Sorry Purdue, I still like Kansas basketball. I suppose it's mostly because I wish Nebraska was as good as them. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE
At some point, I will actually sit down and statistically assess Nebraska's first year in the B1G. While football is the flagship, we can pretty much all agree that the move was good for most every sport. Nebraska Women's Volleyball did well enough to win the conference, the Nebraska Women's Basketball made a run for the title despite being picked fairly low in the conference, Nebraska Track and Field is awesome, the Wrestling Team was probably better than expected, and the Baseball team has started off well. Oh, and the Nebraska Debate team got the first B1G title rolling back in the Fall. Of course, there is the whole thing about Football going to Wisconsin and Michigan and getting lit up, Northwestern doing what they do, and the dumpster fire that was the Basketball program this year...
With all that in mind, I still think the move was pretty good. The strangest part for me, however, has been the actual opponents. I kind of miss knowing the team on the other bench in great depth. When Nebraska was in the Big 8/XII, I definitely could get behind hating/cheering/ignoring each specific team. I used to love hating Mizzou is everything, loved rooting for Kansas because hey, they're a basketball school that tries, thought it was fun hating the Big XII South minus Baylor who was just trying really hard, and couldn't help but respect Oklahoma because of the history. I knew about each team's stadium, basketball arena, and cities (BTW, Madison wins... long story short, we got busy and more than 10,000 words were written on the subject).
Anyhow, I was reminded of Nebraska's old friends while watching basketball this weekend. I know I am supposed to get excited about how awesome the B1G is doing in the tournament (with apologies to Michigan) and I know I am supposed to be even more excited that it means Nebraska is in the toughest conference in basketball. Really, all it seemed to make me think is that I really really miss some of my Big XII nemeses. No matter how hard I try to manufacture any form of connection, I've realized it's difficult to make a clean break with something that you learned to understand. Fast pace basketball with incredible scoring machines is fun. I know I shouldn't want Kansas to beat Purdue, but how can't you at least appreciate the talent the Jayhawks put on the court?
So maybe that's where I am at in the B1G so far. I just don't have a feel for the conference yet, even after it's been a year (in July). I have absolutely enjoyed rooting for the conference as much as I can, and maybe I'll even learn to find some love/hate moments soon. I will say that Northwestern is quickly turning into Iowa State for me, which means I'm seriously going to hate them even though they really shouldn't bother me at all. Other than that, only time will tell. For now, I'm going to go ahead and keep watching and hoping that everything starts making more sense... especially Wisconsin basketball. How anyone can find that interesting is beyond me. Is it football season yet?