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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Buckeyes flex their muscles

By Marla Published: January 26, 2011

No. 1 Ohio State's 87-64 dismantling of No. 12 Purdue Tuesday night in Value City Arena conjured up images of the 2007 Final Four team led by Greg Oden and Mike Conley.

In fact, Buckeye fans may have wished they could save a little bit of that intensity and 3-point shotmaking for the NCAA tournament. OSU hit 58 percent from beyond the arc (11 of 19), their highest this season in a Big Ten game, 67 percent in the first half.

 "How can you play with no energy against the No. 1 team in the country?'' Purdue coach Matt Painter wondered. ''They stole our spirit.''

It seems that OSU star Jared Sullinger has found his Mike Conley in freshman point guard Aaron Craft. In my opinion, Craft was the most impressive player on the floor against Purdue. His spin move and left-handed layup, going right at  preseason All-American JaJuan Johnson for a basket that put OSU up 26-9 was a thing of beauty. He embarrassed Johnson again with a layup for a 33-13 lead.

After Craft finished with 11 points, six rebounds and six assists (along with five turnovers), OSU coach Thad Matta called Craft ''probably the best defender in college right now.'' 

The 24 NBA scouts in attendance probably loved to see Sullinger hit one from 3-point range, especially since some suspect he's shorter than the 6-foot-9 listed on the Buckeyes' roster. 

I thought William Buford's first 3-pointer set the tone. The 21-0 Buckeyes proved they deserved to be ranked No. 1. Asked the team's mentality, Sullinger said, "One word -- attack, offensively and defensively.''

I'll be curious to see if they can repeat that attacking style Saturday at Northwestern (6 p.m., ESPN2).

Car salesmen: Watch what you wear

The story of a Chicago-area car salesman being fired for wearing a Green Bay Packers tie to work on Monday in tribute to his late grandmother brought back memories of my uncle, Ralph Grant.

A long-time car salesman who once owned his own Ford dealership outside Louisville, Ky., Grant was fired from his job in Sarasota, Fla. for wearing outrageous, bright-colored suits. That may not seem like a big deal now, but Uncle Ralph stood about 6-foot-6, so that was a lot of pink.

But that firing masked what my uncle believed was a case of age discrimination and he filed a lawsuit that was eventually settled out of court. The incident even made a few tabloid newspapers and was referred to as the ''Dress of a Salesman'' case.

Now that John Stone's firing has gone national, Webb Chevrolet in Oak Lawn, Ill., has offered him his job back, according to the Chicago Tribune, but Stone refused to return. Webb Chevrolet has been a promotional partner of the Bears radio network and his general manager Jerry Roberts told the Tribune he thought Stone was trying to antagonize customers. Roberts said he told Stone to remove the tie five times before firing him.

According to the Tribune, Stone was offered a job at a rival Chevrolet dealership in Homewood, Ill. Riding the publicity from the controversy, it would seem that Stone's going to have a very good sales year.

It does boggle my mind that sometime during the exchange when Stone was asked to remove his tie five times, he didn't tell his boss the reason he was wearing it. But it also seems ridiculous to think that Webb Chevrolet only wants to sell cars to Bears fans.

Firing Stone seems like discrimination of a different sort. There's no doubt whose side Uncle Ralph would be on.

Notes

Ohio State receiver Dane Sanzenbacher has been added to the North squad at the Senior Bowl, joining linebacker Ross Homan. ... OSU hired former linebacker Anthony Schlegel as assistant strength and conditioning coach.

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