Hey Everyone! I hope you had a fun week here at OTE and abroad. I spent most of the week on the sunny beaches of Cancun, and now am looking out the window at a gray, sad sky hoping against hopes that it doesn't snow today. Of course, those of you who are also looking out windows of your own at sad gray skies probably couldn't care less about my sadness because, hey, I was in Mexico. With that said, I'm back and I did get my bracket in before the first tip yesterday and I am proud to announce that I am tied for second and have not lost a Sweet 16 team yet! I expect pandemonium in my brackets today.
So what happened this week? Well, sounds like the B1G is looking into timezone divisions, which is probably smart and helps with overall competitive balance in my opinion. Of course, the East does look a little bit better than the West on paper, so who knows? I do look forward to watching Maryland and Rutgers go through hell year against the major players like Nebraska did. Good luck with that guys. We'll go ahead and pretend they don't want to initiate you!
Also, Iowa and Purdue started their postseason play with wins in the NIT and CBI respectively. So go B1G? Sure... I guess extra playing time for a team can pay dividends when you're young, so no shame in that. Hell, Oregon won the CBI a couple years back over Creighton and both teams are in the Big Dance so that's a good sign, right?
Finally, the B1G opened up NCAA play with two wins by MSU and UM. Sure, SDSU put a bit of a scare into Michigan up front and MSU let Valpo come within 11 points, but neither team really left any doubt they would go to the round of 32. The big stories were the Pac-12 not messing around with what they felt were underseedings as both Oregon and Cal moved on from the 12 seed, and Harvard beat New Mexico which was most likely celebrated especially hard by our friends in Iowa City. Steve Alford, congratulations for being the highest seed to fall yesterday. FEAR THE CRIMSON!
Today has a lot more basketball in store. The rest of the B1G gets going with Ole Miss and Wisconsin tipping off at 11:40 AM Central on TruTV. For those of you without TruTV, like me, you need to go find a sports bar that does have this stupid channel that should not get games in these situations. At 3:10 PM Central, Indiana starts their march to the Final Four against James Madison on TBS. I know very little about James Madison, but I do like their logo. 30 minutes later at 3:40 PM Central, Illinois plays a feisty Colorado on TNT. Ohio State faces off against Iona at 6:15 PM Central on CBS. Finally, at 8:57 PM Central, Minnesota looks to pull off the upset against UCLA on TruTV. If you like Big Ten teams, NCAA basketball in general, or inordinate amounts of sports, today should keep you busy. For the rest of you, football is just around the corner and you can forget about the roundball game that doesn't have a bat.
Some Big Ten Links
- In case you want to follow the OTE Bracket Challenge Standings, go here.
- The Champaign Room points out that we should all cancel our Cosmo subscriptions. While there are potentially other reasons to do this, having Mike Bruesewitz as a 'hot guy' of March Madness is really a problematic thought process for pretty much all of us. Andre Almeida is just mad Nebraska isn't in the tournament.
- A Lion Eye is picking Illinois over Colorado in a stream of consciousness post.
- The Crimson Quarry takes a look at James Madison and gives some thoughts on the game. Let's go ahead and just say it -- Indiana isn't losing this game. Vegas isn't always right, but being 21 point favorites probably means something.
- via Inside the Hall: "James Madison, he signed something big, like the Declaration of Independence. I'm right, right? Emancipation Proclamation, something like that. One of those big names. I know he's a big historic figure in U.S. history." - Victor Oladipo when asked if they knew who James Madison was.
- BHGP has some thoughts from the win over Indiana State the other night with another installment of Fran Graphs. Probably one of the better images HEC has produced.
- On an upside to the NIT, Iowa is selling tickets and proves fans are willing to watch postseason ball. Again, any extra games are good for everyone.
- MnB enjoyed watching Michigan take care of the Jackrabbits after a slow start. Trey Burke needs to score more as this tournament progresses. Also, water is wet.
- MnB also has a preview of the VCU game on tap already. The Wolverines cannot sleep on Virginia Commonwealth. They are a talented team that is capable of knocking off anybody. Shaka Smart is an excellent coach and a lot of people think they are going to make a run this year.
- TDG offered a few thoughts on the Gopher's tournament fate. This team is really hard to get a read on. On one hand, I truly believe Minnesota has enough talent to make the Sweet 16. They have a post presence, shooters, and a smart coach, and none of those things should be overlooked. On the other hand, would anyone be surprised if they get stomped tonight?
- The Star-Trib assesses what is happening to Rodney Williams. Everyone knows how important he is to this team's success, and for Minnesota's sake, I hope he steps it up against the Bruins.
- TOC has a recap of the Spartan win over Valpo. Good game by Michigan State and a reminder to everyone that nobody should ever bet against Izzo in March.
- So uh, a statue was 'vandalized' with Valpo gear in East Lansing before the game yesterday. I guess that's news? I'm sure I'm missing something.
- CN doesn't have a NCAA team, a fired coach, or a post-season tournament to discuss. Instead, they ask what Creighton's move to the Big East does to affect the state of basketball in Nebraska.
- Former Nebrasketball Doc Sadler seems to be happy as Director of Basketball Operations at Kansas. You can't blame him for taking it easy after his stint at Nebraska.
- SOP has some thoughts about the Northwestern coaching search and presumed front-runner for the Wildcats, Duke Assistant Chris Collins.
- LTP also weighs in on the coaching search for Northwestern and puts their two cents in on Chris Collins.
- Ohio State plays the Gaels today and LGHL has the preview. This is another game that shouldn't really be anything but a Buckeye rout.
- 11W also does a preview of the game against the Gaels and decides that this is probably going to be a Buckeye win. So basically, no shock there.
- So uh, Penn State has no basketball stories, so we're going to give BSD and BHGP some props for covering the NCAA championships in Wrestling. Check out the previews here and here. You can also follow Story Streams here and here.
- Does H&R have the most complete CBI coverage in the B1G? Well, yes, but I suppose that should be a given.
- The first game of the CBI really gives Purdue to finish on a high note this season.
- B5Q has a great breakdown of the Wisconsin draw. Honestly, it wasn't that bad of a setup for the Badgers. Of course, watch them lose to Ole Miss today.
- I also enjoyed B5Q's conversation with Red Cup Rebellion, the Ole Miss SBN outpost. Really good insight into what to watch for today.