Go watch Jared Sullinger play ball. Seriously, go do it. Then, the next time he plays, watch him again because the kid’s a freak. His game makes for must-watch television every time he steps on the hardwood. Forget about the idea that he’s the best freshman in the country because, really, he’s the best player in the NCAA. He plays like Zach Randolph except ten feet above the rim.And if the freshman alone doesn’t instill trepidation in the hearts of any other program in the country by himself, the rest of his team ought to because they are loaded like a baked potato.In early November, a worry surfaced that no team in the NCAA possessed any legitimate star power; that there were no NBA talent-riddled rosters like a North Carolina of 2009 or a Florida of 2007.Unfortunately for the rest of the country, Ohio State recently disabused that perception; just ask JaJuan Johnson and the Purdue Boilermakers, whom the Buckeyes torched by 23 points on Tuesday. And the Buckeyes’ recent dominance is a bad omen for the rest of the Big Ten.If Purdue, which was really Ohio State’s only preseason competition, can’t compete for the Big Ten title, then what other program has a shot?Well, it’s not Illinois. Demetri McCamey has improved every season during his time in Champaign, but the collection of B-talent around him isn’t enough to worry Thad Matta’s Buckeyes.Allegedly, Brandon Paul was going to complement McCamey well and put the Illini back on the college basketball map after swiftly disappearing from it after 2005’s run to the title game. But McCamey has only played okay, Paul has yet to live up to the expectations and the once-hyped Illini only linger towards the bottom of the polls.In Illinois’ tilt with the top ranked Buckeyes down in Champaign last week, they had no answer for Sullinger when the big man took over.It’s not going to be Michigan State, either. Izzo’s squad sits sixth in the conference with debilitating losses to Illinois, Purdue and an improved, though still inferior, Penn State.The Spartans have Kalin Lucas back and have seen nice contributions from senior guard Durrell Summers and junior forward Draymond Green, but they simply don’t have the firepower to hang around with the top teams in the country, a list headlined by Ohio State.It’s not gong to be Minnesota. Tubby Smith may have the Gophers playing the best basketball to come out of the Land of 10,000 Lakes in a long time, which shows what coaching, and subsequently, what a coach’s recruiting can do for any program (unless your Isaiah Thomas), but they are still a ways off from hanging banners any time soon. Minnesota had a shot at Ohio State earlier this month in Columbus and actually made them sweat for a while. They too, however, came up short when a three-pointer that would have sent the game to overtime rattled off the front iron as time expired.Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe, the Gophers’ leading rebounder, actually matches up with Sullinger. Mbakwe held the freshman-phenom to 15 points and 12 boards back on January 9th, but when Sullinger’s production went down, David Lighty went up for the Buckeyes as he scored 19 big points. There’s one ranked Big Ten team left that might have a shot to take down the Buckeyes; one team, which shoots almost 40 percent from behind the arc, has the size to match up with the strength of the Buckeyes and the reputation to pull off big wins on big stages.That’s right, it’s Northwestern.Only kidding, it’s not Northwestern. The team that can catch Ohio State is Wisconsin.The x-factor in college basketball remains three-point shooting. On any given night the Badgers can shoot the lights out and, as Ohio State is a longer team, staying outside the arc might be the way Bo Ryan will want to attack the Buckeyes.The Badgers have players in Josh Gasser, Mike Bruesewitz and Tim Jarmusz with the type of size that can give Ohio State’s William Buford and David Lighty a tough time. But the three will have to step up and execute on the defensive end to keep Buford and Lighty off of the score sheet.Jon Leuer is going to pose a problem for Sullinger as well, as Sullinger hasn’t often matched up with an athletic big man that can shoot the outside jumper. And if Leuer gets in foul trouble, Nankivil can put another body on the big man as well.On paper, the Badgers almost match up well against the nation’s top team. But that’s only on paper. It always comes down to execution.Luckily for Wisconsin, the first of the two games remaining with the Buckeyes takes place at the Kohl Center where the Badgers are notorious for holding serve.The rest of the conference schedule, less two games against Purdue, is really favorable for the Badgers. Ohio State, however, has trips to Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin yet before them.It’s quite possible the Buckeyes are a runaway train to Big Ten glory, but if any team can be the cow on the tracks, it has to be Wisconsin.
Joshua, who has been called out by WBC title holder Deontay Wilder, took to social media to label Fury “fat” and ordered him to “get fit” if a fight between the pair is to happen.However, Fury responded by claiming he’d beat his fierce domestic rival despite weighing “25 stone”, calling Joshua “useless”.“This is a message to the weight-lifter, big Anthony Joshua – the tough man. Who told me to get fit?” Fury said on Instagram.“To be honest with you, I don’t need to get fit to fight somebody like you, at all.“I’ll come to you and I’ll punch your face in for you. Even at 25 stone.“So I really don’t need to get fit for you, put it that way.”Following Joshua’s 10th-round stoppage against Carlos Takam last month, Fury states he has figured out Joshua’s game, insisting the reigning heavyweight champion has “no stamina”.“I’ve seen what you’re about,” he added. “Useless – no gas, no stamina, too many weights. You want to practise on a bit more speed and less power.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Tyson Fury claims he could beat Anthony Joshua at 25 stone and vowed to “punch his face in” after Joshua called Fury “fat” and told him to “get fit”.Fury, who welcomed a fight with Joshua at Wembley next summer, has not fought since dethroning long-time heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.The 29-year old is currently waiting for a final ruling from UK Anti-Doping for a suspended drugs ban, a period which has seen Fury gain weight through inactivity.
