A Quick Rant On The Big Ten
So yesterday I'm watching a couple mediocre Big 12 matchups on ESPN's coverage of "Big Monday." To get me hyped up for the coming attractions, they keep showing previews of the "Super Tuesday" monster showdown between Michigan State and Indiana. As I'm trying to decide whether I'd rather sit through another premier Big Ten matchup, or watch paint dry on the side of a building, something catches my attention. "Watch the Spartans as they march towards a number 1 seed in the NCAA tourney." I immediately did a double-take. You're joking, right? Michigan State? A number one seed?
This is the same Michigan State team that was unranked as they got beaten handily by North Carolina in the Carrier Classic season opener. Throughout the game, the broadcasters were referring to the Spartans as being in "rebuilding mode", and even Tom Izzo admitted in an in-game interview that the team didn't have the same talent as in years past. Word to the wise: when a Hall of Fame coach is writing his team off one game into the season, they're probably not that good. Which leads us to Tuesday night, when yet another "elite" Big Ten team failed to live up to its billing. In all honesty, part of me wishes Michigan St. had somehow run the table, just so we could have had this debate: has there ever been a worse number 1 seed in the history of the NCAA tournament than the 2011-2012 Spartans? For me, the answer would have been an unequivocal "no".
I've realized that I am partially to blame for the unnecessary hype surrounding Big Ten basketball. In my article last week previewing this year's March Madness, I made the claim that Ohio St. is complete garbage. Of course, my assertion was completely validated when the Buckeyes somehow managed to lose to Wisconsin at home on Sunday. Yes, you heard that right. WISCONSIN. Have you ever looked at Wisconsin's basketball team, let alone watched them play a game? I honestly don't know if I could tell the difference between the Wisconsin Badgers and my high school JV team if they were standing in a room together.
Now I know what you must be thinking. "This guy is a total genius. How could he predict something like that?" But please, don't give me too much credit. Any degenerate on the street with two functioning eyeballs could tell you that Ohio State is a terrible basketball team. Where I've gone wrong is placing all my disdain for the Big Ten squarely on the Buckeyes' shoulders. Just as with any team sport, basketball is a group effort, and therefore the blame for the mediocrity that pervades the conference must be spread across all programs. You see, it is not just Ohio State that is garbage. It is all their competition as well. So for this I apologize. From now on, no single team will bear the entirety of my disgust for offensive ineptitude and a lack of athleticism that encompasses an entire region. That is just not fair.
A man is nothing without his principles. And if there is one thing I possess, it is a steadfast adherence to principles. So I can assure you without any semblance of doubt, that no matter the draw when the brackets are released in less than two weeks, I will not be advancing any Big Ten team past the Sweet Sixteen. That you can count on, and I suggest you keep in mind as well when filling out your own bracket. We can only hope that a team like Long Beach State gets the luxury of a matchup with someone like...Wisconsin. Now that would be fun to watch.
...Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the nationally ranked Wisconsin Badgers Men's Basketball Team! (right)