Believe it or not, going into the two games this week, I was more concerned about Nebraska than I was about the Black Birds. In the games I had watched, I saw what appeared to be an Iowa team that more or less gave up on home court against Sparty and also a loss to OSU….They looked pathetic and couldn’t connect on anything…the opposite can be said for Nebraska. They had just defeated Indiana and they appeared to be hitting on all cylinders and they needed a good road win to get the NCAA tournament committee to take notice.
Yep…I was worried last Wednesday and I figured Saturday might be close, but the Wolverines would pull it out…
Hence is the reason why I WILL NEVER BET REGULAR SEASON COLLEGE HOOPS! And anyone that tells you they make money betting college basketball is full of you know what!
So, what’s changed? With respect to Michigan winning the B1G, not much, really. Defend home court (4 games) and get 2 road wins somewhere (Purdue and Illinois) and I won’t say it’s a lock, but it’s close. I will say that a win in the only match-up Michigan has against ohio on Tuesday would be sweet, but somehow, ohio has figured out how to win basketball games again. I’m also hoping for this weird “Up-Down” Theory that seems to have permeated the B1G to also be in effect for Michigan and coming off their worst defensive performance since Belien’s 4th game in 2007, well, it means Michigan is due for a MONSTER of a game down in Columbus! Of course, that would mean that they might suck back in Crisler on Sunday, also, when Wiscy shows up looking for some payback! Jeez….
REST OF THE B1G
Sparty found out the hard way (again) that winning at the Troll center is incredibly difficult when you’re at full strength much less down an Apple(ing). I won’t be the first to say that I question Apple’s toughness as the Sparty message boards have pretty much been lit up with that question by the Sparty faithful. But I do think Izzo figured stealing one in Madison would be tough anyway, so sit the kid. "All that matters to Izzo is March" is not only a mantra among Spartans, but I think Izzo would rather trade a B1G championship for a deep tournament run. Hence, it made sense. Bench Apple till his boo-boo doesn’t hurt anymore…
Wiscy has at least found bottom. I’m not sure how deep Wiscy will go in this year’s NCAA, and I’m leaning towards an early out which probably means they will be an elite 8 or better!
OSU, for all intents and purposes, is hanging on by a thread in the B1G race. If Michigan can steal one in Columbus, they’re at best playing for 2nd place.
Iowa – Reasserted themselves as being “In” the B1G race, but losing at home to Sparty was a disaster for their realistic chances of pulling of a piece of the B1G championship.
Everyone else is kind of knocking each other around right now and there’s no real rhyme or reason to any of it.
Tournament Locks: Michigan, Sparty, Wiscy, ohio
Locked up, but Trying desperately to Break into the NIT or at least get on the bubble: Iowa
Last B1G Teams In – Minnesota and IU.
Wishing they had one or two more victories right now or hoping for a final 9 game run: Nebraska, PSU, NWU
Roaming around waiting for any other sport to start: Illinois and Purdue
Yes, I know that I have 7 teams in when most of the other pundits are only calling for 6. But I believe that Indiana has pictures of someone on the committee that they pull out every season and somehow find a way into the tournament. Hence, 7 teams.
I know what I said last week, but it’s basketball, so you can simply wrap up anything you said last week in a used jock strap and be fine changing your mind this week!
Right now, the 4 number 1 seeds will be:
- Florida (My new “first 1 seed to lose in the tournament” team)
- Syracuse (This team could win the whole enchilada…they are better than last year.)
- Wichita State (Haven’t lost since last year’s Final Four)
- Kansas (Just cause…..)
The 2-4 seeds, in no particular order because it doesn’t matter that much:
Michigan, sparty, Arizona, Kentucky, Duke, Cincinnati, Villanova, Louisville, Creighton, San Diego State, Virginia and TEXAS!!!
So, Sparty has more or less really left themselves in a big hole by losing to both Georgetown and Wisky within 8 days of each other, with only a home stomping in between those two losses to show for it. Unfortunately, if everything you hear about the committee is true, there’s more “weight” put on the last 10 games of the season. Sparty didn’t do themselves any favors losing to Georgetown. The Wiscy loss could have been managed, but now, with 2 losses in the last 3 games…well, they’re gonna drop out of the top 10 and it’ll be tough for them to rally to a number 1 seed.
