It’s the most wonderful time of the year
Maybe I should check to see if ESPN and Capital One have that phrase under lock and key as their Bowl Week theme. Regardless, it is the most wonderful time of the year. I bet I watched more basketball this past weekend than most casual fans watch in a season. And as more and more conference tournaments tip off, I am only bound to watch exponentially more.
Before I forget, the last weekend in the Big Ten wasn’t too shabby either. Wisconsin and Michigan State played – as I predicted – another classic. As a Spartan, I am still seeing Neitzel’s last second heave actually go in and not fall just short. But that’s another story – one for my MSU blog.
How about the comeback by a very calm, cool and collected Ohio State team with very little (in reality) to play for? I know, they had the No. 1 ranking and all, but we all know that the polls are nothing but window-dressing when it comes to college hoops. It was a very impressive comeback. One that likely cemented the winged ones firmly in the very familiar NIT field.
Iowa bounced back from the heartbreaker at Penn State to get a rare win over Bruce Weber and kept the door cracked on a possible return to the NCAA Tournament. Purdue and Indiana man-handled the cellar dwellers and that brings us to Big Ten Tourney time, March Madness, Postseason Awards and more.
Before all of that, here are the standard weekly props that I try to pass out to those who deserve it most…
Team of the Week: Wisconsin Badgers. The red and white bounced back after a tough second-to-last week of the season with a heart-stopping comeback win over Michigan State on Senior Day. It was just what the doctor ordered for Bo Ryan’s team as it heads into the postseason.
Player of the Week: Tough to pass up on Roderick Wilmont, the selection of BigTen.org but folks, IU did play Northwestern and Penn State. That said, man was en fuego (to steal a misused Spanish catch phrase from Dan Patrick) from downtown and he did firmly stake the Hoosiers to a 10-6 finish in the conference.
Team on the Rise: Call me crazy, but I really think there are two that will be forces in the Big Ten Tourney. Michigan State, two game losing streak and all; and Purdue. MSU may have lost two but were desperately ill in both, and on the road. Where, by the way, the top 8 teams in the league were not so good. The top eight in fact went 59-5 at home for the conference slate. Purdue is also on the rise. Three cupcakes in a row to end the season, but this team gets after it and could be a tough out in the tourney – especially with an NCAA bid to play for.
Team crying “uncle!”: Erase the bottom three – they’ve been crying uncle all season long. Could be Iowa, who while they bounced back with a nice win over Illinois lost to Penn State on the road and severely dented any NCAA hopes. Might be Michigan, who had the marquee win it sought slip away with – gasp – a missed dunk and front end of a 1-1 in squandering a sizeable lead late, at home, in a loss to the No. 1 Buckeyes. You decide…
Get Gamm Standings: phatsdawg ran the table last week to Get Gamm but he’s going to need some help to catch Buckeye Nation at the top. Then again, don't we all?!
1 – Buckeye Nation: 84-18 (.824)
2 – Gamm: 81-21 (.794)
3 – Dan Meyer: 80-22 (.784)
4 – phatsdawg: 77-25 (.755)
Coming Wednesday, my Big Ten Tourney Preview, All Big Ten Team and Awards Banquet!