Thursday, February 27, 2014

Purdon't DIDN'T! GRIII DID!!!!

I don’t know how much I can re-iterate this statement, but Ima’ gonna’ say it again:

In what should have been an easy win in West Lafayette last night, Michigan instead found themselves in a dog fight with one of the leagues bottom feeders…A Team that Glenn Robinson III wanted to beat very badly. For those of you who are

A:  Not regular basketball fans
B:  Basketball fans but don’t know all the ins and outs of every player

C:  Unaware of the fact that Robinson’s Father played for and STARRED for the Purdue Boilermakers back in the early 90’s.

This is for you.  Glenn’s old man advised his son to go to Michigan…Which, wow, I didn’t get then and still have some difficulty believing.  I mean, it’s not like Woody Hayes’ grand kid going to Michigan or something like that…But its close and GRIII was a big recruiting coup when JB pulled it off. 
Robinson Jr. is revered on the Purdue campus and is somewhat of a legend.  I take that back…HE IS A LEGEND AT PURDUE!  He led the B1G conference his Junior season averaging 30.3 points a game!!  HE was the NBA's FIRST OVERALL DRAFT PICK!!! 

So, yeah, GRIII really wanted to win this game in front of his Dad…But so did the Spoilermakers.  I made a comment to the group of fans I was watching with that I wish the cellar dwellers at times would just roll over and do what they are supposed to do - lose with some dignity..but lose!  It was one of those heat of the moment comments that a Sparty or a Suckeye fan would make and I immediately regretted it as I know that these are still college kids and they are a resilient bunch – whatever the season record is.  I sat there shaking my head and staring in disbelief as everything the Spoilers threw at the basket went in.  I think the ball boy hit one from beyond the arc for 3 if I’m not mistaken…(Someone please check the box score for me on that).

Finally, slowly, Michigan ground the deficit down and finished at half time with a gap of 13.  Not that any Michigan Fan felt good about that.  I had already written the game off to a hang-over let down from sweeping Sparty.  But everyone kept working and GRIII had a good 2nd half.  When Michigan tied it up with less than 2 minutes to go, I was like, “Okay.  It’s 0-0.  It might as well be overtime because that’s how it’s going to play.” 
Stauskas had the first play drawn up for him to end the game in regulation and someone needs to tell the Canadian Kid that just because he can shoot long threes doesn’t mean HE HAS TO TAKE THE SHOT FROM WINDSOR!  One more dribble and he probably gets a better look…But then, as Michigan Fans, we wouldn’t have had what will probably be the most memorable shot of RGIII’s career at Michigan – barring a similar result in the NCAA’s of course!
Michigan gets a lead in OT, loses it, ties it up and then it looks dismal when the Spoiler’s go to the Charity Stripe where they frickin’ haven’t MISSED ALL NIGHT and I figured, “Well, good effort….but you still screwed this up, guys.”  Then, the Spoiler free throw misses and Michigan has the re-bound.
Michigan time out and draw one up, JB.  But, instead of going to the Michigan sure shot specialist Stauskas, Caris LeVert found the Indiana native in the far corner!  A quick dribble, a drive and a high shot off the glass that bounced agonizingly around the rim in front of a full house of Spolier Fans in West LaFayette, including his Dad and his brother (who – ironically will be playing for Purdue on the football team next season!)…  The result of that funny, bouncing orange leather ball?   As the air went out of Mackey Arena and you could hear a pin drop, save the 12 guys and their coaching staff wearing Maize and Blue… let’s just say that the result is just another little piece of Michigan Basketball history that this fan will enjoy watching over and over!  Until the next big shot, of course!  (HT:  mgoblog - I couldn't find anything on Youtube  - at least not yet)

I’m sure Coach Painter is trying to figure out why he didn’t recruit GRIII a little harder!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Michigan SWEEPS Sparty!!!


