Feb 26, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Matt Gatens (5) drives to the basket while being defended by Illinois Fighting Illini guard D.J. Richardson (1) during the first half at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE
We've got four matchups today. Some good (Iowa/Illinois is a tasty morsel), some not good (Purdue/Nebby mahhhh). Since Michigan is going to win the whole thing anyway and then make a Final Four run, none of this really matters, but I'll take some shots at the four games today.
I would also like to mention that yes, at 11:30 am, there will be basketball on TV. For those of you without jobs, I hate you. Your next four weeks are spoken for and I am jealous. Wake up, eat Lucky Charms, watch hoops. Literally shaking my head.
One more point - The best basketball team I ever played on, or at least the most successful team, was an 8th grade "A" team. We were .500, which says a lot about the teams I played on throughout my life. But after some early season struggles, we sort got on a roll. And I say this - When you get on a roll, when you're not plagued by injuries, when you figure out the identity of your team, what works, what doesn't work...You become incredibly dangerous. You go into every game, no matter the matchup, knowing you're going to win. You make a mistake and everyone says, no worries, keep working hard. You miss a shot? Keep shooting. So if you watch a lot of basketball and you have a discerning eye, watch for those teams come March.
Iowa v. Illinois
I love this Iowa team. I love their four wins over ranked teams. I love Matt Gatens. I love when Basabe gives 15 good minutes. I love how this is an 11 win team that pushed itself into an NIT spot.
On the other hand, I don't like Illinois (Sorry U-God). The team doesn't have offensive cohesiveness. The Illini are 2-11 in their last 13 games, all conference games. Bruce Weber is probably done.
I'm taking the Hawkeyes; I trust hardworking squads come March.
Indiana v. PSU
A) It's like a home game, B) The Hoosiers are hot and balanced, C) PSU can't score points, D) Indiana is 2-0 v. PSU this year.
All signs point me to an Indiana win. That ain't rocket science. Timmy Frazier better get his scoring shoes on...
Minnesota v. Northwestern
This is a different Gopher team than the one that crushed the Wildcats back in January. They're possibly without big Ralph Sampson III and they are finishing slow (I'm a big Sampson fan btw). Lack of a go-to scorer and ability to finish games are the glaring weaknesses.
Northwestern can't finish games either, but they're so bubbleicious right now, it's amazing. Ferrari engines are being revved extra hard this morning in anticipation of the Wildcats making the Tourney for the first time. Who are we to say no to Ferrari?
Northwestern wins, catapulting them into a play-in game as Evanston GOES.NUTS.
Nebraska v. Purdue
As I said, mah. Nebby is absolutely toothless. Nothing to see here.
Purdue wins. If they win twice, can they get up to a 6-7 seed and avoid that 8 seed game which comes with Kentucky/Cuse/UNC in the 2nd round?