I love when I make observations and it turns out I'm not completely out on a limb.
As I watched MSU-OSU this past Saturday (a HUGE road win for State by the way and one I was extremely proud of), I mentioned to the man sitting next to me at the bar that it seemed like Jared Sullinger was really affected by the physicality of the game.
I've watched several Ohio State games this year and while I really respect Sullinger as a player, I notice that he gets a LOT of calls. But conversely, when the refs aren't calling it his way, he seems to get a little pouty--sarcastically laughing and shaking his head, complaining to the refs, etc. And subsequently, his game suffers. I knew the game was physical and the refs were "letting them play," so I thought MAYBE there was some validity to his complaints. But then, they should the free throw discrepancy and I changed my mind.
This afternoon I came across THIS from SI.com's Seth Davis in his mailbag...
Beyond the questions about depth, I thought Chris from South Dakota made a salient point about Sullinger. He was way too engaged with the refs during the Michigan State game. The Spartans' game plan was clearly to get physical with him, but it's hard to argue that was unfair when Michigan State was whistled for four more fouls than Ohio State, allowing the Buckeyes to attempt six more free throws. Perhaps Sullinger's treatment by opposing defenses has been a little too prominent in his mind. The morning of the Michigan State game, Sullinger's father, Satch, who coached Jared in high school, was quoted in The Columbus Dispatch complaining about "bush-league coaches [who] are beating on him just to make him lose his cool." (I say unnamed, but the Dispatch reporter interpreted Satch's comment as a reference to Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan.)
Apparently, Matta showed his players video of the loss to Michigan State and pointed out their facial expressions and body language. Said Sullinger, "Honestly, we looked like spoiled brats out there if you look at the tape -- arguing with one another, complaining about calls." Maybe they learned a valuable lesson.
Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/seth_davis/02/15/Hoops.mailbag/index.html#ixzz1mUb0BmwY
I think you'll find it supports my claims. :)