It’s Great to be a MICHIGAN WOLVERINE!!!
I wish I could summarize everything I was feeling yesterday as that game developed from the dreaded, “Oh no…not another slow start” to the complete and utter satisfaction of watching a tired, slow and thoroughly beaten Jolly Green Giant team go down for the 6th time in their last 8 attempts to the Wolverines!  When asked what the victory meant for Michigan, Beilein’s words were music to every Michigan fan’s ears, “Michigan Basketball is BACK!”
I think it was pretty clear to everyone in Crysler and those watching at home when Stauskas answered a Harris “Hope and Prayer” bank shot three pointer with a much more authoritative “Nothin’ But Net!” three at the other end.  In fact, when Stauskas got hot (21 of his 25 coming in the 2nd half)….Yeah, we knew.  And Sparty knew, too.  That Stauskas 3 over the head of Harris was the shot that really took it out of them.  The look on Harris’ face pretty much said it all.  And the look on Izzo’s face was not one of satisfaction or even, “Hey, we’re still in this game!”  It was one of, “Who are these guys in the Maize and Blue and this has to be the worst display of Green Slime basketball I’ve seen since the last time we played these guys!”   And everyone was healthy!!  What gives?
I could go on with all of the blown calls and Sparty luck that this game seemed to have, but in the end, none of the peripheral noise could stop the iron will of Stauskas, LeVert, Walton, RGIII, Irvin, Spike (he led the 10 point comeback in the 1st half with a big 3-pointer) and even Morgan and Horford more or less said, “Uh-Uh.  Not today.  Not in the House that Cazzie Built.”  In fact, my hat is off to Beilein as he proved to be the better coach, too!  Back door screens?  When was the last time you saw Michigan do THAT?  And those were planned, folks.  You don’t make that kind of play up on the fly….
Hee-hee!!!  HAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!
He who laughs last laughs best!  Granted, there’s at LEAST 1 more opportunity that more than likely exists that these two teams meet again (either the B1G Tournament or the NCAA’s) and it’s incredibly difficult to beat anyone 3 times in one season….But OH WOULD THAT BE SWEET!
A Season Sweep?  Fuhgeddabout it!
Winning the B1G Regular Season?  Yeah…about that.  Michigan now has a 1 game lead and is favored in each of its last 4 remaining games, but when you do the math and multiply the probabilities out, well, there’s a really big chance they lose 1 contest….somewhere.  I can’t stomach a loss in ANY of those games based on the fact of who’s left:  Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota, and IU.  Any loss to that bag of trash would hurt.  The good news:  Sparty is even LESS likely to win out from here.  So, there’s that. 

