohio State just could not get over the hump.  Credit Kansas’ defense, and also their making some clutch buckets to stop Ohio State runs.

I liked the fact that the Buckeyes did not quit and kept hustling, and I also like the fact that the Buckeyes’ two highly touted freshmen, Amir Williams and Shannon Scott, played important minutes in a hostile arena.  For all of the Ohio State players, this was a game that will toughen them up and get them ready for the Big Ten season.  They aren’t going to play in many venues as loud and tough as Allen Fieldhouse.

I do, however, have one other thought after today’s game:  Jared, get well soon!

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Welcome, Alien Overlords!

Don’t look now, but aliens are circling Mercury in an enormous, cloaked spaceship.  At least, that’s what some people believe.   They point to an image recorded by NASA’s STEREO spacecraft, which shows a coronal mass ejection from the Sun flowing over Mercury and, apparently, another object of comparable size.

UFO enthusiasts contend that the image captures a planet-sized cloaked spacecraft, rendered visible only by the electronically charged material from the Sun.  However, scientists say the apparent shape really is just Mercury, at its position the previous day, that shows up as a result of the enhanced imaging techniques NASA uses for space photographs.  The scientific explanation is boring, so it’s a lot more exciting to speculate about huge spaceships.

If there are aliens orbiting Mercury in a masked spacecraft, what the heck are they doing there?  After all, any alien race that could build and power a planet-sized spaceship, send it careening to a distant solar system, shield it from our perception, and park it into orbit around Mercury without anyone noticing obviously has technological capabilities far beyond ours.  If they want to conquer Earth, what are they waiting for?  They could waltz over and pulverize us in short order.

Of course, it could be a ship of alien scientists who just want to study the puny affairs of humans, like we might study an ant farm.  It’s hard to imagine that we are of interest to an advanced alien race, but we humans have always found ourselves fascinating, so perhaps aliens would, too.  Hey, if the aliens can hide a spaceship as large as a planet, maybe they’ve landed already!  Maybe they’re here right now, invisible and undetectable, observing us, taking notes, and getting ready to file a report about whether we should be permitted to survive or whether we should be stamped out before we spread across the galaxy like a virus.

We’d all better be on our best behavior, in hopes that we impress our alien overlords as a promising race that is well worth saving.  I’m looking at you, Congress!

The Buckeyes Hit The Road, To Jayhawk Land

So far this season, the basketball Buckeyes have stayed within the comfortable confines of the Schott.  They’ve beaten some good teams — Duke and Florida among them — but you never quite know about a team’s character until you see them on the road, playing before screaming fans in a hostile arena.

Today that will change.  This afternoon the Buckeyes will travel to Kansas to play the perennial power Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse.  And what a place for your to get your first taste of the road!  Allen Fieldhouse is one of the most venerated venues in college basketball, with its packed in fans and their weirdly chilling “Rock-Chalk-Jayhawk” chant.  The Buckeyes can expect face-painted, bare-chested KU students to yell their brains out every time Aaron Craft brings the ball upcourt.

This will be an interesting game for the Buckeyes for other reasons.  The big question to be answered is whether Jared Sullinger will play and, if so, whether he will be hobbled.  The Buckeyes offense is designed to exploit Sullinger’s many talents, and when he didn’t play last game the offense sputtered.  If Sullinger doesn’t play — and I wouldn’t expect Coach Thad Matta to take any chances, at the outset of a long season — the other Buckeyes will have to step up.

Kansas has a very good team.  They are ranked in the top 15 nationally, and their 6-2 record is deceiving because the losses have come against Kentucky and Duke.  The Jayhawks have lots of size and depth and are led by stud 6-9 forward Thomas Robinson and guard Tyshawn Taylor.  If the Buckeyes hope to win this game, they will have to play solid defense, force some turnovers, and — if Sullinger can’t play or is limited — get a big game from Evan Ravenel.

The tip is at 3:15 this afternoon.  We’ll know a lot more about the grit and determination this Buckeye team possesses by 5:30 tonight.