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The 2015 Final Four Potluck: Breaking it all down, OTE style

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

There are very few traditions as strong as the OTE potluck, and with 50% of the Final Four coming from our fair conference, I thought it was appropriate to get the inside information from our esteemed* writing panel. And so we go over questions about the Wisconsin Badgers, Michigan State Spartans, Kentucky Wildcats, and Duke Blue Devils. We talk B1G Superiority and strategy. Oh, and we make picks at the end. You generally know the drill. I ask questions, they answer, and I post. Got it? Good. Let's get to this thing.

*Do not guarantee that this is an esteemed panel... sorry about that

1. This is the eighth time that the B1G has had two teams in the Final Four, which is significantly higher than the ACC's 5, and the 4 times the SEC and Big East have accomplished that feat. Despite being an up and down year for the conference, is this validation that the B1G is the best basketball conference in the land? If not them, who gets that title?

Mike: I think to claim that the B1G is the best conference in the land because they've historically had more teams in the Final Four is somewhat short-sighted. I mean, it's sort of like Maryland claiming they're the best team in the Big Ten because they've most recently won a NCAA Championship. However, I do think it shows that the Big Ten does have a very solid upper-echelon of teams. Or that Tom Izzo is one of the greatest coaches of our generation and I hate him so much. Unfortunately, I would have to say that the ACC is the best conference for a few reasons. Primarily, they've got the most championships since 2000 and this season alone they put six teams in the tournament, of which three made the Elite Eight and one in the Final Four. Oh, and that team that made the Final Four has actually won a championship in the past 10 years.

oshkoshbadger5: Yes and no. I think if you took the Big Ten and ACC truly take each team (first, second, third, etc.) head to head right now, the ACC wins. As far as historically? Or at least since the tournament expanded to 64 teams, the Big Ten is the best. Top to bottom, basically every team that isn't Penn State, Rutgers, or Nebraska has had an extended period of relevancy (ie 5+ years) in the last 30 years. No other conference comes close to that depth

Hilary: It's pretty close. But, I can't quite use it as validation that the B1G is the best conference. MSU was significantly underseeded, and that in combination with a wonky East region is what helped them get to the Final Four. Yes, they played well down the stretch, no doubt about it. Yes, they beat the #2, #3, and #4 seeds in their region. But, I suspect that if MSU was in any other region, or seeded correctly, things might not have turned out as well.

Still... I think the only other conference that could claim to be the best this year is the ACC. Duke is in the final four (gag), and Notre Dame nearly took down Kentucky. UNC gave Wisconsin a scare, and MSU nearly lost to Louisville. Yes, the Hoos shit the bed, but still, that's 4 pretty good runs. I'd say it's pretty much a tossup between the two conferences as a whole.

MNWildcat: Yes. SEC? Kentucky + Arkansas. PAC-12? Wisconsin > Arizona. Big Eas--hahahahaha. Big XII OH MY GOD IOWA STATE JUST LOST AGAIN. ACC? 2 is more than 1 in the F4, bros. I'm not sure if the AAC plays basketball, so I'll plead the fifth on that. Yeah. We the best. I don't feel any better about it, though.

C4B: I think you'd probably still get an argument from some ACC fans, but yeah, I'm convinced the B1G is still tops in hoops.

Aaron Yorke: No, it's not validating anything, but it does help make up for a regular season that made the Big Ten look like the fourth or fifth best league in the nation. Maybe that's changed now, but it doesn't matter much because we have a whole new round of graduations and transfers to sort through. The ACC can still claim to be the best conference thanks to the strength of its top programs. Having two teams in the Final Four is only important because it gives the Big Ten an extra shot at what it's really after: a national title. Now that would be something to talk about. If Michigan State or Wisconsin can't cash in, Kentucky will be king. The Wildcats just took a huge punch from Notre Dame and its red-hot offense.

DJ Carver: B1G.  I mean, I have to right? We just left the ACC because I mean, All Carolina Conference and all, so there is no way I'm taking them here.  And let's be honest, it really is a head to head between the B1G and the ACC.  The Big 12 shit the bed this year with their SEC West treatment in the NCAA seedings, so IMO they are nothing more than hype.  The B1G though? Definitely deeper than the ACC, although they did have an impressive run.

