In Week 9 of Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Alex Wolfe, challenges Staff Writers Krystal Spencer and Kevin Lee and Sports Editor Brandon Gould to answer questions about which team is the favorite to run the table and come out of March Madness as the National Champion, whether or not Jim Tressel’s extended suspension is sincere and who the best player in the year’s NBA draft class is.
1. It’s tourney time, and everyone in the country now believes they’re a certified bracketologist. So the obvious question is, who’s going to win the tournament, and why?
KS: Well after the University of Pittsburgh was upset, who knows? I don’t know if a No. 1 team will take it. My bracket says Ohio State University. I said in a previous AtD that they would be a No. 1 seed in this tournament, and I still think they can take it all. Ohio State has already beaten many of the teams that advanced to the Sweet 16, something that bodes well for them. Plus, Ohio State just has to play basketball. The University of Connecticut has to prove themselves as a No. 3 seed. Kansas State University has to redeem themselves after last year. San Diego State University and the University of Florida have to remind the country why they were given No. 2 seeds. Duke University has to pull off a repeat. The Buckeyes have proven to us time and time again that they know what to do and how to do it. This is their year, hands down.
KL: Kansas University will win the NCAA Championship. The Jayhawks have a ton of experience within their players and coaching staff. Kansas’ top four scorers are composed of three juniors and one senior, which are led by Maurice Morris with 17.3 points per game. In addition, Bill Self is one of the best coaches of our generation and led the Jayhawks to a national championship in 2008. Finally, Kansas has an extremely favorable bracket. They have three teams that are ranked as No. 10 seeds or higher. The combination of experience, talent and an extremely favorable schedule gives Kansas the best shot to win it all.
BG: March Madness is all about emotion, so I’m going with the team who has the player who brings the most emotion to the table. That team is the University of Connecticut and that player is Kemba Walker. Walker is averaging over 20 points a game and has played his best on the biggest stages. The Huskies have been able to handle both their opponents so far and don’t seem to be slowing down. The Huskies will have to go through Duke University, but if the Blue Devil’s performance against the University of Michigan is any indication, that game will be a toss-up at the least. This team goes as Walker goes, and if the junior guard brings his A-game, the Huskies will be cutting down the nets when it’s all said and done.
AW: Tough question to judge because of the depth of the tourney, but Krystal gets 3 because OSU has been the best one seed so far. Kevin gets 2 for pointing out how many low seeds Kansas gets to face. Brandon gets 1 because if Walker has an off day, UConn might not be around much longer.
2. Jim Tressel, the Ohio State University football head coach, recently imposed an additional three games on his recruiting violation suspension, lengthening it to five games (matching the suspensions given to his players). Is this honorable or just an attempt to save face?
KS: It’s honorable. While he made a mistake, it’s his way of showing his loyalty to his players (and possibly to future players). I don’t think the offense was so scandalous that he brought so much shame to Ohio State University, so it’s not really to save face or his job. At the end of the day, Ohio State Football is formidable, and Tressel’s dedication to his players only strengthens the program. If they can get suspended together, then they can win together too.
KL: Tressel’s move to lengthen his suspension to five games is an honorable move. The move is honorable, but I believe Tressel made a calculated decision to extend his suspension. This move definitely makes Tressel a “player’s coach,” and the players will respect Tressel and trust him much more. As a result, the Buckeyes will play better and more inspired football once the five game suspension is up. Tressel also knows that the first five games of the season won’t be as competitive as the last five games, so having his players play inspired football then is much more valuable.
BG: Tressel deserves to be suspended for the whole season. The kids made mistakes and that’s fine because they’re just kids, but Tressel is a grown man in a leadership role. It’s hard to catch every little thing that players do off the field, especially when you’re in charge of so many of them. However, this issue was brought to Tressel’s attention and he failed to address the situation. Maybe it was because he didn’t think it was true or maybe it was because the information he received was about two of his best players — quarterback Terrelle Pryor and wide receiver DeVier Posey. Whatever the case, Tressel messed up big time on this one.
AW: Brandon gets 3 for pointing out that Tressel knew what was going on, but didn’t address it. Kevin gets 2 for pointing out that Tressel’s move was probably well calculated. Krystal gets 1 because his violation wasn’t huge but lying to investigators was.
3. The NCAA tournament is a great showcase for some of the best talent in college basketball to prove to scouts that they’re NBA-ready. Who is the best player in this year’s draft class?
KS: I’ve never been a fan of freshman entering the draft. Raw talent doesn’t get cultivated after only one year in college. But regardless of my opinion, players like Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving are going to probably enter the tournament, especially if their teams make it deep into the tournament. With that being said, Kemba Walker will probably be the best player in the draft. Not only does he have individual star power, but Walker is the definition of a team player. He gets everyone involved, and whenever he’s on the court, he makes everyone better. That’s something that I’d think NBA teams would be more interested in rather than just how explosive his dunks are.
KL: Sophomore Derrick Williams from the University of Arizona is the best player in this year’s draft class. Williams’ ability to score in any way is just scary. With his back to the basket, Williams will use his strength, along with long and efficient drop steps to create separation where he can score on turn around jumpers and touch hooks. Lay off Williams, and he’ll drain the three, which is evident by his ridiculous 61 percent from three-point land. Guard him tightly, and he’ll put the ball on the floor and attack the hoop, using his body to shield his defender, making it difficult to contest his shot. Defensively, his frame allows him to do a good job bodying up and defending the post. Williams averaged 2.5 personal fouls per game, which illustrates his high defensive IQ and understanding of defensive positioning. Oh yeah, his seven-plus foot wingspan will also be pretty useful in the NBA too.
BG: The best player in this year’s draft class is Duke University guard Kyrie Irving. The only reason this is even debatable is because the freshman missed most of the season with a toe injury. Irving played in the Blue Devils first eight games, where they went 8-0, and averaged over 17 points per game. His biggest performance came when he lead the Blue Devils with 31 points, six rebounds and four assists in an 84-79 win over Michigan State University. When it comes down to it, Irving is an elite talent and whoever wins the lottery will be getting one hell of a prize.
AW: Krystal gets the 3 because Walker has shown that he’s a much better passer, plus his scoring. Brandon gets 2 because Irving is clearly a stellar point guard ready for the next level. Kevin also gets 2 because Williams is a phenomenal talent.