Viewing Notes:  CBS is fun to watch a game on!!!  Gotta love Raftery.  ”Payne in the Rear for Sparty when he misses those free throws??”  “Valentine is breaking my heart?”  For an old coot, he’s hilarious.  And Verne Lundquist stating he was getting the “Happy Gilmore Treatment” from Stauskas the night before had to be classic! 
Sparty:  Sparty and the Sparty Fan collective is in full “MARCH IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS!” mode!!!  And, we now KNOW who DOESN’T want to win the B1G!!!  As referenced earlier, Sparty simply doesn’t look like they want to win very much anymore…whether this is the break that Izzo team’s take during the regular season before their big “March Madness” run remains to be seen, but they have clearly dealt themselves a SEVERE blow when it comes to winning the B1G out-right (Yes, somehow, that’s still mathematically possible.. I know, don’t ask me, either).  As much as I LOVE to beat Sparty, I want Sparty to do well and maintain the “image” of the conference.  They are our own little “dook” in the B1G and gives everyone that has to play them a little extra pride to say, “We kicked their butt!”   But when they suck as bad as they are sucking right now (1-2 in their last 3 in mid-February with a lone victory over hapless Purdon’t), well, it does make one scratch his head and wonder if Izzo’s lost a step.  With the schedule as tough as anyone’s in the last three games, it’s not looking good to win out.  And where is Sparty’s Floor Slapping “D”???  My guess for Sparty?   Practice is kicked up a notch.  No more coddling injuries.  Little Apple(ing) better get his crap straightened out.  (You could make an argument that Apple is the best weapon Michigan has on Sparty’s team!) And the rest of Sparty is going to find out what the wrath of Izzo can look like when the Iz-Troll gets angry.  I’m sure they are still thinking win out and win the B1G Tournament and there’s a shot…
Wiscy:  Moving right on up in the seeding in both the B1G tourney and the NCAA.  Wiscy is a big fan of whoever is playing Sparty right now after taking care of Iowa and making 2nd through 5th place in the B1G a huge log jam.  But Wiscy right now holds all the tie-breakers and would get the #3 seed in the B1G Tournament if it was seeded today. 
Iowa: How is it that Michigan is the ONLY B1G team to have lost on Iowa’s home court this season?  Sparty, The Suckeyes and Wiscy all beat the Black Birds on their floor….I had Iowa as a team that was trying to find its way into the NIT, but I’m starting to really believe it now.  They could help their own fate with a win in East Lansing….
ohio:    Taking care of business, but the hapless suckeyes and a lost Aaron Craft are not looking like a strong tournament contender come March…
NEBRASKA:  Nebraska as it stands right now, in my belief anyway, is in the NCAA Tournament and they have bumped the Gophers out.  Shocking for a team that was picked to finish dead last in the B1G!!!  Congrats!
Minnesota:  I don’t know what to say here.  RPI and big wins against non-conference opponents in the pre-season had everyone taking notice…Now, they’re a team praying that the RPI keeps them in the selection committee’s sights come selection Sunday.  I’m not even sure that 2 wins in the B1G tournament saves them….They probably have to win it.
Indiana:  Puuuuke…….Nuff Said. 
NCAA Tournament Locks:  Michigan, Sparty, Wiscy, ohio, Iowa,
Locked up, avoiding Dayton and needing a couple of wins:  NEBRASKA
Last B1G Teams In:  Minnesota – assuming they win out – and I don’t think they can….
Wishing they had one or two more victories right now or hoping for a final  3-4 game run or B1G Tournament Victory:  NO ONE!!!
Roaming around waiting for any other sport to start:  PSU, NWU, IU, Illinois and Purdue
Getting down to the proverbial “Nitty Gritty” and the chips are getting stacked in front of the big boys and the other little guys are scrambling for spots. 
Right now, the 4 number 1 seeds will be:
  1.  Florida (My new “first 1 seed to lose in the tournament” team)
  2. Wichita State (Haven’t lost since last year’s Final Four)
  3. Arizona – Another 1 seed that might not make it out of the first weekend to the Sweet 16….
  4. Syracuse  (More on the Boeheim thingy in a minute….and I know, two losses in a single week and I still have them as a 1 Seed?  Well, who else do you move up?)
The 2-4 seeds, in particular order because it DOES matter as we get closer:
2 Seeds:        Dook, Kansas, San Diego State, Creighton
3 Seeds:        Michigan, Kentucky, Louisville, sparty
4 Seeds:        St. Louis, Villanova, Virginia, TEXAS
I know, Texas got creamed at Kansas…but that was kind of expected. Still Texas is my last 4 seed in…Team most likely to move up to a 1 when any of the 1 seeds lose again:  Dook.  That was a big win for the K-troll over the Orange Saturday.  The Bilikens are probably underseeded, but I have no idea who to move down from the 3 line at this moment….(Sparty?)  Kansas is a very close 2nd in the 1 Seed move up potential as is “Whoever” wins the B1G is going to be in the next best spot to grab a Number 1 seed, even though Michigan is in the driver’s seat right now and that would be a HUGE move from where I currently have them (a 3 seed) to a number 1.  I think if Michigan can win the B1G outright AND win the B1G Tournament, you’d have a VERY compelling argument that the committee couldn’t ignore for a Michigan 1 seed…But let’s get the rest of the season out of the way, first.
Read Lunardi or the SBNation Bracket Tracker if you’re interested about the last teams in…I’m focusing on who has a real shot at winning the NCAA by sticking with the top 12 teams….
The State of the Game
Just last Monday the MMPG made a gripe about the refereeing this season and stated that the “charge” in college hoops is one of if not the most mysterious call in all of basketball, if not all of sports.  I had several discussions this week with some of you about that comment and there was an argument for pass interference in football, but the charge seems to be the one that everyone agrees is called the worst.  And I think it’s due to the fact that it’s so obvious when it’s wrong!
There was a TERRIBLE call against Morgan yesterday in the 2nd half for a block that should have been a charge against Sparty.  The referees IMMEDIATELY called a “make-up” foul on the other end and even Izzo laughed and said down to Beilein, “So, we’re EVEN??”  I get that ref’s blow calls and that make-up calls happen to appease those that are on the receiving end of the bad call.  But it still sucks!!!
What happened in the Duke-Syracuse game was, as Boeheim put it, “A Travesty.”  But you had to watch the ENTIRE GAME TO KNOW WHY!  About mid-way through the 2nd half, Jabari Parker literally ran over an Orange defender that had been planted for, oh, I dunno, a week or so in his defensive position, and the BLOCK was called!  Jimmy kept his cool, bit his tongue, gave the ref a quizzical look and tilt of the head and figured he easily had a make-up call coming.  And as a fan, I figured he had one coming, also.
Then, the game ending “Charge that could have easily been a Block OR a no call” happened and JB lost it – as have a million other coaches in Cameron Arena based on the incredibly “Lucky” officiating calls that dook seems to get there.  And frankly, I would have, also.  Not that I like Boeheim and I don’t respect the guy that much (In fact, I hate a lot of people with the initials JB – Justin Beiber, Jack Black, Jimmy Boeheim), he immediately moved into the people I like WITH the initials JB (James Bond, John Belushi, Jason Bourne, and Jessica Biel).  It was a HORRIBLE call considering the call he HAD TO EAT earlier in the game!  I understand that calls aren’t always consistent, but the refs need to balance stuff out….and frankly, these guys did a lousy job.  Jimmy gets the Double –T and gets tossed.  Was it wrong for JB to storm the court and get tossed?  I don’t think so.  Jay Bilas thought it was, but I’m finding myself dis-agreeing more with that guy, also. 
So, is it fixable?  Yeah, I think it is and your MMPG is here with a really simple thought:  In the last 30 seconds of any game, any block or charge should have the whistle blown (WITHOUT A CALL!  I don’t want to have to “reverse” anything!) and the play should be reviewed.  There’s been a foul, we just don’t know what it is yet. THEN, after seeing it in slo-mo, make the call.  It slows the game down and removes the human element, but at this point, I would rather see it called correctly.  This of course will never happen, and controversy will continue to be part of the college basketball landscape for years to come.
Syracuse @ Maryland (Go B1G!!)  (7:00)   - Can the Terps make it 3 losses in a row for JB and the Orange?
Oklahoma @ Kansas (9:00)
Okie State @ TCU (7:00)

