It was pretty much all set up for Indiana, right? Senior night and the potential to see off a few underclassmen who are going to the NBA next year most likely which led to a raucous crowd at Assembly Hall. On the other side, your opponent was an excellent, but not quite elite, Ohio State squad that had yet to prove it could play on the road. On top of all that, a win secured at least a portion of the B1G Regular Season crown in what is arguably the most loaded this conference has been ever. This was a statement game for the NCAA Committee that said, "Hey, don't even worry about the Conference Tournament, just give us the overall #1 and let all roads to the title go through Indy." This was a perfect scenario that even the most avid Hoosier Hater could see as a good story.
Look, I know that you could argue officiating played a bit of a part in the game last night. That would also assume that officiating hasn't been a factor in every Big Ten game this season and that we all need to just kind of deal with it and adjust. The bottom line is that Ohio State got physical, just like other teams who have knocked the Hoosiers down before, and Cody Zeller and company did not respond. This is not to say either team is not built for a run to the Final Four, but it does at least make you pause before slating in Indiana.
Anyhow, the best part of all of this -- in my opinion, that is -- is that as long as Michigan takes care of business tonight against Purdue, Sunday at 4:00 PM Eastern becomes one of the most interesting games of the season with Indiana still controlling their own fate, but with a lot of other teams becoming Michigan fans for forty minutes. I think that is the gift of this season, every night has brought something new and interesting to the table and we as fans, no matter who your team, have been able to sit back and enjoy the party.
As a sidenote, as the picture above implies, Indiana definitely had a party to celebrate their clinching of a share of the B1G Title last night. I didn't realize this happened until today. I know why they did it, but it seems so lame to go through with it in a loss. Maybe the prep for the party was a bad omen for things to come. Either way, I second the sentiments in the article linked in saying that this was definitely a weird move for the Hoosiers.
On to what you missed on OTE this past week. Remember to vote for who was best! It was a little quiet this week, but with March Madness and Spring Football, expect it to really pick up around here soon. Also, continue to write pieces in Fan Posts. I still think user-submitted is some of the most interesting stuff we have going here. I know that there are hockey tournaments coming up, so if anyone is attending, please write something up. I was at the Wisconsin-UNO Badger sweep and was impressed by Wisconsin's ability to be as obnoxious on defense on the ice as they are on the football field and basketball court. It was pretty remarkable. Have a great Wednesday!
We Have One Section This Week, So There:
- This was a really short piece, but I did want to include it because I do believe my favorite GIF related to Bollman made the comments. There's not much else to say, but bravo on that.
- When Penn State knocked off Michigan to erase the distinction of a winless team in conference play, it was such a perfect scene. It is extremely difficult to follow a team when you feel like nobody is behind you -- even administration. When I read this piece, I could totally understand the feelings that go along with those few amazing wins. Excellent piece here all around.
- Trey Burke. That is really enough reason to like the Wolverines this season. That kid came back with a vengeance this year and has proven he is good enough to be in the NBA. Graham took the first swing at what this game means to the Wolverines and the Spartans going into this final stretch.
- Brian dropped a piece this morning that goes just a little bit further than Graham in talking about Trey Burke's play of the game to seal the deal for the Wolverines. While we're here, wouldn't it be the most Michigan thing ever to lose to the Boilers tonight? I mean, this team gets a measure of success and goes ahead and fails miserably. I don't know if that is the youth coming out after a long, tough season, but I would not feel supremely confident if I were a Michigan fan. Then again, I have no doubt that Michigan can win by 40 tonight as well, so there's that.
Okay, while I still think the metrics are terrible on this and I intend to write a follow up once life settles down for a few moments, I do understand the thought process. What the most remarkable thing about any of this data, though, is the fact that Alabama might be the most properly rated team ever, borderline underrated, which is crazy. They are continually ranked and have been dominant when people think they will be. It is a really impressive run.
- Personally, I don't want programs to ban Twitter because the world of college sports is far more interesting when "student athletes" are allowed to epically fail in front of a million computer users.
- You can debate the merits of why the rule is in place and realize that it's absolutely ridiculous to say that the NBA can tell a kid "no, you can't make money and you need to go to school" so the kid goes to school and takes 9 credit hours of Introduction to Basket-Weaving, Badminton and Water Polo 101 but uh...yeah.
- And we all know what's going to happen. The NCAA Tournament is going to roll around and a Curry, Jimmer or a Scottie 2 Hottie will pop up and the media will say "WOW, where did THAT guy come from?" Only to realize, that guy has been around all year...they just weren't paying attention.