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Bucks come close without Oden

The Ohio State Buckeyes basketball squad had their first tough test this season. They travel to North Carolina and battled to a 98-89 defeat on the road. The Bucks started fast as they ran out to a 4 point halftime lead. The first half featured Ron Lewis scoring from all angles and Mike Conley leading the team from the point guard position.

In second half, Ohio State’s inexperience and lack of depth took its toll on this young squad. North Carolina went on late 17-2 run and never looked back. This game featured two of the top teams in the nation. If Ohio State can stay with the Tar Heels on the road, without Greg Oden, this team may have what it takes to make a run at the title.

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Cavs close November with a loss

The New York Knicks took the Cavs down to the wire and pulled out a 101-98 win at the Q. The quickness and athleticism of the Knicks put a lot of pressure on the Cavaliers’ defense for most of the night. Their D had trouble stopping the Knicks’ one on one penetration. When the Cavs sagged off the defenders to make up for that, the Knicks were able to knock down the three-pointer. The Cavs lose for just the second time at home this season. LeBron finished with 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. The Cavs finally got their offense going and played solid defense in the third quarter. They closed the quarter on a 17-2 run and led by four going into the final period but weren’t able to sustain the momentum.

Down 101-98 with less than a minute remaining, the Cavs had a couple of opportunities to cut the deficit but failed to do so. A LeBron missed layup on a drive, a Damon Jones bad pass, and a Donyell Marshall missed three-pointer doomed the Cavs in their final three possessions. With just under eight seconds left and the Cavs needing a three to tie it, they executed two inbound plays very poorly, leaving Marshall with no choice but to hoist up a long three with a hand in his face at the end.

Once again, we continue to play down to the competition and are having difficulties playing a full 48 minutes of basketball.

Good or popular?

The Bowl Championship Series is continually criticized for which team doesn’t make the BCS games each year. This year the rules will help one school make it that shouldn’t. The system only allows two teams from each conference to be invited to the BCS competition.

Notre Dame will most likely receive millions of dollars by playing in a BCS contest this year. The 10-2 Irish will compete solely on popularity and not talent. The only two “real” opponents Notre Dame faced this season blasted them by at least 20 points. Michigan won by 26 in the shadow of the golden dome.

Wisconsin and LSU will be left out of the competition because of this rule. These two teams, along with many others, are more talented than the Irish. So, while I think we need a playoff to determine the real Champion, we need to take popularity out of the formula too.

Troy or Men of Troy?

The USC Trojans will face the Ohio State Buckeyes on Jan. 8 in the BCS Championship game. This is assuming they defeat arch rival UCLA this weekend. The Trojans jumped over Michigan in the BCS poll after pounding Notre Dame. I was not a fan of an Ohio State/Michigan rematch. I do feel the Wolverines are one of the top teams in the nation, but a rematch is a no win situation for the Buckeyes.

The Trojans did look strong this Saturday night, although Notre Dame is the most overrated team this year. The Irish have soundly defeated lesser opponents, while Michigan and USC walked over Notre Dame like a rug on your kitchen floor.

I still feel USC will struggle stopping Troy Smith and the spread offense of Ohio State. The Buckeyes have more weapons than all USC opponents in the Pac 10 put together. This game will bring back memories of these two traditional powerhouses battling in the Rose Bowl. If Troy Smith has another game like he did against Michigan, Jim Tressel will be looking at another National Championship.

Coleman’s fight ends

Longtime Browns sportscaster Casey Coleman’s battle with pancreatic cancer has unfortunately come to halt. Coleman, 55, died early Monday morning.

His sideline reporting and broadcasting skills were tremendous and the passion and knowledge he brought the game of football each and every Sunday was unmatched. Casey loved Cleveland and Cleveland loved Casey. He will be missed.

“He will definitely be missed, that’s for sure,” said Browns color analyst Doug Dieken, who worked nine years with Coleman on the team’s radio network and also lived next door to him in the Cleveland suburb of Bay Village for five years. “I never saw Casey. He was always out and about doing something with sports. He was what I guess you would call a ‘sportsaholic.’ For him, it was sports 24/7.”

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