Sports Today: Ohio State, Wright State look to keep rolling

  • Marcus Hartman
10:11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 Sports
NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 23: Keita Bates-Diop #33 of the Ohio State Buckeyes shoots against Brandon Robinson #4 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first half of the CBS Sports Classic at the Smoothie King Center on December 23, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Two questions of local interest will be answered in college basketball tonight: How does Ohio State follow its win over No. 1 Michigan State, and can Wright State keep it going? 

The Buckeyes took down the Spartans on Sunday afternoon then got three days to go back to the lab and continue perfecting their game under new coach Chris Holtmann. 

Ohio State will look to keep pace with Purdue, who improved to 5-0 in league play with a one-point win in Michigan on Tuesday night. 

Maryland brings the highest-scoring team in the Big Ten to Value City Arena and hopes to avoid falling three games out of first place. 

If Ohio State really wants to prove it is part of the top four in the conference (after being picked to finish in the bottom four), this is a game the Buckeyes need to win… 

The Raiders have a bigger challenge as they have to go on the road to face defending Horizon League champion Northern Kentucky. 

Both teams are 4-0 in league play. 

PREVIEW: WSU vs. NKU

This figures to be a defensive battle, which could favor the Raiders, but the Norse are hard to beat on their home floor. They swept WSU in three games last season. 

Whatever happens south of the border tonight, Scott Nagy is making WSU’s widely questioned decision to change coaches two years ago look pretty wise — not the least of which because point guard Cole Gentry and budding star post player Louden Love wouldn’t be Raiders if not for his hiring. 

Tom Archdeacon profiled Love this week, and he appears to be a player worth getting to know based on his size and skills. 

I’m thinking of calling him the American Vitaly Potapenko. 

How’s that sound?… 

On the prep scene, congratulations are in order for Ed Zink. 

The Beavercreek girls’ basketball coach led the Beavers to a 65-38 win over Northmont in his 1,000th game

“This group of kids, they are playing so well right now, especially defensively,” Zink told Marc Pendleton. “They are doing what we’re asking them to do and they’re fun to watch. Hopefully, we can continue that. We’re on a great streak right now and our record is a little bit better than I thought it would be.”

Is this another title contender? 

The Beavers are 7-0 in the GWOC National East, a game ahead of super-talented Wayne in the loss column. 

Beavercreek beat the Warriors 47-33 at home last month and goes to Huber Heights for the rematch Jan. 31. 

Next up for ‘Creek is a visit from Chaminade Julienne on Monday night… 

This wouldn’t be a Sports Today without some mention of football, right? 

Well we can add another coach to the Wing-T fraternity with Barak Faulk taking over at Monroe

“You can say Wing-T across the board or you can just say gap, which is what people have been doing since the beginning of time before they started putting fancy names to it,” Faulk said. “I believe in getting angles. I want a grinding offense. Control the ball. Don’t turn it over. But we’re not going to snooze you to death either. We’ll have various formations. I do believe in passing, but I believe when you pass, it’s got to be on schedule to help us control the ball.” 

Faulk’s version may be run from spread sets because he told Rick Cassano to envision what Gus Malzahn does at Auburn. 

That’s one of multiple versions of the spread-to-run game that have permeated college football. 

RELATED: Good news for power football proponents

Among the aspects that makes it unique is Malzahn’s preference for gap blocking (we used to call it crack, crack, kick during those interminable weeks that we were preparing for a Wing-T team and all three of its plays) rather than the zone blocking many other spreads (such as Urban Meyer’s) feature more in college. 

Put me down as a proponent of gap blocking, and not just because I was an undersized Division VI guard once upon a time. 

Well, OK, that’s probably got a lot to do with it if we’re being honest, but I maintain nothing beats angles when it comes to running the football — no matter what level of play we’re talking about.