Jody Victor®: Buckeyes At The Olympics

Jody Victor: In her time at Ohio State, Jackie Barto has transformed the women's hockey program, turning a club program into a well-respected varsity team. Barto's perseverance has paid off: This year, the head coach is sending four players–three alumni and current student Minttu Tuominen–to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Tuominen, a freshman, came to Ohio State from Finland. She plans a future career in nutrition, working with young athletes. (She's taking classes online to keep up with her school work while competing in Vancouver.) Tuominen realized a longtime dream when she made Ohio State's hockey team. She says it's an honor to represent not only her country, but also the Buckeyes.

“When my teammates heard that I made it to the Olympics, they said, 'Oh, I'll definitely root for Finland,'” Tuominen says. “I think that the team's even more excited than I am.”

Athletes with Buckeye ties will be representing the U.S., Canada, and Finland in the Olympics. In addition to Tuominen, Buckeye Olympians are:

·         Emma Laaksonen, who played defense for the Buckeyes from 2001-04 on the team. Laaksonen is the captain of Team Finland; the Vancouver games will be her fourth Olympic appearance.

·         Lisa Chesson, a defender for the Ohio State women’s hockey team from 2005-08, who will play for the U.S.

·         Tessa Bonhomme, a former all-American and women’s team defenseman from 2004-08, will play for Team Canada.

·         Ryan Kesler, a forward for the Buckeye men’s team in 2002-03, rounds out the group. He will play for the U.S.

Barto has a good eye for future Olympians: She was on the selection committee for the 2006 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team. She also coached the U.S. Women’s National Team to a gold medal at the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships and a silver medal at the 2007 Four Nations Cup–the two biggest non-Olympic events in women's hockey.

Ohio State has a long history of Olympians, the most famous example being Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. More than 200 athletes with Ohio State ties have competed in the games, with 48 earning 77 medals: 33 gold, 28 silver, and 16 bronze.

The Buckeyes aren't just dominating on Ohio State's fields, courts, and rinks. Ohio State student-athletes also are leaders in the classroom, earning a 3.07 grade point average last year. They top the Big Ten for the sixth-consecutive year with a record of 306 Academic All-Big Ten selections and 73 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars with GPAs of 3.7 or higher.

Student-athletes' experience playing on a team and working toward a goal makes them lucrative to employers after graduation, Barto says.

“It opens up a lot of opportunities for our women once they graduate.”

Go Bucks!!!

Jody Victor

Posted in OSU

Jody Victor®: No. 9 Ohio State Closes Out Season Series With No. 4 Purdue

Jody Victor: Ohio State (20-6, 10-3) will play Purdue (21-3, 9-3) tomorrow night to finish the season. The home game in Value City Arena begins at 6:31 p.m. ET and will be televised on the Big Ten Network and on radio, the OSU Radio Network.

All five Ohio State starters averaged double figures in the road wins at IU and UI. Evan Turner and William Buford averaged 13 points while Dallas Lauderdale and David Lightly contributed 11.5 ppg. Jon Diebler added 10.5 points. The Buckeyes shot 51 percent from the field (53-105) last week and 41 percent from 3-point range (13-32). The squad also hit 71 percent from the foul line (22-31). The Buckeyes won by an average of 18 points vs. the Hoosiers and Illini, which combined shot shot 36 percent from the field (43-121).

Ohio State enters the game vs. Purdue with a 20-6 overall record and a 10-3 record in league play. The game vs. Purdue also will be the 200th for Matta as head coach of the Buckeyes. He enters the game with a record of 147-52 at Ohio State.

Ohio State recruits Jared Sullinger (2010) and Deshaun Thomas (2010) were selected Feb. 11 to represent the East Team in the 2010 McDonald's All-America game. The game will be played March 31 at Value City Arena in Columbus.

Go Bucks!!

