Each week, we ask five of our sportswriters five questions about Ohio athletics. Their answers may surprise you. This week, we talked to sports editor Alex Hider, assistant editor Katie Hendershot, basketball writer Corbin Bagford and women’s basketball writers DuShaun Headd and Zak Kolesar.
Ohio men’s basketball erased a 12-point 2nd half deficit to win in the final seconds on Saturday at Eastern Michigan. What’s the bigger story: the poor start or the hot finish?
Alex Hider: Obviously, the comeback is the biggest story. But Ohio’s slow starts have been a huge issue in conference play this season. It’s something the Bobcats will need to fix before the start MAC Tournament if they plan on making the NCAA Tournament.
Katie Hendershot: A big comeback is always thrilling. The persistence the team had is encouraging. That they won’t give up will continue to be important to their season.
Corbin Bagford: I’d love to focus on the great comeback and the fact that the Bobcats got their first win in Ypsilanti since ’06, but there’s been a chronic problem with this team starting poorly. When you’re shooting in the 20 percent range in the first half against a mediocre EMU team, there’s something wrong.
DuShaun Headd: As concerning as Ohio’s men basketball slow start was, the hot finish was the bigger story. When down big like the Bobcats were, it’s easy to give up and throw in the towel, but this team showed resilience and perseverance, something that can play big dividends come March in the MAC Tournament and possibly NCAA Tournament.
Zak Kolesar: I would say the hot finish, just because it was done on the road where the Bobcats aren’t as prolific. Over the final five minutes of the game, I thought there was no way this offense was going to wake up and steal a win against EMU. Well, once the team started attacking the 2-3 zone at the throat, things swung in the ‘Cats’ favor.
How did you spend your snow day?
Hider: As an unemployed, recently graduated prospective journalist, my snow days aren’t much different than any other day: Lots of job applications and television.
Hendershot: I had grand plans of getting all of my studying done, but in reality I did nothing but take quizzes on BuzzFeed and hang out with my roomies.
Bagford: I spent it catching up on the sleep I missed over the weekend. I’ve never been so happy to wake up at 1 p.m.
Headd: I spent my snow day by watching Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and doing school-related stuff. After letting Monday night go to waste by playing Call of Duty and watching Netflix into the wee hours of the night, it was a must I be productive with no classes.
Kolesar: By watching seasons one, two and three of The Simpsons in the morning/afternoon and covering the Cavaliers-Pelicans game in the evening. It goes without saying that it was a sad finish to a nice, and needed, day off.
At the midpoint in the season, who’s your MVP for the men’s team?
Hider: It has to be Maurice Ndour. With the loss of key seniors at the end of last season, “Nature Boy” has given the ‘Cats leadership and an inside presence not seen since Ivo Baltic’s junior season.
Hendershot: I’d say the MVP for the men’s basketball team has been Maurice Ndour. He’s been consistent for the Bobcats, playing in every game with an average of 30.6 minutes per game. He leads the team in points, just ahead of Nick Kellogg, with 273. His numbers don’t lie. He’s been big this season.
Bagford: The MVP has to be Maurice Ndour. In his first Division I season, the man is coming close to equaling his stats at Monroe College last season. The “Nature Boy” nickname just adds to the fun.
Headd: Tough call between Maurice Ndour and Nick Kellogg for MVP so far this season but if I had to chose I would go with Ndour. Ndour and Kellogg are virtually averaging the same amount of points per game while both shooting the basketball at an extremely high proficiency from the field, but what gives Ndour the edge is his plus four advantage in rebounding over Kellogg and his near two blocked shots per game.
Kolesar: Maurice Ndour is the MVP in my mind, without a doubt. He’s the best two-way player on the team, and the offense clearly struggles without him on the floor. Not to mention that he is the most vocal Bobcat on the floor, even though this is his first season in Green & White.
MVP for the women’s team?
Hider: He’s not necessarily a player, but I’m going to give it to Coach Bob Bolden. He’s coached the Bobcats to a near .500 record, with almost the same team from last year’s nightmare season. We’re not even halfway through the conference schedule, and the Bobcats have already TRIPLED their conference wins from a year ago (from one to three). It’s amazing what a good coach can do for a team.
Hendershot: Kiyanna Black has stepped into a big role this year. In her 18 games this season, she’s had 240 points, with 44 3-pointers. The sophomore has made her claim at the team MVP at this point this season.
Bagford: My choice is Quiera Lampkins. To step in to the starting lineup as a freshman and become the team’s second leading scorer and rebounder is nothing short of remarkable. My runner-up goes to first-year head coach Bob Bolden. He inherited a team that won one game in the entire 2013 calendar year last season and has turned them into a respectable team and a threat in the MAC East.
Headd: In my opinion the MVP for the women’s team so far has to be Quiera Lampkins. The freshman guard is second on the team in scoring, second in rebounds per game and essentially tied for third in assists per game and field goal percentage. In a mixed season so far, she has definitely been a bright spot so far and will be for this program in years to come.
Kolesar: In my eyes, freshman Quiera Lampkins has been the most well-rounded player on the court, especially since Mariah Byard has been withheld from playing because of an undisclosed injury. She’s averaging nearly 11 points and collects 5.4 rebounds per contest. Since conference play began, she has improved her field goal percentage to nearly 45 percent, which is pretty impressive for a first-year player.
What’s your Super Bowl prediction?
Hider: After my roommates and I ordered an “Aircraft Carrier” from Wings Over Athens, I predict I will be in a food coma by the start of the second half. Oh, and the Seahawks will win 24-21.
Hendershot: I don’t closely follow the NFL, so I thought about flipping a coin, but I wasn’t satisfied with the answer. I pick Denver. I think in this situation, a strong offense will beat a strong defense.
Bagford: If the temperature isn’t in eskimo temperatures, the Broncos win a close one. If it snows or is below 10 degrees, the Seahawks “Legion of Boom” defense and Beast Mode on the ground will prevail by a touchdown or more.
Headd: In what should be a competitive Super Bowl featuring contrasting styles, I have the Seahawks winning close, 23-21.
Kolesar: I’m a Peyton Manning homer, perhaps the biggest in Athens (at least I like to think so), but my gut is telling me to put my money on the Seahawks. I love their attitude, Russell Wilson handles pressure like a pro and, to repeat an old cliché, defense does win championships. Give me Seattle 26, Denver 20.