VT @ dook (7:00)
Iowa @ Gophers (7:00)
Gators @ Vandy (7:00)
IU @ Wisct (9:00)
Michigan @ Purdue (7:00) (BTN)
WVU @ Iowa State (8:00)
Cal @ Arizona (9:00)
Ohio @ PSU (7:00)
Iowa @ IU (9:00)
Go see a High School Game!
Cincin @ u-Conn (12:00)
Louisville @ Memphis (2:00)  Will this be the beard shaving game?
LSU @ Florida (4:00)  Gators are gonna lose one in the regular season somewhere….
Illinois @ Sparty (4:00)
Texas @ Oklahoma (4:00)
Syracuse @ Virginia (4:00)
Gophers @ MICHIGAN (6:00)
Wiscy @ PSU (noon)
Ohio @ IU (4:00)
Purdue @ Iowa (2:00)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What a Wednesday! JUDGMENT SUNDAY!

If you are not watching college basketball yet, you missed a helluva' Wednesday Night…#1 Syracuse goes DOWN at HOME to a BC squad (7-19 and 3-10 in league play) that hasn’t done squat all year…Florida barely hangs on….And it was basketball Armageddon in Columbus!  I hope you are watching as there is nothing better than a B-ball upset in the making!  Well, maybe a no-hitter in baseball…but the upset is fun to watch go down.

