Monday, February 26, 2007

February’s frenzy
It seems funny to me that all the attention in college basketball is always placed on March. No question about it, March is where champions are crowned (well, technically it happens in the first few days of April) but in my opinion, champions are made in the frenzied chaos of February.

Sure, a team can go on a run in the postseason conference tournament and then parlay that into big success in the NCAA Tournament, but more often than not, your champions are being molded in late January and February during the grind of conference play.

All season long, many thought it was Wisconsin’s Big Ten title to lose. Well, in fact it was. A schedule back-loaded with a week that included road trips to East Lansing and Columbus shattered conference championship dreams for the Badgers. Meanwhile, a one-month span (January 27 – February 25) built our champion – Ohio State. And perhaps more than that, it may have signaled that the young and ferocious Buckeyes are truly a team to be reckoned with when they say it matters most (March).

Now that the league crown is salted away and staying in Columbus, we can look at the frenzy that is late February for the rest of the Big Ten. Most experts still think the Big Ten gets five, maybe, maybe six into the Big Dance. If Indiana and Michigan State are in, that means four teams are fighting for one or two slots. Illinois seems to be a given, so that leaves three battling for one, maybe none. If you don’t love this time of year, you mustn’t have a pulse… it doesn’t get any better than this.

Congrats to the Buckeyes…
There’s another Big Ten title to boast about in Columbus. It is the second in a row on the hardwood and a nice continuation of the success of the football team. And it was done in a heckuva basketball game. A see-saw battle that the old school fans had to love. Defense, rebounding, guys getting on the floor. Vintage Big Ten ball. Ohio State, TFS salutes you.

Team of the Week…
I know, it would make total sense to give the nod to OSU as the team of the week, but bias aside, what Michigan State did might be more impressive. With backs against the wall, the Spartans stunned nemesis Wisconsin at home and then staved off the flu in a comeback win over Indiana. Two more big wins, tournament berth sealing wins, for the green and white.

Player of the Week…
The obvious choice might be Drew Neitzel from Michigan State (who was this week’s Co-PoTW with Greg Oden) for the show he put on against Wisconsin and the way he gutted through the flu to make big shots in a key win over Indiana. But I am going to go with a freshman. Raymar Morgan was the biggest reason the Spartans took out Indiana at home, despite facing a 13-point deficit. Morgan was also huge in the game against Wisconsin and solidified his case as one of the top freshman in the conference that doesn’t play for Ohio State…

March Madness...'s Joe Lunardi now has five Big Ten teams in (as of 2/26).

CSTV's Jerry Palm has six (as of 2/23)

Court Storming…
I’ve been searching for a really good way to put my feelings about students rushing the court after big wins in college basketball. I am not a fan of a team like Arizona State doing it just because they finally won a conference game. But I have absolutely no issue with say, the Izzone or Value City Arena crowd storming the court in celebration after a big win.

The best take on the issue comes from The State News sports columnist Ethan Conley. Well put Ethan.

This Week in the Big Ten:
February 27 – Michigan State at Michigan
February 28 – Indiana at Northwestern
February 28 – Iowa at Penn State
February 28 – Minnesota at Purdue
March 3 – Michigan State at Wisconsin
March 3 – Illinois at Iowa (Tiebreaker)
March 3 – Northwestern at Purdue
March 3 – Ohio State at Michigan
March 3 – Penn State at Indiana

Get Gamm Update:
Buckeye Nation got a huge leg up by going 10-1 this week and taking a two game lead. Get Gamm will include the Big Ten tournament and NCAA as well as NIT play as well.

1 – Buckeye Nation: 76-17 (.817) 4 GG Wins
2 – Gamm: 74-19 (.796) 2 GG Wins
3 – Dan Meyer: 72-21 (.774) 1 GG Win
4 – phastdawg: 68-25 (.731) 1 GG Win


Dan Meyer said...

First, the scores:

MICHIGAN STATE 70 at Michigan 68--Spartans remove any doubt.

INDIANA 73 at Northwestern 66--So do Hoosiers.

Iowa 64 at PENN STATE 69--Approaching status of Charlie Brown kicking football with Lion picks.

Minnesota 65 at PURDUE 78--Boilers get payback for January loss.

Michigan State 60 at WISCONSIN 72--Badgers get payback for loss last week.

Illinois 58 at IOWA 66--How far DOES Iowa have to go in the Big Ten Tourney?

Northwestern 62 at PURDUE 75--Do the Boilers need the semis or just the quarters?

OHIO STATE 72 at Michigan 64--Deadly home stand; upset COULD happen here with Buckeyes clinching one seed Sunday.

Penn State 58 at INDIANA 74--Hoosiers take third seed in Big 10 Tourney.

Next--projected seeds:

8 Michigan 7-9 vs 9 Minnesota 3-13

6 Michigan State 9-7 vs 11 Penn State 1-15
7 Illinois 9-7 vs 10 N'western 2-14

1 Ohio State 15-1 vs 8/9 winner
4 Purdue 9-7 vs 5 Iowa 9-7
3 Indiana 10-6 vs 6/11 winner
2 Wisconsin 13-3 vs 7/10 winner

After thinking as recently as two weeks ago that the Big Ten probably gets only four in the Big Dance; I'm now guessing five or more likely six: Ohio State (1 or 2), Wisconsin (2 or 1), Indiana (6 or 7), Michigan State (8 or 9), Illinois (9 or 10) and a good chance for either Purdue or Iowa to come in as a 11 or 12 seed if either or both have a good Big Ten tourney (if both do well--Illinois may be the odd team out).

Phatsdawg said...

MICHIGAN 68 michigan state 65

INDIANA 60 northwestern 54

PENN STATE 62 iowa 57

PURDUE 76 minnesota 61

WISCONSIN 69 michigan state 59

IOWA 67 illinois 59

PURDUE 72 northwestern 54

OHIO STATE 77 michigan 57

INDIANA 68 penn state 59

I think the big ten gets 6, because I am biased big time and I think we are currently the 6th team being Purdue haha! :)

Andy Gamm said...

BN's picks:

Michigan State 68 at Michigan 69
Indiana 67 at Northwestern 51
Iowa 76 at Penn State 69
Minnesota 68 at Purdue 75
Michigan State 67 at Wisconsin 70
Illinois 77 at Iowa 81(Tiebreaker)
Northwestern 53 at Purdue 72
Ohio State 69 at Michigan 64
Penn State 55 at Indiana 68

Go Bucks!