Graham: I think this argument is far less important while discussing NCAA hoops. If the B1G is better than the SEC or any other conference, what is the impact? Maybe a B1G team gets a better seed in the NCAA Tourney? Maybe the B1G gets 7 teams in the tourney over the SEC’s 5? Those aren’t exactly controversial happenings.

In football, losing national respect affects recruiting tremendously. And losing national respect might be the difference between being allowed in the NCAA Football Playoff’s Final Four…versus being left out. Look at the Baylor/TCU fiasco of 2014-15.

So I’m not that interested in conference supremacy in hoops. It’s nice for the beat writers and blogs and fanbases that follow B1G hoops, but it’s not some portal to a bigger issue.

LPW: I think two teams in the final four is awesome a lot better than the sorry showing of the big twelve. However, it might be premature to call us the best basketball conference in the land until one of our teams wins the title.

Andrew Kraszewski: I've never viewed the tournament as a sensible way to evaluate the strength of a conference. Does Gonzaga's run to the Elite Eight elevate the rest of the WCC in everyone's eyes? What about that year George Mason made the Final Four, was the Colonial suddenly a top 5 conference? Nope. This was a down year for the B1G overall based on the non-con results, and a few prominent wins over strong teams shouldn't undo that- though a national title sure would. Remember, only 2 of our 7 tourney entrants made it to the Sweet Sixteen and our only NIT entrant got rolled by the Tide of all teams, so it's not like the conference at large cleaned up in the postseason. Maybe this answer is mostly about me shooing the rest of you off of my team's coattails with a broom, but I viewed the ACC as the strongest conference for most of the season and I don't think the tourney's changed that. The regular season is a much bigger data set than what still amounts to about a dozen total games for the conference, 6 teams from which didn't even participate.

2. Let's start with some thoughts on Wisconsin. The Badger offense went bananas in the second half of their game against Arizona. Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky were on fire, and it looks like the support staff of Josh Gasser, Nigel Hayes, and Bronson Koenig make things difficult for defenses. Now they come up against the best defense in the nation in the form of the towering monsters that are the Kentucky Wildcats. What will the Badgers need to do to score points consistently? Can they keep this torrid pace on offense up or will Kentucky slow them down?

Mike: For a team that looks like a bunch of white supremacists, Wisconsin can sure shoot the basketball. And that's what they're going to need to do, they're going to need to shoot the basketball. I don't see Frank Kaminsky being terribly effective on the inside against guys like Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns. I mean, I know he'll score points in the paint because he's a great basketball player but it will come at high difficultly. If Wisconsin wants to beat Kentucky they'll need to do it from the outside. Hayes, Dekker and Gasser will need to knock down jump shots and three points. Kaminsky will also need to show that special ability to shoot a three pointer. Because Kentucky is just too big to battle with on the inside.

oshkoshbadger5: I'll write an entire article on this subject later this week #teaser, but to sum it up, Wisconsin has to attack. If they just stand around and jack up 30 threes this game could get ugly. If they attack the basket, get to the foul line, kick out to open shooters, and Sam Dekker does Sam Dekker things, 2015 Kentucky will he 1991 UNLV. /Sam Dekker just hit another step back three

Hilary: First of all, Sam Dekker wasn't just "on fire." He was ON FIRE! (cue NBA Jam music). How will they score points consistently? By playing just like they did in the second half against Arizona. What makes the Badgers so dangerous when they're on is that they have legitimate threats both in the paint and on the perimeter. In both cases, there are multiple players who are dangerous in each area. That's not to say it's going to be easy to score on Kentucky, but watching both the UW-Arizona and UK-ND games back-to-back, you can't convince me that Kentucky is somehow invincible to being scored on.

MNWildcat: The Badgers need to make baskets. Kentucky will probably slow them down a bit.

C4B: Get the ball in to Kaminsky, and let him work. If he's even half as good as he was against Arizona, he's gonna get a couple of Wildcats into foul trouble early and often. Oh, and hope that Dekker continues to throw up any shot he wants and magically make it go in.

Aaron Yorke: Hey if Wisconsin can shoot the way it did against Arizona, then it won't need to worry about any of the big guys inside and the Badgers will cruise into the title game. More likely, they'll need Kaminsky to show that he can go one-on-one with Willie Cauley-Stein or Karl-Anthony Towns. If he can win that matchup, it will open up outside shots for the rest of the team, including a suddenly dominant Sam Dekker.