Part of the driver (if not ALL of it) for BC’s Miracle at the Carrier Dome Victory:  Longtime Basketball Media Relations Director Dick Kelley passed away from ALS (Lou Gherig’s disease) at the age of 48.  To say that the team was insrpired was an understatement.  Read Forde’s column here for a complete run-down.  And if it doesn’t bring a tear or two to your eyes…well, you’re dead to this fan and I’ll never be able to reach you.
In case you didn’t see it, the Kitty Kats and the Suckeyes had a “Skirmish” on the floor that resulted in two ejections (one for each team) and a combined 10 free throws (back to back) once all the fouls and technicals were added up and shot.  They say that the Kitty’s started it…but youknow how much I hate the suckeyes, so I’m blaming it all on them!
St. Louis and Arizona both needed OT to get victories also!
Sheesh….what a Wednesday!
Judgment Sunday
First – Can you name this afro and 'stache circa the 1970’s "Porn Star", turned evil Basketball Coach?  See answer at the end….

Heading into what will probably be the deciding weekend of who will win the B1G, I have been perusing several of the blogs that have a lot more time (read – no job) and knowledge (read – Stat Monkeys) than the ole MMPG.  What I have been able to gather from this research and have more or less gleaned from watching this team this season is this:
When Michigan does what they do on offense and executes to or above their averages, they’re pretty much unstoppable.  But, even when they are doing that, they are the worst defensive team in the B1G. 
Yep…That’s sad.

Here’s some info from mgoblog (WARNING:  If you are the defensive minded type when it comes to hoops, you are about to see something that might make you puke):
Rebound (9th in B1G)
Steal the ball (11th)
Block shots (12th)
Defend two-pointers (12th)

This team is fourth in the conference in three-point defense (both by 3PA/FGA and 3P%), yet they're still prone to giving up wide open looks and occasionally getting torched—while Yogi Ferrell and Roy Devyn Marble both shot far better than their averages suggest they should've, Michigan's perimeter defense had a hand (or, well, didn't) in that.

And this:
It's not good. Gasaway's Tuesday Truths have one over-arching truth for Michigan fans:

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Iowa              8-4   68.5    1.13    1.00    +0.13
2.  Michigan St.     10-3   63.7    1.10    0.98    +0.12
3.  Wisconsin         8-5   62.9    1.12    1.03    +0.09
4.  Michigan         10-3   61.8    1.15    1.07    +0.08
5.  Ohio St.          7-6   63.7    1.02    0.97    +0.05
6.  Minnesota         6-7   62.9    1.06    1.07    -0.01
7.  Purdue            5-7   64.7    0.99    1.03    -0.04
8.  Indiana           4-8   64.9    0.97    1.02    -0.05
9.  Nebraska          6-6   63.9    0.96    1.02    -0.06
10. Penn St.          4-9   66.2    0.99    1.08    -0.09
11. Illinois         3-10   63.8    0.94    1.04    -0.10
12. Northwestern      5-8   60.9    0.88    1.02    -0.14
AVG.                        64.1    1.03

That is: they are the worst defense in the league save for Penn State.  (HT:mgoblog)

