Friday, February 25, 2005


Convetional basketball wisdom has it that the Big Ten is down. Really? Illinois has beaten all comers, including cruising by the ACC Golden Boy _eamon _eacons (Wake plays no D, get it?) by 20. Michigan State's non-conference losses were to Duke and a pretty good (ask Maryland) George Washington team. Sparty's only other losses are to Illinois, to whom everybody loses, and in Madison, where everybody but Illinois loses. Speaking of Bucky, they beat Maryland at home, something Coach K can't boast. Heck, even lowly Iowa, which was getting run over in the Big Ten even with Pierre Pierce, beat Louisville, Texas and Iowa State in the preseason (take that, KU!). Iowa's only non-conference blemish was a loss to Carolina in Maui -- Herky's record stinks, but they blew the doors off a tough non-conference schedule. And I haven't yet mentioned Minnesota, who won at Nebraska (take that Oklahoma State!) ought to make the tournament this year.

Which brings me to this interesting tidbit from the BigTenWonk.....

BONUS note on being "down." At the risk of being heretical, the Big Ten was also "down" 29 years ago when a certain team went undefeated and won the national championship. The only ranked opponent that certain team faced that year in conference play was Michigan. True story: just one ranked opponent in-conference. And no one, rightly, criticizes that certain team for the failures of its opponents.
Maybe I want the Big Ten to be down....

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