The Big Ten has a chance to do something awesome starting tonight. With four teams left in four separate regions, we could, in theory at least, see four B1G teams in Atlanta. While I am guessing any one of the four teams themselves doesn't exactly want to see one of their conference brothers in the final, I will say this. As fans, we are lucky to have witnessed this year of basketball in the conference and with each game left, we should probably just savor it. You don't always get this mix of talent, chemistry, coaching, and luck all at the same time.
To celebrate, OTE will be hosting Open Threads starting with the two games tonight between Ohio State and Arizona and going through Indiana and Syracuse. If you are sitting at home looking for an outlet, just hop on and we'll be chilling and talking about the awesomeness of an all B1G final four. On that note. Here are some details for the games this evening:
Ohio State vs. Arizona 6:47 Central; TBS
So did you know that Arizona's coach was an assistant under Matta at Xavier? You did? You heard that from ESPN about a billion times? Awesome. Good to know. Seriously, though, these coaches are pretty familiar with each other which should make this about a billion times better than some other matchups would normally be. Of course, maybe familiarity breeds contempt? I don't know. This looks to come down to Aaron Craft stopping Mark Lyons. Arizona beat Harvard and Belmont to get here and Lyons scored 27 and 23 respectively. His average on the season is something like 15 points, so obviously he's been getting the looks so far. I think Ohio State was gifted this region, though, so let's hope they keep running through it like a boss.
Indiana vs. Syracuse 8:45 Central; CBS
The nice thing is you'll just be finishing the OSU blowout of Arizona and be able to tune into one of the most intriguing matchups for the B1G. Syracuse is known for slowing games down, trapping with the zone, and making you want to punch baby seals. I am really hoping Indiana doesn't get trapped into playing half court basketball against the Orange because this is a team built for running. The Cuse Zone is legendary and it's not something to be trifled with. If Indiana tries to stay outside and doesn't keep the ball moving efficiently, this could be a long night for the Hoosiers. Let's just hope they are prepared to get out and run!
- Oh hi Eamonn Brennan. Why yes we'll take your discussion on an #ALLB1GEVERYTHING final four. While it's not super probable considering the routes it will take to make this happen, it's still at least in play. For now I'm totally rooting for this situation.
- Tom Fornelli has his season awards for the Illini at the Champaign Room. I love the dunk gifs.
- Austan Kas previews the Hoosiers matchup against Syracuse with much more depth and accuracy than I am capable of. Good stuff there.
- So I was at a little Gastropub type place last night and there were a couple of televisions on. I had honestly forgot that Iowa was playing Virginia, but I was happy to see they were winning and that the B1G could possibly win the NIT and the NCAA. Good for Iowa. I really think this is a team building momentum, which is probably a bad thing for Nebrasketball... On that note, here are some thoughts from Ross at BHGP on the win.
- Nice reflection by HoldTheRope over at MnB on taking games as they come instead of holding crazy unrealistic expectations over a team. For the Wolverines basketball team, this makes sense because you really just can't expect anything accurately. It's all about enjoying things in the now. Oh yeah, also enjoy Trey Burke because he's special. So fun to watch.
- Our very own JDMill has some thoughts on the upcoming football season for the Gophers over at TDG. Good questions to ponder and some quick analysis. For you football fans, spring is here and it's time for wild predictions!!!
- TOC does the Q&A treatment for the Duke Blue Devils in leadup to their matchup in the Sweet 16.
- Husker Mike has a great question at Corn Nation: What qualifies as 'better' for the Nebraska defense in 2013? Personal answer? Not giving up 70... damnit Wisconsin just scored again.
- Expect some more info from our Northwestern contingent, but Chris Collins is the next Wildcats coach. Rodger Sherman at SOP gives his thoughts and seems to be okay with it up front. I don't know if this is good or bad. He has the pedigree, and he wants to be here. Coach K's tree is good and bad, so maybe it works out. Only time will tell.
- LGHL has a basketball logo right now that is kind of messing with my head. Also, Matt Brown previews the Arizona-Ohio State matchup.
- Penn State will be nationally relevant under Pat Chambers. That's what BSD's Chad Markulics argues in this piece. While I think nationally relevant is a bit of a stretch, I wouldn't feel bad about the future if I was a Nittany Lion fan.
- Spring football has arrived everyone. H&R has launched their first piece on the battle for Starting QB at Purdue.
- Who would Wisconsin like to play at the end of the regular season? B5Q agrees with Rittenberg and says that Minnesota would be pretty fun. At least there is a historic rivalry there and since Nebraska is locked in with Iowa, that more or less leaves the Gophers. I don't see a lot of downside there.