On To The Dance

The Ohio State Buckeyes played a good game today but lost to the Michigan Wolverines, 72-69. The loss knocked the Buckeyes out of the Big Ten Tournament and kept them out of the championship game, where Ohio State has made a home for years.

No loss is ever a good loss — particularly when it’s against that unholy Team Up North — but this game had some redeeming qualities. Once again Ohio State fell far behind, but once again it came back, and against a darned good team. The Buckeyes stayed with Michigan even though the Wolverines shot lights out, and they held down the high-flying Michigan offense for long stretches of the game. In the end, it came down to some missed free throws, an offensive rebound that went Michigan’s way, and a ball that slipped out of Aaron Craft’s hand.

There were lots of positives in this game. OSU guard Shannon Scott was tremendous — hitting little stop and pop jumpers, bombing in treys, making some great passes, and playing tough defense. Scott looked every inch the five-star recruit he was when he first came to the Buckeyes. If he’s found his rhythm offensively, he’ll be the perfect complement to LaQuinton Ross, who played another strong game inside. The Buckeyes got decent production from a range of players, and they’ll also get an extra day’s rest after playing three tough games in three days.

Now it’s on to the Big Dance. Most people are saying the Buckeyes will be a five seed; I’m guessing a six. At this point, it doesn’t much matter – you need to win every game, or you go home. During the Big Ten Tournament, the Buckeyes showed a lot of toughness and will, and those are qualities that should serve them well in the days ahead. If the Buckeyes play offense during the NCAA Tournament like they did today, and manage not to run into a team that shoots better than 50 percent from behind the arc, they may be dancing past the first weekend. Those of us in Buckeye Nation would happily accept that result.

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A Killing In Columbus

In August 1975 a 14-year-old girl, Christie Mullins, was brutally murdered in the woods behind the Graceland Shopping Center. The murder, and the trial of a man accused of the killing, became a cause celebre in Columbus. When the man was acquitted, the case went into the “unsolved” category — where it has remained for decades.

The Ohio State Lantern and two of its reporters, Jim Yavorcik and Rick Kelly, played an important role in casting light on the circumstances of the Mullins murder and raising questions about the guilt of the man accused of the killing. Our friend and former Lantern stalwart John Oller, who went on to a very successful career as a lawyer, remained interested in the Christie Mullins case, and after his retirement from the law he decided to write about it. The heart of a reporter still beats beneath the lawyerly exterior!

John’s piece, which revisits the murder, the trial, and the evidence, is entitled An All-American Murder and can be reviewed here. He continues to collect information about the case and may ultimately turn his article into a book.

Bad Jeans

Today, like millions of other Americans, I’m wearing my jeans. Unfortunately for me, unlike the rest of the country, my jeans apparently suck.

IMG_5978Kish, Russell, and Richard are unanimous: my one pair of jeans should be thrown out immediately, if not doused in pitch, placed on a funeral pyre, and lit on fire in some kind of quasi-Viking ceremony that involves chanting. As they explain it, everything about the jeans is wrong. They’re too light and too blue. They’re embarrassingly frayed at the bottom of the legs. They’re too baggy. They’re very worn, and a few holes are visible here and there. When I wear them, Russell says I look like a deranged homeless guy. (Of course, I’m not sure you can blame the jeans for the “deranged” part.)

The concept of jeans has changed since I was a teenager. In those days, you had one pair of jeans that you wore until they basically fell apart and your Mom threw them away. Patches were cool. Fraying was cool. Holes that were created by your wearing the jeans (as opposed to fake, manufactured rips) were cool. The whole idea of jeans was about comfort, with a bit of counter-culture rebellion thrown in for good measure. I’m confident that, if my ’70s self saw my current jeans, they’d get the thumbs-up sign.

But, at some point between the ’70s and now, things changed. Jeans became a fashion item. People started to buy multiple pairs of jeans, and what was a multi-purpose article of clothing became specialized. People needed jeans in different colors, flares and straight legs, “destroyed” and non-destroyed, with different pocket designs. Pocket designs? I don’t know if my jeans even have one, because I’d never think of looking at a pocket as part of the jeans-buying decision-making process.

So, I’m reconciled to the fact that my jeans should be the source of humiliation. I don’t care. I’m not wearing them to make a fashion statement, I’m wearing them because they’re comfortable. I cling to the old ways. Oh, and one other thing — I’m cheap.