The XFL needs to make sure it won’t fail because of football reasons, and there were some interesting quirks about the presentation and gameplay that caught our attention:XFL POWER RANKINGS:Roughnecks, Defenders established at the top entering Week 2KickoffsThe kickoff — which requires that the ball go past the 20 after being kicked and features the return team and kickoff team separated by five yards, at the 30- and 35-yard lines, respectively — is a good alternative to ditching the kickoff altogether. It’s also worth noting that players cannot move until the return man touches the ball.First kickoff ✅📺 @ABCNetwork🖥 https://t.co/Y3eyIb9PfX pic.twitter.com/8uco6BzRDI— XFL (@xfl2020) February 8, 2020It reduces the risk of full-speed collisions, but is also better than watching obligatory touchbacks. In Week 1, there were just three penalties for procedure on kickoffs. There were no holding, clipping or illegal hits on kickoffs. This is an innovation that looks unorthodox but might end up being the norm in the NFL down the line in some variations. It’s a good call by the XFL. XFL WEEK 1 HIGHLIGHTS: Saturday | SundayConversion gameThere are no extra points in the XFL, and it was fair to wonder how that would play out with a system that ditched the traditional extra point and allowed teams to go for one point from the 2-yard line, two points from the 5-yard line or three points from the 10-yard line.There are similar rules in youth flag football leagues, but it works.*whispers*don’t forget a 12-point deficit can be erased with a score and a field goal in the #xfl— XFL (@xfl2020) February 8, 2020On Day 1, teams converted 5 of 14 extra points — with two 1-point conversions and three 2-point conversions. On Day 2, teams were two of five on conversions, and both were 1-point plays. That’s 7 of 19 for the weekend with no 3-pointers, but those will come. It’s definitely more exciting than moving the extra point back and blaming the kicker.MORE XFL: Rules | Schedule | Uniforms | RostersLive micsThe presentation of the league is user-friendly, with live mics and sideline interviews throughout the game.Putting live mics on the coaches and replay officials offers transparency. For example, you could follow along with Seattle coach Jim Zorn. For the casual fan, that allows for learning formations and play calls. It took you inside the huddle.The sideline interviews were nothing new, but they took you to the player right after the touchdown:”It’s a bunch of dogs out here.”@twll3 after taking one to the 🏠📺 @ABCNetwork🖥️ https://t.co/Y3eyIb9PfX pic.twitter.com/9QjVkseW3E— XFL (@xfl2020) February 8, 2020″It’s XFL football,” Seattle’s Trey Williams said. “It ain’t no slouch league. There are a bunch of dogs out here.”The XFL also has a good Twitter account that followed along with the action.Was the football good enough?Houston’s P.J. Walker became the league’s first breakout star with a four-touchdown performance against Los Angeles. Former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones — who led the Buckeyes to a College Football Playoff national championship in 2014 — played well for the D.C. Defenders. St. Louis’ Jordan Ta’amu and New York’s Matt McGloin led victories in Day 2. These quarterbacks were recognizable names on the college level who had little playing time in the NFL. They need to emerge as star players in this league in order for it to have long-term success. That said, the XFL showed a little more polish then the AAF in terms of game play, and the preparation has paid off since the XFL Draft. It was better than average. MORE XFL:XFL salary breakdownXFL names you’ll recognizeWhat does the XFL stand for?What’s the spread?The XFL is embracing gambling (FoxBusiness.com details the bettor-friendly environment the league seeks to create). The spread is right there on the ticker, another reason why this league has a chance to stick around. Both home-team favorites covered Saturday, and the league will continue to promote that aspect.At least, they should. It will pull more bettors in. The XFL’s opening weekend could not be described as cheap, salacious or tawdry.It was just football — and the early returns for Vince McMahon’s latest venture were favorable. It might not pull down the same massive ratings as the original XFL in 2001, but this league showed earmarks that there could be more staying power if this momentum continues. Granted, we said the same thing about the Alliance of American Football last year, but that league crumbled for financial reasons. Keep it going?Like the AAF, the XFL had a better-than-expected debut. McMahon relied more on the football than the gimmicks this time, and it’s clear the presentation angle was well thought out.Ratings are going to be good this week, but some of that was borne out of the fascination factor. The league needs to promote its stars — Walker and Jones are a good start — and continue to build on that first week.We’re ready for Week 2. Will you be coming back?