Friday, March 30, 2012

Jared Sullinger-Thomas Robinson only part of it

Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger talks about his regret for not playing the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse when the two teams met earlier this year, Thursday, March 29, 2012.

Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger talks about his regret for not playing the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse when the two teams met earlier this year, Thursday, March 29, 2012.


— When former Ohio State point guard James “Scoonie” Penn helped lead the Buckeyes to the 1999 Final Four, he did so without the luxury of playing with a dominant big man.

Although more than a decade has gone by since that Final Four, Penn could not help himself when asked how much he would have benefited from playing with a center like current Buckeyes All-American Jared Sullinger.

“I would’ve loved it,” Penn said Thursday at the Superdome, site of this year’s Final Four. “Would’ve loved it. It opens up so much for the perimeter. It’s awesome. What does every point guard always say? He would love to play with a great big guy. He sets me a solid screen, and it’s such an advantage. I can pull up, I can go score, I can drop it off. It’s an advantage.”

Penn, who recently wrapped up a professional playing career in Europe and spent the summer scrimmaging with the Buckeyes, is back in Columbus, Ohio, trying to break into television. Although he spent much of Thursday on the other side of the camera, he was happy to share his thoughts about the marquee match-up between Sullinger and Kansas University All-American Thomas Robinson. The way Penn sees it, the head-to-head match-up between Sullinger and Kansas center Jeff Withey might be more important to the outcome of Saturday’s 7:49 p.m. semifinal. If that’s the case, it could spell good news for the Jayhawks, according to Penn.

“All year, (Sullinger’s) been having problems with guys that size,” Penn said of Sullinger’s facing the 7-foot Withey. “The length has been hurting him. So I think it’s gonna be Sully and what the big fella can do with Jared. One of them’s gonna get in foul trouble, we just don’t know which one yet.”

Penn was not the only Ohio State guy who tried to take the focus off of the showdown between big-time big men. Sullinger also took a turn.

“People are making such a big deal about this being Jared Sullinger against Thomas Robinson,” Sullinger said. “But at the end of the day, it’s The Ohio State University against Kansas.”

And it’s happening for the second time this season. The Jayhawks topped the Sullinger-less Buckeyes, 78-67, at Allen Fieldhouse back in December. Asked if he regretted missing that one, Sullinger complimented KU’s home arena.

“I was very disappointed,” he said. “It was hurtful because that’s one of the best places to play. It was loud. I left the floor with a headache, and I didn’t even play.”

Sullinger said he did everything he could to play that day. But back spasms that left him unable to stand upright or walk properly made it impossible.

“I couldn’t bend,” Sullinger recalled. “I was walking like someone with an arch in their back. If I went out there, they would’ve attacked me all game, and I would’ve been like a dead duck.”

That’s not likely to be the case this weekend. The 6-foot-9, 265-pound Sullinger, who enters Saturday’s game averaging 17.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per outing, said he had not had any issues with his back since he was cleared to return to action nearly three months ago. Just as he was back in December, Sullinger is looking forward to measuring his game against Robinson’s somewhere other than one of the three offseason skills camps the two attended together.

“Everybody’s kind of shocked that he ‘came out of nowhere,’” Sullinger said of the 6-10, 237-pound Robinson. “But he’s a great player. He’s fast, he’s strong, he never gives up on a play, and he’s always in attack mode. Like I said earlier, he’s the player of the year in my eyes — without a doubt.”

Sullinger’s kind words about Robinson were echoed earlier in the day by Robinson, who said he, too, was excited finally to be able to face Sullinger.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” Robinson asked. “Off the floor we’re cool. But he’s a competitor, and I’m a competitor, so come Saturday, we can’t be cool out there. He didn’t play (in December), but he’s gonna play Saturday, so we’ll see what the difference was.”


ksbball1 2 years ago

I like the fact that almost all the talking heads are picking us to loose to OSU tomorrow night. The Hawks play much better when they're the under dog. RCJHKGKU


addlime 2 years ago

I can understand Davis, although I don't agree. But Haith, give me a break. Who is in the final four with a team picked by many to finish as low as fifth in the conference. Not even close. AP writers are a bunch of ignorant fools. I'd give it to Fred Hoiberg before I'd give it to Haith.