DJ: F Wisconsin.  Did you really need to shoot, what, 10/11 from 3 point range in the second half? Really? That shooting performance cost me roughly $480.  Anyways, back to the question.  Yes, they need to do that again to beat Kentucky, because Frank the tank is not doing what he did to Arizona to Kentucky.  They just simply have way too much quality depth for him to expect that again.

Graham: I am deeply in love with the Wisconsin offense…Just so many weapons and gigantic human beings who can operate with or without the ball. Against a very good Arizona team, the Badgers hit ridiculous, moonball-type shots. It’s fun, but it’s not sustainable against Kentucky. So, the Badgers should probably just do what’s got them this far: Pass the ball around the perimeter, get it inside, if there’s nothing there, kick it out and shoot threes.

LPW: Wisconsin simply needs to get hot shooting threes and their centers and forwards need to get creative in offensive rebounding.

Then again, I wasn't that good at basketball. Let's ask GoAUpher. I think our giant Minnesota ambassador probably played basketball in high school. Let's ask him how to work around a big center.

Andrew: I think Kaminsky's versatility is crucial here. Kentucky has a battalion of guys who are big and athletic enough to contain him in the post (though I do think his goofy/nifty array of moves should get him 3 or 4 buckets around the hoop as well), but I somehow doubt the SEC presented them with any 7-footers they had to defend on ball screens out beyond the 3-point line. Having Frank work from long range will make those guys do things they aren't accustomed to, and you might see either some open looks for Kaminsky or botched switches by the Wildcats opening up some other stuff. The fact that everyone who sees the floor for Wisco can shoot from deep ought to be very helpful, as would be another can't-miss night from Dekker or Hayes.

3. On the other hand, Kentucky's offense is hit or miss, but so is Wisconsin's defense. How do you all see that matchup going down? Can Kentucky find some weaknesses in the Wisconsin front court using the likes of Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns, or will Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker be able to hold their own? Or, am I missing something completely on this matchup?

Mike: Oh, I thought I just answered this question.

oshkoshbadger5: Wisconsin is probably the only team that on paper has any hope of matching up with Kentucky's bigs. Here's the thing... Kaminsky is 7', Dekker is 6'9, Hayes is 6'8, Dukan is 6'10. Why does this matter? Besides Karl-Anthony Towns, none of Kentucky's bigs have much of a back to the basket game. Their game is "spin to my right, baby hook over defender I'm 6 inches taller than" and "crash glass, jump over smaller defender for put back". That won't work against Wisconsin. The real problem will be not getting called for fouls. Wisconsin is going to have to out score Kentucky, that won't happen if Kaminsky, Dekker, and Hayes aren't on the floor /Wisconsin hit another three

Hilary: Kentucky is going to attempt to do to Wisconsin exactly what they did to Notre Dame (and what Arizona tried to do). They are going to feed it to Towns in the paint and try to get their points on easy layups and dunks. They may do this in transition, they may do it after setting up in the half-court, but that's what they'll do. Arizona did a variant of this to UW as well. When AZ stuck to it, UW couldn't keep them from scoring. The key is to try to make it difficult. When the Badgers were able to force Arizona into taking contested jump shots, the Badgers came down with the rebounds more often than not and were able to keep the game close. If they do that against Kentucky, good things will happen. If not....

MNWildcat: Kentucky will also need to make baskets. Wisconsin is a less-good defensive team and will likely commit several fouls, all of which they will look astonished at having committed.

C4B: I think you've hit the nail on the head here. Kaminsky has to stay out of foul trouble on this end, because he will be the key to Wisconsin winning this game.

Aaron Yorke: The Wildcats survived Notre Dame by dumping the ball to Towns and letting him go to work on the Irish "big" men. Wisconsin is better equipped to handle Kentucky on defense because of its frontcourt rotation. If the Badgers can contain Towns without allowing a ton of three-point opportunities for Devin Booker and the Harrison twins, they can win the game due to their offensive blueprint that's similar to Notre Dame's: few turnovers and lots of shooters.