Florida is riding the complete lack of ability and talent that represents the rest of the SEC and they look like giant killers right now. Hence is the reason I moved them up. But kind of like Arizona, who I moved down due to the game loss and loss of Ashley, Florida is also going to be a team that will be an in vogue pick to lose early. The SEC is really bad after Kentucky and Florida and the old adage about "moving the top team from the B1G in Football to the SEC and they would be at best the 4th best team" holds true in the opposite direction for hoops: Move Kentucky and Florida into the B1G and they’d probably be sitting right around the same spot as Ohio and Wiscy, but below Iowa, Michigan and Sparty. Just sayin’.
I had said earlier that, from the B1G, Nebraska, PSU and NWU had a shot…Now, not so much. Indiana still gets in and makes it 7 teams from the B1G. All bets are off if someone surprises the field in the B1G tournament and upsets everyone to get an auto-bid.The State of the Game
If you are alive and you watch ESPN, you’ve by now heard of the Smart Incident down at TCU. If you don’t, Smart is the returning lottery pick sophomore that came back to Okie State to try to pull a “Trey Burke” – lead his team as a point guard to the National Title Game. However, his sophomore year isn’t working out as well as Trey’s and in the closing minutes of the TCU upset (in TCU), Smart ended up in the stands and shoved a fan after a brief verbal exchange. There are various un-reliable sources stating that the exchange included the “N” word, but I’m not buying it. There’s too much involved and even in Texas, I just don’t think the average fan would throw that word into the conversation. Now, he might have said, “Hey, Smart, you suck!” and that would have elicited the same reaction from Smart. I have not heard that the fan has been punished, but we have learned that he is a season ticket holder at TCU and his name is Jeff Orr. He also claims he said something he shouldn’t have, but it WASN’T the “N” word.
So, the evidence is out there. The big 12 and Iowa State handed down a three game suspension for the shove. Was it enough? Too much?? I dunno... I feel like basketball is SUCH A GAME OF HIGH EMOTION that even as a fan when you’re sitting that close, you’re involved, whether you want to be or not. Yes, the Ron Artest Incident at the Palace involved season long suspensions, but that wasn’t just a shove. That was a malicious hunting down of the fan in the stands – the wrong guy! – and it was just plain wrong to expect that kind of reaction from professionals. The suspensions and fines were warranted. This is college where emotions run much higher and it was a big upset to boot. Iowa State is probably going to lose a game or two as a result of this suspension, but Smart will be back for the Big 12 tournament and the NCAA’s.
Whatever you want to believe is fine, but I kind of agreed with the AD on this one – don’t destroy a kid (or the rest of the team’s season) for a heat of the moment act that everyone is sorry for and wished never happened. I’m not saying Smart was justified at all in the shove…And part of me thinks he should have been immediately ejected from the game. But I don’t think he should be dismissed from college basketball….especially if you’re going to let certain football players fly the double bird in the Big House in the middle of The Game!!
GAMES TO WATCH
Iowa State vs. WVU 7:00PM
Kansas vs. K-State, 9:00PM
Florida @ Tennessee, 7:00 PM
SIU @ Wichita State, 8:00 PM
Michigan at suckeyeland – 9:00 PM
Syracuse at Pitt – 7:00 PM
Dook @ North Carolina (Must win for Heels) 9:00 PM
Kentucky @ Auburn - 8:00 PM
Kitty Kats @ SPARTY – 7:00PM
Gophers @ Wiscy – 9:00PM
Arizona @ ASU, 9:00 PM
Iowa @ PSU – 1:00PM
NC State @ Orange – 3:00PM
Florida @ Kentucky – 9:00PM
Maryland @ Duke – 6:00PM
Wiscy @ Michigan – 1:00PM
Nebraska @ Sparty – 3:00PM
Villanova @ Creighton – 5:00PM