Monday, February 10, 2014

So, After ALL That, Nothing Has Changed!

When I started to pen this entry, it occurred to me that this week was almost (ALMOST) a carbon copy of last week….Completely DESTROYING A B1G opponent on Home Court and getting completely DISMANTLED on the road at one of the I-Schools….So, what gives?
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….
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:
  1.  Florida (My new “first 1 seed to lose in the tournament” team)
  2. Syracuse  (This team could win the whole enchilada…they are better than last year.)
  3. Wichita State (Haven’t lost since last year’s Final Four)
  4. 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!!
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


MsuperfanOrig said...

As a fan most likely to illicite a violent response from an opposing player or coach (I tried my best back in the day) I will weight in on behalf of Smart (although the playing of the race card is disgusting). I heard of the incident prior to seeing it and I was underwhellmed after seeing it. It was a shove! Not even a double fist to the chest shove but a mild open hand shove with no leverage put into it. If the guy wasn't fat and old he probably wouldn't have even fallen, and he fell in a rather controlled way; further proof that Smart didn't really go after him. This is a perfect example of what is wrong with our culture. It sounds like the fan regrets whatever comment he made. So he should offer an apology to Smart and TT, and Smart should say, "Right back at ya"; and it should be done. Had Smart tried to hurt the guy or thrown a punch then all bets are off and the kid needs to be harshly repramanded; but that is not what happened.

MsuperfanOrig said...

Amazing what can happen when you care and have pride Of course, we really played like crap in the first half, but at least it looked like we were trying. I fear that GRIII is going to make payne(in the ass) look like a first round NBA pick on the 23rd. How many 8 inch shots from above the rim can one guy miss???
So we only played 28 good minutes and still beat the suckeyes on their court. Of course, it was nice that they decided to start launching threes rather than jogging up to the hoop like they were doing in the first 10 minutes. Did we really close off the lane or did they just stop trying? I did not see much difference in how we were defending. There may be an affect similar to golfing with someone that is out driving you by 20 yards. Even if you are winning, it might get to you and cause you to try to over-hit. That may be what inspired the suckeyes to go long. After completely dominating us and scoring at will in the paint for the first 10 minutes, they look up and are only up by single digits because every third trip down we nail a three. That probably grates on a team.
Switching to the cheeseheads victory over the slime; had the slime pulled it out it would have been yet another last second gift from officiating types to the slime. (State players of all sports should just assume that rules do not apply to them if the game is almost over. The Desmond tackle, the blatant holding on the famous one second left game, the tainted BIG hoops championship over Purdue as Steve Sheffler was just tackled in the waning seconds of the game and now the projectile shove of the would be cheesehead rebounder into the stands. That was the game right there, ending any chance of a miracle slime comeback, but NO CALL!!! If you have it on the DVR (ahem) re-watch it and see how obvious this shove was. Thankfully, the slime were unable to parlay this gift from the officials into a W, no pun intended
I must also congratulate the cheesheads on a terrific sports weekend. The sweep of the #1 ranked skating Gophers was spectacular (and in stark contrast to our embarrassing 4-0 loss to the winless mountain lions.
All Wolverines should send a little HATE to ESPN for the nice segment on “suckeye dominance of M” where they displayed the records of Football, Men’s hoops and WOMEN’s hoops for the last several years. Really, women’s hoops, not men’s Hockey, not baseball or softball, not wrestling or swimming or volleyball or gymnastics. Don’t try and tell me that women’s hoops is a bigger draw than hockey! But hey ESPN, don’t let facts destroy a storyline that you want to push. Also, I’ve about had it with the football dominance crap. I do not recall counting clocks and repeated hype by the general media when we were in the midst of the decade of dominance that immediately proceeded the decade of despair. It’s as if the 90’s never happened. Switching to hoops, while the suckeyes have a surprisingly rich basketball tradition, they were doormats for the bulk of a thirty year span that didn’t end until Thad showed-up. OK, they had a few good years in there but come on with the suckeye cheerleading. They have been VERY successful in football and basketball for the last decade, why can’t THAT be the story.