DJ: I think Sam Dekker is going to need to go off again to make this upset happen.  Kentucky simply has too much inside depth for Wisconsin to reasonably expect any sort of consistent inside production in the game.  If Dekker is average? Hand the game to Kentucky.

LPW: I have no idea on this front. Flip a coin?

Andrew: Well, given last year, I'd think Aaron Harrison is a guy Badger fans will want to keep an eye on. I ordinarily don't see anything overly spectacular about him, but he does have that knack for drilling the back-breaker at the best/worst possible time. One assumes Josh Gasser will be up in his business for most of the game, which should be a compelling matchup. Down low, I wonder if Wisconsin's lack of depth at the 5 will cause Kaminsky to yield a few times when one of Kentucky's leviathans gets the ball in good position. Kaminsky hasn't been all that great defensively, and the Badgers can't afford foul trouble for him, so I suspect there'll be a few thunder dunks down low if he gets tagged with a quick fir- pffff hahahahahaha I almost said the refs were going to call fouls on a Wisconsin player. How utterly droll.

4. As for the Spartans, is this the best coaching job by Izzo yet? This team was left for dead a little while back, and yet here we are. Michigan State is in full-on couch burning and bagel throwing. Is there something that Izzo has done to get his team ready for this that is so far and above everyone else or is this just a sign of a good team coming together at the right time?

Mike: I'm comfortable saying that this is Izzo's best coaching job. I remember when I was at the Big Four Classic in Des Moines and some Iowa State fans behind me were all HURRRR MICHIGAN STATE LAST TO TEXAS SOUTHERN DURRRRR LOL BIG TEN MICHIGAN STATE HURRRR. As I said to those eloquent gentlemen at the time (they were total mouthrbreathers and I was wasting my time) Izzo's teams always seem to struggle early on in the season but they always pull it together come tournament time. Now, did I expect a Final Four appearance? No. Way. There's just something about the guy. He can get the most out of his players and always has them ready for the Tournament. It's like he has some magical drug that he gives his players that makes them calm, slows the game down and prepares them for the big stage. Also, did you know that a Tom Izzo team hasn't committed a foul since 1999? Not according to Tom Izzo, anyway.

oshkoshbadger5: I think this is Izzo's best coaching job, but the guy always wins in March. I feel like this gets asked every year, and every year he has a team overachieve it's the same story. MSU has talented teams that always play hard. I'm going to admit something, MSU is my second favorite Big Ten basketball team (the football team can get fucked). Maybe it's all my Uper Pennisula friends and bar regulars rubbing off on me, but I think Izzo is one of the best coaches ever and you hardly ever hear him mentioned in that breath.

Hilary: Izzo gonna Izzo in March. That's just the way it is. I don't know what he does in the month, but somehow, his teams always make runs, even when they lack any form of star power. Can they beat Duke? I'm not so sure, but I'm not going to be the person to tell MSU that they can't.

MNWildcat: I could really go for a bagel with some nice schmear right about now. Throw some my way, Sparty-bros!

C4B: I've given up trying to understand the Spartans this year. /TomIzzoDancingOnALadder.gif

Aaron Yorke: Any time you bring a team to the Final Four, it's a good coaching job, but I'm not especially impressed by this one because I think Izzo had the talent to win more games during the regular season. We knew that Travis Trice, Denzel Valentine, and Branden Dawson were a force to be reckoned with way back in November. Michigan State had good enough players to be the second best team in the Big Ten all season long. The Spartans just waited until March to show it.

DJ: So, this is the matchup of who can floor slap the most and who puts on the best flop? Are we using Olympic ratings or the 1-10 scale?

Graham: Two focuses:

The Tum-Tum change to point guard has been miraculous. Anytime you can modify your starting lineup to get a key member tons of minutes and your best scorer some rest…That’s a win.

The running game. Every time the Spartans get a rebound, they’re looking to run. It’s paid off in wide-open threes and transition buckets.

LPW: What is up with bagel throwing ? Couch burning I know. Seriously, it's been a crazy run for the Spartans. I remember watching the Mateen Cleaves era teams back in college and this team doesn't have that one's intimidation factor: this one is just a gritty survivor IMHO.