So, Penn State plays defense worse than Michigan.  And that’s it.  But, look at how sucky you can be if you play decent defense but can’t score:  Sparty and suckeyes.  Granted, Sparty is tied for the top spot in the B1G, but there are others in the low 1.02-1.03 opponent PPP that just can’t win….Hence, I’m glad Michigan is an offensive juggernaut (When it wants to be!).
What does it all boil down to?  I still think Michigan has a better than average chance of winning Sunday against the Green Slime as the Slime will be under a lot more pressure to win.  (And if Purdon't can help us out tonight!) I think Michigan plays loose and starts shooting like mad men.  Sparty loses and Michigan secures at least share of the B1G title.  Even with a loss, Michigan is still way ahead on a Kenpom probability basis at 50% to win the title outright and at a 70+% rate to share the title, assuming they hold serve against the remaining games and opponents on their schedule.  (Top 4 - 95+%!!) 
But teams that are historically THIS BAD on defense that end up with a top 4 seed in the NCAA’s (after winning their conference) typically do NOT find their way out of the first weekend and usually lose in an “Upset” to a lower seed that can play defense in the round of 32.  There are plenty of examples of notable seeds (Indiana last year, Arizona in the 90’s – Michigan vs. Ohio 2 years ago) that had poor defensive efficiency that were upset in the 1st round!   So, there’s that….Which sucks…
Does it mean it’s not fixable?  I dunno…As they say, by this time in the season, you are who you are.  Michigan is a three point shooting dynamo that can get so far ahead of teams that it simply breaks their opponents' spirit.  But if they can’t stop the other guys early, well, they can’t set up the “Big Run” you need to come from behind and win games.   Yes – Burke, Harday and  McGary left offensive holes that were filled quite nicely.  But the defensive holes they left are what have become glaringly apparent at this point.
The one thing that’s worth mentioning is that throughout history, Belein’s teams have traditionally sucked at defense.  It’s said his theory ( is that by playing a softer defense and not exhausting players trying to deny their opponents points,  the legs and players are “fresher” at the end of any given game (and season) and can outplay their opponents at that point on the offensive end, assuming they are still in the game.  Again, I dunno if I buy into this completely, but it’s what we have to live with as Michigan fans.  And so far, so good.
What will Sparty do Sunday?
This one seems fairly easy to me:  Izzo and staff will watch the Wiscy and Iowa games and do with their big guys what both of those teams managed to do.  And hope that Harris shows up and hits some shots.  IF (big IF) neither or at least one of those things does NOT materialize, Sparty struggles in the game and Michigan keeps it close.  Dawson supposedly gets his pins out tomorrow (?).  I will believe that when I see it.  The MMPG’s guess is that kid is on the floor on Sunday in some way, even if in relief minutes if he is even in the remotest sense of the word, available. 
Of course, Sparty fully expected to be in the driver's seat on Sunday, but the Huskers saw to it that they remained tied...Can the Spoilers help Michigan out tonight?  Expect a report tomorrow if THAT happens in West Lafayette...Because you know that all the Sparty's are expecting a big W there!
Wiscy @ Iowa:  Yep – I’m a Wiscy fan as another Iowa loss would definitely but the Black Birds out of reach for a share of the title.  If Wiscy holds to form and can execute in Iowaland…all should be good.

Gophers @ Suckeyeland:  I’m not saying the Gophers NEED to win this game, but the GOPHERS ABSOLUTELY NEED to win this game.  I really think even with the relatively high RPI (mid 40’s upon last check), the B1G has not done themselves any NCAA Tournament favors by eating their own this season.  Illinois upsetting the Gophers on Wednesday didn’t help, either.  Gophers could still pull off a run in the B1G Tournament that would secure the bid…but still, it’d be nice to have the W in ohio….
Mystery Photo

Did you guess correctly?  The current B1G coach sporting the Porn Stache is none other than the Izzo Troll himself!  Gotta love the fro and collar on that shirt!

You can almost hear him asking the question:  “Where’s the fluffers?”

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Suckeyes are the Suckiest Sucks That Suck and…DAMN THOSE CHEESEHEADS!

Olympics  - What Olympics???

Okay – I want to thank everyone who texted (and later e-mailed) to inform me that Michigan looked like dog-doo and was showing “no effort” in the 1st half of the ohio game.  Yes, thanks for that….It was nearly impossible for me to see that for myself as my eyes watered with rage when the suckeyes more or less just continued their pre-game warm up drills (lay-ups) through Michigan’s D….I had to switch to the Olympics once in order to protect my basement TV from the remote in my hand.  I exaggerate…but only a little.  There was an object thrown.  But I managed to avoid the TV. 
And then, something happened.  Either the world shifted on its axis or Michigan actually found a way to not only score, but stop the suckeyes and Tim Tebow Aaron Craft from being the defensive threat that he is and also made him non-existent on the other end of the floor.  (See what I did there?  If I HAVE TO LISTEN TO ONE MORE GUY TALK ABOUT THE GREATNESS OF AARON CRAFT – I’MUH GONNA’ PUKE!!!!)

Anyway, I think we all panic a little, myself included, when things like this happen.  I’m not saying there’s not evidence that we SHOULDN’T Panic (Iowa and now Wiscy) but I do believe in the laws of regression and I looked again at ohio’s offensive numbers and realized that if we just kept playing our game….Things should eventually work out.

