Buckeyes Are Feeling Michigan State's Pain

By Josh Herwitt - November 06, 2007


So last week I was asking what was up with Michigan State.

Now I'm asking, what is up with the Big Ten?!?

Oh, how Thad Matta misses Greg Oden. And Michael Conley, Jr. And Daequan Cook. And Ron Lewis. And Ivan Harris.

The list just seems to go on and on...So why am I a little bit hysterical?

Because in the first four days of the season, two teams from the Big Ten have lost exhibition games to Division II schools!

That's right people. Michigan State isn't the only one after last Friday's debacle to Grand Valley State.

Ohio State joined the Spartans Tuesday night, as the Buckeyes were stunned at home by Division II Findlay, falling 70-68.

Yes, Ohio State lost on its home floor to a Division II school, though the Oilers did finish last season at 29-2 overall and 17-0 in their conference and happened to be ranked No. 5 in this year's NABC poll.

"You have to keep in mind that it's a practice game, an exhibition," Findlay coach Ron Niekamp said. "Both teams need to realize that. Ohio State is a young team and is going to get better."

Still, excuses are excuses, and there's no way the Buckeyes should have lost this game. The Oilers' tallest player, in fact, is only 6-foot-9, and it's hard to believe that highly-touted 7-foot freshman Kosta Koufos couldn't have had his way down low all night.

"I give Findlay all the credit in the world," Matta said. "They are a great team. I think this team [Ohio State] needed this in some ways, but we are going to continue to build. We will make this into a positive and we will continue to progress. It is really eye-opening and we will continue to stress the small things."

Said Koufos: "Findlay played their heart out. What we need to do now is to go and practice hard to continually get better. We also need to get more mentally prepared before each game."

In other words, the Buckeyes weren't exactly pumped up to play an exhibition game against a Division II school 100 miles north of Columbus.

And maybe I'm just being harsh here, but honestly, when was the last time two BCS schools, let alone two Big Ten schools, lost exhibition games to Division II opponents?

I'd be surprised if it's ever happened.

"I saw Grand Valley beat a Big Ten team [Michigan State] and I felt we could come down here and do the same thing," Findlay guard Marcus Parker said afterward. "Now we have confidence and know we can beat any team."

So now before you hear it any more this season, that favorite word that every college basketball TV analyst likes to throw around is saying it once again in just the second day of the 2007-08 season.

Parity.

That's right, if things continue like they have in the first week of the season, we could have something like college football this season, where anybody it seems can beat anybody. Who knows, maybe Michigan will even beat No. 1 Ohio State in that classic rivalry game at the Big House in less than two weeks.

But with the way things are going now, the polls could mean very little by the time we reach March, and that's fine for someone who never put a whole lot of stock in the rankings anyway.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 10:12 PM on November 06, 2007
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