Growing up in the midwest I'm a Big Ten fan of everything. But that aside, the Big Ten really is good football and really is good basketball. On the court, it's fundamental, unselfish, defensive, and when the moment calls for it these players can show they truly are good athletes. Consider just two games this year between Wisconsin and OSU. Both teams have dominant big men in freshman Jared Sullinger of Ohio State and Jon Leuer of Wisconsin. But in their two meetings, the star players were guards. Jordan Taylor erupted at home for the Badgers to clinch the second half comeback and Jon Diebler was "throwing it in the ocean" in his own words to go 17 of 20 from beyond the arc during a 2 game stretch that included a 93-65 win at home to those same Badgers. The "slow and boring" Big Ten's best just scored better than most ACC teams.
BUT FORGET ALL THAT AS OF LAST NIGHT.
I went to a bar to watch the Big Ten Tourney last night with my friend Zach, a Penn State grad. Their DirectTV didn't have the BTN so we checked the scores on our phones and bottom lines all night. Honestly, I'm glad I didn't watch it. Ten minutes in the score was 18-2 PSU. WHAT?! 2 points in ten minutes? But wait it get worse. The score at half was 20-16, which mean's PSU did just the same thing, scoring a total of 2 points in ten minutes. Final score: 36-33. Penn State needed only 16 in the second half to win and hold off Wisconsin's "furious comeback".
I can only imagine this must have been the ugliest basketball game of the year in all of college basketball. Like a 6th grade matchup, like a HS girls freshmen game. Penn State's leading scorer was their star player Taylor Battle, who's been known to score in the mid-30's. But tonight he had 9 in a game when the Nittany Lions "spread it around." Wisconsin's two best? Jordan Taylor had 16 but on a 7-21 and 1-7 from 3 shooting performance. Jon Leuer had 10pts on 5-16 and 0-6 from beyond. The rest of the Badgers? 7 points split amongst 3 players!
During the ugly Big Ten matchup in Indianapolis, Kemba Walker of UConn scored 33 to equal the Badgers. Jimmer Fredette of BYU had 52, nearly ecplipsing the game total by himself. Ugh. Ew.
The Badgers were shooting for a 2 seed with a tournament championship, would have still likely been a 3 or 4 despite their waxing by OSU. Now I bet they fall to a 5 seed and get bounced in the first round by a bubble team riding high from just getting in. The Nittany Lions shouldn't make the tournament, but if they beat Michigan State today they may have an arguement to make it over the Spartans, another bubble team. But honestly, in my book, the Big Ten doesn't deserve the 6 or so teams everyone thinks they'll get. The top three who've been ranked all year (OSU, Purdue, and UW) deserve to be in and that's it. Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan State have all been epic failures this year. Michigan and PSU are "bubble teams" but compared to what?
Put the entire Big East in the tournament and I'll send every one of them to the Sweet 16 this year.