And work out, they did!  Walton, Irvin and even Stauskas (a quiet 15 on the night) had superb games!  The 2nd half was highlighted by a 12-0 Michigan run that had the BEST DEFENSIVE TEAM in the league looking around at each other wondering what to do. 
Wiscy:  What can I say?  It was going to be a big game no matter who won or lost.  I have to admit that I did not see the game as I somehow got the start time in my little noggin screwed up, but I did see the finish.  What looked like a close game late turns out was nothing but.  I heard from foes and fans alike (Where I caught the end of the game was full of rejoicing Spartys - more on that in a minute) that more or less all agreed that Michigan sucked in the first half.  And it appeared to be an effort thing. 

I don’t know what “Clicks” with Michigan and what they do to turn it on, but when it’s on, they are capable of beating anyone in the country.  And I do mean ANYONE.  Bring it Syracuse.  Wichita State – Final Four Fraud from last year.  Arizona is more or less done without Ashley….Florida?  PUHLEASE!!!!!
So the question becomes:  What team can Michigan put on the floor for 6 games in the tournament?  Or is it going to continue to be a "Up this game, Down this Game" routine with the Maize and Blue?
Sparty:  As I was saying, Sparty looked truly dominating in their win over the Kitty’s…but about that Nebraska Cornhusker Team coached by Tom Miles…I have a Sparty buddy that I can actually have civil conversations with and he was a huge believer in Northwestern as the “Most Under-Rated Team In the B1G” and he was holding up the Kats victory up in the Troll center as his evidence.  I was leaning more towards Nebraska and this “kid-coach” that had great success at Colorado State. When Nebraska hired Tim Miles, I thought they’de made a good move.  Bad for Michigan and the rest of the B1G, but a good move. 
And Sparty got to see just how good of a move it was on their Home Court on Sunday.  I started watching the game with bunch of elated Spartys and depressed Michigan fans and by the end of the game, the Spartys were “MASSIVELY DEFLATED” and the Michigan Fans were doing a little dance!

In short, a horrible loss for Sparty that has more or less destroyed any chance for a 1 seed with that loss.  I’m not even sure a win in Ann Arbor gets that back. 
So what gives?  Who wants to win the B1G? (Rhetorical Question.  Don’t answer that.)

We have learned this about Sparty:  When they play poorly, everyone is hurt, either physically or emotionally.  When they win, everyone is toughing it out and playing over their pain.  Sheesh…After questioning Apple(ings) toughness, Izzo came out last Monday with this whine, er, rant:
Awww……Poor Babies!   Come to Izzo and daddy will make it all better!  Bubuyathpppt… (Baby noises….)  So, Sparty doesn’t like it when people talk about them on Twitter….Perhaps if Sparty and their fans were not so active in the “Talking” business, things wouldn’t be said about them?  Hmmmm?

What a jackass. Actually – let me re-phrase:  What a bunch of Jackasses…  The things Izzo and the collective known as Sparty have said about Michigan and Michigan players and then to come out and say that people are making “bad remarks” about his players.  Really?  Don’t throw mud, idiots.  Get over it.  Or better yet, get off Twitter. 

But wouldn’t this be a great coaching opportunity and a REALLY great team unity opportunity that could be used for a bonding moment?  Instead, Izzo comes out and only makes it worse by saying his guys are “crying” about stuff that’s written about them…
I can’t wait till February 23rd! 

Wiscy:  Doing what they need to do to secure at least a top 5 seed.  My guess is they are still an early out, which again could mean a trip to the elite 8 knowing Ryan…
OSU:  Is there anything better and redder on the tube than Thad Matta’s face when he’s yelling and pissed off about something?  That guy is really coaching at the right place due to the fact that his face goes so well with the team’s colors….Kind of the same way if Brian Kelly was the head football coach at Northwestern.

Iowa: If they can win out, I see a high seed in their future as well….
Minnesota:  Could have really helped their tournament cause with a win at the Troll center, but couldn’t even get close in the upset….

NEBRAKSA:  I’m adding them to the “List” as a potential team to surprise some people and get in the tournament.  And this is a team you DON’T want to play as a middle seed…
Indiana:  Now, after a crippling loss against the Gophers and what can only be described as a pathetic last minute loss to Penn State (after being up 10 with 3 minutes to go!), I’m taking Indiana officially out of the tournament.  They’re done.  Stick a fork in them.  And what’s funny is, they have talent…but there’s no way unless they win the B1G Tournament…And then it will probably be curtains for the Gophers as Indiana would “Steal” a B1G spot….

