Monday, March 05, 2007

March Blahness, Pt. 1 - The Big Ten (plus one)

I hate being an Iowa basketball fan.

Implode at MSU. Stomp Purdue. Collapse against Penn State. Beat ILLINI. I can't take it anymore. This season has to end before it leaves me in a coma.

Speaking of which, Big Ten tournament pairings are out. My preview:

THURSDAY
(8) Michigan vs. (9) Minnesota - Everyone is claiming this is a must-win for Michigan. I can't imagine any possible scenario where Michigan gets in without winning the whole damn thing, and I don't think anyone who has watched them more than once can claim differently. The collapse against tOSU would be absolutely epic, had it not been for the fact that Big Blue has collapsed in an identical manner at least 5 other times during Amaker's reign of terror. And, even though I know Blue is the better team, I'm taking the awful, AWFUL Gophers here.

(By the way, the answer is yes: it might actually be worse to be a Michigan basketball fan than an Iowa fan. That being said, name one thing about Michigan's resume that Iowa doesn't have, and I think we all know the Hawks are heading to the NIT. The fact that Michigan's in the discussion is absurd).

(7) Michigan State vs. (10) Northwestern - What, are you kidding me? MSU needs two to punch their ticket, and this is the first. Izzo HUGE.

(6) ILLINI vs. (11) Pennsylvania State University - Goodbye, Geary. Goodbye, Ed DiChellis. Hello, JoePa Basketball!

FRIDAY
(1) tOSU vs. (9) Minnesota - Heh.

(4) Iowa vs. (5) Purdue - I want to take Purdue here. I really do. I just want this roller-coaster to end. And I know that, if Iowa wins here, I'll talk myself into thinking they'll get tOSU feeling a little lackadaisical, and Haluska will put the team on his back and go for 40, and I will be forced to go to Chicago for the weekend. And then they'll certainly lose and I'll be stuck in Chicago watching tOSU against whoever beats Wisconsin (more on this later).

But you know what? Iowa won't lose this game, because they won't lose to a team coached by Shane McMahon. Hawks in a close one.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet
your 2007 Purdue Boilermakers!


(2) Wisconsin vs. (7) MSU - Take it away, Mr. Sinatra:
And so, the end is near, and now I face the final curtain
My friend, I'll say it clear, I'll state my case of which I'm certain:
I've lost my big man, I'm guaranteed a Number Two,
And much, much more than this, I'm playing again against MSU"
Didn't win the first time. Shouldn't have won the second time. Won't win the third time. MSU rolls the Badgers. And, believe me, we'll be pulling the final curtain on Wisky soon enough.

(3) Indiana vs. (6) ILLINI - After losing at Carver, The Team Without A Name needs a win to punch their ticket. But last I checked, Illinois still doesn't have a point guard. Maybe Kelvin will loan them The Troll. Hoosier Daddy BIG.

SATURDAY
(1) tOSU vs. (4) Iowa - The incredibly freaking awesome Big Ten Wonk published his big statistical analysis of the conference (and a smaller look at all other power conferences) this weekend. Iowa averaged 1.05 points per possession in the conference this year. Points allowed per possession? 1.05. That's fourth in the conference on offense and eighth on defense. However, there aren't that many teams who are better in both:
  • Wisconsin
  • OSU
  • Indiana
  • North Carolina
  • Maryland
  • Pittsburg
  • Louisville
  • Georgetown
  • Notre Dame
  • Rock Chalk Jayhawk (whose number is astounding)
  • A&M
  • UCLA
  • USC
  • Florida
  • Kentucky
Not on that list? Just about every lock from the ACC (such as DUKE, BC, GT, etc.), Pac-10, and Big XII. There are obvious differences in the conferences which may determine some of this, and he is adding a "tempo rating" to account for some of that differences. Also, there are some teams better in one and even in another (including good teams like Washington State and Rocky Top, and not so good ones like Mississippi State and Mizzou). Nevertheless, Iowa's numbers are awfully good when you look at it. Every team on that list is a lock. Pretty much every one of them will be a top-5 seed. I know the non-conference losses screwed Iowa's chances (Drake, Arizona State, and UNI in particular are looking awful), but I still don't get why this team has no chance when Big Blue and ILLINI are in the hunt.

In any case, Iowa has to win here to get into the conversation. But tOSU knows a #1 seed is locked with a win here (the selection committee will already have them in place before the conference final is played, especially if Wisconsin goes early). Too much Oden. Too much talent. Too much tOSU.

(3) Indiana vs. (6) MSU - Is there anyone else who thinks Izzo watches the Iowa-IU game tape and realizes he has the personnel to shut down D.J. White? And is Indiana good enough from the perimeter to make up for it if he does? I think the answers are "yes" and "not quite," but Sparty has been so turnover-prone that the Sampson pressure wins out. Indiana in a close one.

SUNDAY
(1) tOSU vs. (3) Indiana - Hoosier daddy now? Exclamation point game for a team that knows it's got a chance. Your conference champions are The Ohio State University Buckeyes.

Shocking result, I know, but is there anyone in the conference who can beat this team when they're ready to play? I haven't seen them yet. So it's hoping for a lousy performance with the season wrapped up, but I just don't see it happening with this team. Believe me, I hope I'm wrong.

So, after wrapping up that little exercise, I think I'm going to do the Mo Valley later in the week. Oh, wait, nevermind. Creighton already won, I guess.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Calling Iowa getting to finals and collapsing in the last few minutes of the game (followed by a first round exit in the NIT). Because Steve Alford is actively trying to kill me with his schitzophrenic basketball teams.

twins15 said...

The Big 10 is interesting... I feel like Wisconsin and OSU will kind of flop in the Tourney, but the middle teams are solid, especially defensively. It's going to be interesting.

Irish Hawk said...

The reason Illini is in a much better position than IA is because of the nonconference record.

Neither team has a great nonconference win. But Illinois does not have a bad nonconference loss. They are undefeated against teams not in the top 100. Iowa, on the other hand lost to ASU, N.IA, and Drake.

That said, maybe IA can play as good as usual in the Big 10 tourney and get an auto bid - that is the only way they are in.

I think Mich needs to win the whole thing too which won't happen with Amaker as coach.

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