Second Thoughts: Time to pack Nutter Center for these Raiders


Have I mentioned how great it is to have teenagers who know how to shovel snow? And they just love working outside in the cold, dreaming of hot chocolate and marshmallows. Really, our home is just one giant Norman Rockwell painting this weekend.

It’s time to get on the Wright State bandwagon. The Raiders have won six straight to raise their record to 13-5 overall, 5-0 in the Horizon League. A win at Northern Kentucky on Thursday gave WSU sole possession of first place. If you haven’t seen the Raiders this season, there’s a great opportunity to catch them at 4 p.m. Monday (it’s a holiday, remember) at the Nutter Center against Jim Tressel’s Youngstown State Penguins.

This will be the Raiders’ first home game in 2018. WSU hasn’t drawn well this season, averaging just 3,403 fans in nine home games. Kevin Hart wouldn’t walk into the Nutter Center for that kind of gathering. It’s worth the price of admission just to watch Loudon Love, the dancing bear, go to work in the paint.

There’s plenty of Flyin’ but not much dunkin’ at Flyin’ to the Hoop this weekend at Trent Arena. The OHSAA nixed dunking in warmups at the event. The no-fun state organization also took down all photos of puppies in its Columbus offices. I mean, no dunking at Flyin’ to the Hoop? That’s as unnatural as a basketball game without tattoos.

Flyin’ has raised its ticket prices steadily the last few years to $18 for general admission. Finding seats can be a challenge, and you risk sitting in a puddle of Mountain Dew. But the pregame dunks always were a nice insurance policy in case the games turned into snoozers.

My review of the Alabama-Georgia blockbuster: The Crimson Tide will be unstoppable now that they finally have a quarterback who can throw the football. That always was the one area in which they looked average, but Tua Tagovailoa looked like a left-handed John Elway in leading the Tide to another, yawn, national title. Also, was that Kendrick Lamar fellow grabbing his crotch during the halftime show or just trying to find his mittens in that huge parka?

I finished in third place in my bowl confidence pool at work. Out of 100 entries. Amazing. What’s more amazing is that I still didn’t win my family pool, which included only five participants. Jake came from way behind and took advantage of my awful Miami and Washington picks in New Year’s Six bowls.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett ranked fourth this season among NFL rookies graded by Pro Football Focus. Not bad. Meanwhile, only two first-round picks had worse “grades” than John Ross, a fast but fragile receiver who was taken by the Bengals with the No. 9 pick before disappearing. Browns safety Jabrill Peppers had a lower ranking than Ross, so the analytics used by PFF are highly questionable.

Trending up: Keita Bates-Diop, Daejon Davis, Lauri Markkanen. Ohio State has a legitimate basketball team this season, thanks in large part to Bates-Diop. The 6-foot-7 junior is averaging 20 points and 9 rebounds per game. He scored 32 points in the Buckeyes’ upset of No. 1 Michigan State last week. The Buckeyes (14-4) play at Rutgers tonight (7 p.m., BTN).

Trending down: Isaiah Thomas, Kareem Walker, Jalen Hurts. Thomas is out of control. The Cavaliers’ tiny guard can’t shoot straight (26 percent from 3-point land) and was fined $20,000 for a cheap shot against Andrew Wiggins last Monday. Thomas’ flagrant foul would’ve made John Cena proud. But Wiggins wasn’t bouncing off the ropes in a wrestling ring.



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