Well, a lot of you have been paying attention and I finally have the courage to put words through the keyboard and into the blog after last Wednesday's heart ripping, gut wrenching episode at Crisler. If I hadn't waited, I'm truly afraid that I would have never been able to let my daughters eventually read my blog as the profanity that would have ensued may have actually gotten me barred from internet blogging....Turns out loyal MMQ reader Chris K was there and had to witness the "bank shot" first hand. The silence in Crisler was apparently overwhelming as Wisconsin celebrated the victory. I'm still not completely over it...
But that's the beauty of College Hoops. You get an immediate chance to right the wrong that someone else lays on you. And unfortunately Minnesota was Michigan's victim on Saturday. Which brings us to this Saturday, March 5th.
I have been thinking and saying for some time (since late January - right after we beat Sparty the first time) when I looked at the schedule and started figuring out wins and losses) and saw that the final game in Ann Arbor was going to be pivotal for these young Wolverines. I knew we would probably be on the cusp of 0.500 in the Big 10 and I believed at that point we would need to beat Sparty again to clinch a tournament spot.
Jeez...I hate it when I'm right. What makes me even more nervous is that even though most prognosticators have Sparty "Safely In" the field of 64-68, whatever, is that if you've watched Sparty in any of their last 10 games, they've kind of looked like warmed over puke on moldy bread. They are that hard to watch. I can't recall a season where it seemed like Sparty has just given up with respect to trying to keep games close. Other teams get out in front of them and Sparty goes defensive but can't stop anyone. And you aren't going to catch up from behind trying to trade 2 pointers when the other team is lobbing and making 3's. It just ain't goona happen. So, if I'm on the committee (I'm not) and I'm looking for an exciting team in one of the low match-ups, who would you rather have? A young upstart team that can drain 3 pointers, has kept games close with 4 of the top 10 teams in the nation (OSU - 2x, Kansas, Wisconsin) or an older team that seems to have lost all desire to play and loses by 20 to a rival, even though their coach has a reputation as a bracket buster?
In my opinionated mind, it's a no brainer.
But, I'd rather have the win over Sparty under my belt heading into the Big 10 tournament. I believe that gets us in.
And if Sparty wins, well, I doubt the committee can deny the Strength of Schedule (SOS) and the huge risk that Izzo takes early every year to get his guys ready and battle tested.
It's a Big Game!!!