Jody Victor

Posted in OSU

Jody Victor®: Ohio State at Indiana Wednesday

Jody Victor: No. 13/16 Ohio State (18-6, 8-3) will play at Indiana (9-13, 3-7) in Assembly Hall tomorrow night. Game time is 6:31 p.m. ET and will be televised on the Big Ten Network and played on the OSU Radio Network.

For each of the last nine seasons, all as a head coach, Thad Matta has guided teams to at least 20 victories. Only Mark Few, among active coaches, has more consecutive 20-win seasons to start a career (10). Matta set the Ohio State record for consecutive 20-win campaigns last year with a 22-11 record, the fifth-consecutive Ohio State season with 20+ victories. The previous record was four held by the 1960-63 teams under legendary head coach Fred Taylor.

Matta also has won at least 10 Big Ten regular-season games in each of the last four seasons. A fifth double-digit effort in the win column in 2010 would tie Taylor's mark of 10+ league wins in each of the seasons from 1960-64. those were during 14-game regular-season slates. The Big Ten played a 16-game schedule in Matta's first three seasons (8, 12, 15 league wins) and an 18-game schedule the last two (10, 10).

Evan Turner averaged 29.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.5 steals in a pair of home wins vs. Penn State and Iowa the week of Feb. 1. The Buckeye junior connected on 57 percent of his field goals (21-37) and 17-of-22 attempts from the charity stripe (.773) while only committing three turnovers in 80 minutes of action. Against Penn State, Turner registered 27 points to go along with 10 rebounds and six assists. The Chicago native finished the week with a career-high tying 32 points to move into 26th on Ohio State's all-time scoring list with 1,239 points. The 6-7 guard also added five assists and seven rebounds in the win over the Hawkeyes. His performance vs. Iowa marked the second 30-point effort of Turner's career. Turner now has 61 career games with 10 or more points, including 16 this season. The Big Ten POW selection marks Turner's fifth of the season, tying him with Purdue's Glen Robinson for the single-season record. He has a league record eight career Big Ten POW honors.

Go Bucks!!!

Jody Victor

Posted in OSU

Jody Victor®: 1960 National Championship Team Honored

Jody Victor: A capacity crowd roared as the 1960 national title team was honored at halftime of Sunday's game vs. Minnesota at Value City Arena. Led by stars Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek – along with substitute Bob Knight, who would become the winningest college coach ever – the school's only national championship basketball team received a warm and emotional welcome home Sunday.

Grayer, more stooped and heavier in their dotage, the 1960 Buckeyes received a lengthy standing ovation as they were introduced – a spotlight pinpointing each player as they walked slowly and deliberately to midcourt – during halftime of the current Buckeyes' game with Minnesota. The Buckeyes beat the Golden Gophers 85-63, attributing the victory to not wanting to disappoint the honorees.

Knight then honored the man who brought them all together originally, late coach Fred Taylor. A banner was unfurled from the rafters celebrating Taylor's 18 seasons as head coach, which included seven Big Ten titles, four trips to the Final Four and that 1960 title.

The players, now in their 70s or close to it, returned to Ohio State for what turned into an emotional tribute to one of the few members of that team who wasn't on hand at Value City Arena.

Four members of the team are in the Hall of Fame, with Taylor and Knight in the coaches wing, and Lucas and Havlicek – both of whom were selected as one of the NBA's greatest 50 players ever in 1997 – joining them as players. All five starters, including Larry Siegfried, Joe Roberts and Mel Nowell, played in the NBA.

The Buckeyes hit 84 percent of their shots from the field to build a 37-19 lead over Cal in the national title game at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. They coasted to a 75-55 victory. The underclassmen also made it to the championship game the next two seasons, but lost each time to in-state rival Cincinnati.

Several hundred people attended a reception and ceremony on Saturday night at St. John Arena, where the 1960 Buckeyes actually played their games. Each player received replicas of the national championship trophy.

Go Bucks!!!

Jody Victor

Posted in OSU