NCAA Tournament Locks:  Michigan, Sparty, Wiscy, ohio, Iowa
Locked up, but Trying desperately to Break into the NIT or at least get on the bubble:  Minnesota

Last B1G Teams In – NEBRASKA 
Wishing they had one or two more victories right now or hoping for a final  5 game run or B1G Tournament Victory:  PSU, NWU, IU

Roaming around waiting for any other sport to start:  Illinois and Purdue
The B1G is probably only going to get 6 in the NCAA tourney this year.  Too much parity in the middle of the pack and too many bottom feeders upsetting the middle guys…But if Nebraska can win 4 of last 5…look out.  Could be 7.

Getting down to the proverbial “Nitty Gritty” and the chips are getting stacked in front of the big boys and the other little guys are scrambling for spots. 

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. Arizona – Another 1 seed that might not make it out of the first weekend to the Sweet 16….
The 2-4 seeds, in particular order because it DOES matter as we get closer:
2 Seeds:        Creighton, sparty, Kansas, Dook
3 Seeds:        Kentucky, Michigan, San Diego State, TEXAS

4 Seeds:        Cincinnati, Villanova, Louisville, Virginia
Team most likely to move up to a 1 when either Florida or Arizona loses again:  Dook.  Whoever wins the B1G is going to be in the next best spot to grab a Number 1 seed.  I think Kansas has people thinking they aren’t that good and KENPOM knocked them down out of the top 8….The Duke argument is tough because there is already a Big East team as a 1 Seed and the schedule is not doing them any favors…OHHHH, I’m sorry…Did I say Big East?  I meant ACC!  And Dook got “Paxed”, so to speak with the big storm that moved through and postponed the UNC showdown to February 20th.  Dook will play three games in 5 days - Tuesday – Thursday - Saturday.  Georgia Tech – UNC and Syracuse….I don’t see that being a 3 for 3 type of victory plan…in fact, 1 and 2 is entirely possible.

Again, read Lunardi or the SBNation Bracket Tracker if you’re interested about the last teams in…I’m focusing on who has a real shot at winning the NCAA by sticking with the top 12 teams….
The State of the Game
Is charging becoming a lost call in the college game?  In fact, is college officiating at its lowest point (meaning:  Really, really, really, REALLY Shitty) that it’s ever been?  I tried to do some research to see if there were any blogs or anyone out there that tracked such things, but I couldn’t find anything.  Pat Forde over at Yahoo made mentioned  this in his Forde Minutes column, and I agree with him then that the college officiating this year, well, sucks. 
The charge is the most mysterious call in basketball right now.  Half the time it is called, I think it should have been a block, and the other half, I think they call the block when, to this somewhat unbiased observer, it looks clearly like a charge.  Not to mention the number of no whistle “Travels” I’m seeing this year along with the innocuous “reach in” foul.  Look, this isn’t the NBA and I don’t want to make College Hoops into the NBA so the referees need to stop calling it like the NBA.  Period. 
I don’t know how to fix it and I wish there was a better governing body and perhaps a broader re-play list of what is reviewable.  But, as was pointed out to me, the game is at times, slow enough as it is.  In fact, I can’t remember how many times games have gone over the 2 hour mark this year, but it’s been quite often.  I do think some of that is due to MULTIPLE COMMERCIALS and extended commercial breaks.  I only hope we don’t start seeing games slotted for 2 hours and 15 minutes or something…Basketball is pure just the way it is.  Keep the games at 2 hours total. 

Texas @ Iowa State

Iowa @ Indiana
Kentucky @ Ole Miss

Northwestern @ suckeyes
Witchy State @ Loyola (Chicago)
Arizona @ Utah (Best Upset pick of the Week!)
Sparty @ Purdon’t
Dook @ North Carolina
Catch a High School Game!
Louisville @ Cincinnati
Wiscy @ Iowa
Gophers @ suckeyeland
WWIII REMATCH:  Syracuse @ Dook:  Can the Devils get payback?
Texas @ Kansas – Big12 Implications!  Bigger problems for Kansas and a number 1 seed if they lose
Sparty @ Michigan  (NOON!!!!!)