Jason Keller 2 years ago

Is anyone else shocked that KU is picked to lose? I'm trying to fight off my KU fan mentality that always assumes KU will win. How can anyone who claims to know basketball pick Ohio State to beat us? They're a really good team but the matchups aren't in their favor at all. I don't know, maybe I don't know anything about basketball or there is something I'm missing. I would say that if KU can finally get some shots to drop, we could literally win this thing by a dozen. We just need to survive and advance. I'm coming to the bar with my Lousville shirt on overtop of my KU shirt. I almost want Kentucky to lose as bad as I want KU to win.


2 years ago

Just received an alert from my ESPN Bracket Bound app that Anthony Davis won AP Player of the Year. I can’t find a story to corroborate it though.

TRob can still win the Naismith Award!


Tony Bandle 2 years ago

Current talk at Final Four:

Kentucky: This could be the best college team since the Jabbar/UCLA days. They are big, deep, talented, focused..basically unstoppable.

Louisville: Have a coach who gets Calipari's goat, weren't healthy last time they played but made it a game, intangible of in-state hated rivalry makes them very, very dangerous.

Ohio State: Geat team with three great players, could possibly be the biggest road block for the Wildcats, are capable of the upset.

Kansas: Oh yeah, they're here too.

Just the way we like it!!!!!!!!!!


justinryman 2 years ago

Per both schools websites the players are listed as:


Sullinger: 6-9 280lbs


omng392 2 years ago

Question: When you graduate from "THE" Ohio State University... Do you get the "THE" on your diplouma????


Alex Resnik 2 years ago

I think that the most overshadowed machup of the the weekend is T-Rob vs. DeShawn Thomas. This guy is one of the hotter players right now and T-Rob won't be able to take an defensive possessions off. If T-Rob is able to defend Thomas outside of the lane, or get him in foul trouble early by posting him up on offense. I think KU can win. If Thomas runs free and we have to have Withey sit and Young guard him.. we could be in trouble. Overall, I'm picking KU by 5. Rock Chalk!


John Strayer 2 years ago

Is that a typo? T-Rob gives up almost 30 lbs to Sullinger? With T-Rob's body...that just seems to be impossible.


Justin Kruse 2 years ago

A little motivational video to show the boys before the game, courtesy of Jack.


John Mueller 2 years ago

PS If we play like we played against Carolina, I think we win.

If we play like we did against Purdue, we lose.

Love to see TT conquer the dome with his outside shot.

I really believe we have the better combo in the paint vs. the big guy.

I think the key matchup is TT vs. Craft.

Good TT wins, bad TT (turnovers and confounding three quarter court bounce passes) = sad jayhawks


John Mueller 2 years ago

"The" Ohio State University = tool

who's idea was that?


VaJay 2 years ago

Espn is so chock full of the KY-Louisville matchup & there's hardly anything on us. And as stated above, when they do finally get around to spending a moment on the "other game", the prognosticators are almost all for OSU. I like that we are flying under the radar. We all know how well coach does when he has several days to prepare... Go 'Hawks!


KansasComet 2 years ago

This game is all about rebounding, crashing the boards and staying out of foul trouble. Withey, Robinson, Taylor, Johnson, Releford have all had 20 point games this year. Young had 14 against Ohio State last time. I am looking forward to this game. Ohio State plays much better on their home court, they tend to struggle away home. When this Kansas Team is motivated, they are the best team in the country.


JayHawkFanToo 2 years ago

HC Self indicated that the match up for Sullinger will be Whitey; Robinson will get Sullinger only during player switches. In any case, I remember reading that Robinson was schooling Sullinger at the Summer camps, so I am confident that TRob can handle Sullinger if necessary.


RJ King 2 years ago

Danny, Danny, Danny - we need a parting gift.


jayhawker_97 2 years ago

Sully will be the one that's close to the basket most of the time. and you know what? i don't think he'll have much luck as he had with the other teams. it's tough enough to get around wide body like TRob, now he has to shoot over shot blocker, mean looking, spiker-Withey. so, it's really Sully vs TRob + Withey, to be precise. and now they have to depend on 3s, which might be even tougher with our defenders on perimeter, plus dome perception. i don't want to jinx our chance, as long as our team is loose, having fun, we'll advance. the hell with espn analish - prediction means no sh1t..

rock chalk!


Doug Cramer 2 years ago

All three ESPN analysts, Vitale, Hubert Davis, and Jay Bilas said that They favor Ohio State...because we don't have an answer to Sullinger in the post.

Really ? Because the last time I checked, we have a top five defense in the nation, and the leading shot blocker in the Big 12.

More fuel for the how this team plays when they're supposedly the dog in the media's eyes.


bbeckum 2 years ago

I don't know what I'm more excited about: TRob v Sully or TT v Craft


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