Andrew: Yes, it is, and the only year that comes close was 2006-07, when MSU had a similar talent drain from the previous season (Ager/Brown/Davis vs Appling/Harris/Payne). The difference is, this year's team didn't have an obvious workhorse like Drew Neitzel to carry it while the rest of the guys figured it out. Yes, Branden Dawson is a phenomenal athlete and former 5-star, but he's still offensively limited. Travis Trice made an unbelievable leap in play this year that I don't think any casual observer could have seen coming. And Denzel Valentine's leadership and ability to do just about anything- well, maybe we did have a pretty good idea that that was coming, but he couldn't shoot from 3 at all his first two years on campus and has now added that to his already-impressive arsenal. Factor in that the best recruit, Javon Bess, had a wasted year due to injuries, and the fact that the other freshmen weren't seen as being able to help much immediately and preseason expectations of a bubble team were perfectly reasonable. To take that group to the Final Four, with no real softies to speak of, does come off as his best coaching job.

5. Duke is an interesting matchup - in theory - for the Spartans. They score a lot of points, and any one of their starters can score. In their final four game against Gonzaga, all of their points were registered by their starting five, with no one over 16 points, and the lowest - Jahlil Okafor, funny enough - scored 9 points. Michigan State's defense will have their hands full, but they excel at defense. Can they slow down Duke enough to keep the game close or will they have to play the game like a track meet and just focus on scoring all of the points?

Mike: Michigan State better slow the game down or they'll get run out of the gym. Duke is far more than Okafor. Tyus Jones is a ridiculous point guard (we aren't related) and Quinn Cook and Matt Jones (also not related) really open the floor up for the Blue Devils. If they're going to slow Duke down they'll need to somehow get Okafor in foul trouble and make sure that shots from the outside are contested. I know Travis Trice has been on as of late but I think that it's going to need to be way more than Trice and Valentine to win this game.

oshkoshbadger5: I sure hope a team that Duke beat by 10 earlier this year is capable of beating them, should Wisconsin play Duke again. The Soartans can turn this into a rock fight, and if this turns into a rock fight MSU wins. Duke doesn't have great post depth, it's basically Okafor and then another Plumlee (HOW MANY PLUMLEES ARE THERE?!?). What Duke does best is slash to the rim, and Michigan State excels at defend penetration. If Trice, Dawson, and Valentine show up offensively, MSU can win a 60-55 game.

Hilary: Oh sure. They can definitely hang with Duke. The Gonzaga game showed that Duke has issues at times with shooting droughts. If the Zags had a more consistent offense, we wouldn't have any ACC teams in the final four right now. But MSU is going to have to play its best basketball. They have to make the most of their opportunities, both shooting and at the free throw line. If they rush too much or make critical misses.....

MNWildcat: Michigan State showed they could play either way this year, and I think fouls might determine a lot of how the game is played. If it's called lightly, Michigan State will try to pummel Duke into submission--it'd be interesting to see Okafor handle the Spartans' physicality. If it's called tightly, #TrackMeet.

C4B: I feel like Michigan State has dealt with plenty of good offensive teams this year, and only Maryland has really torched them. So, you know, don't come out like you did against Maryland, and you'll be fine.

Aaron Yorke: I really like the way Sparty is playing right now, but Duke might be too tough to overcome. This Michigan State squad isn't as tough down low as teams of Izzo's past, and that will cost it against Jahlil Okafor and company.

DJ: If this is more B1G type referee's, MSU wins.  If you get a wide open game? Duke is going to eat MSU alive.  They won't even need Okafor to do it either, but the double teams he will draw will assist in that eating alive.

LPW: I think the way you framed this question kind of answers itself: I think MSU will slow down Duke. Then again, march madness is all about being wrong and we'll probably end up watching an exciting game that the spartans will win at the last second.

Andrew: Strategy-wise, consider me on #teamtrackmeet for this one. Krzyzewski had the nerve to complain about only having 8 guys, 4 of whom are freshmen (you poor, poor soul, a team with a mere 3 lottery picks must be torture for you. Or you could manage your roster better and not whine about your #bluebloodproblems), but his point about depth is relevant: no matter how good they are, they still have to run up and down the court like everyone else. Make them do that a lot, and maybe you get some cheap baskets, a fatigue foul or two. Considering MSU played Duke close at the beginning of the season, when MSU was nowhere near as good as they are now, and I think we should at least keep it competitive. And yes, I know Duke has also improved enormously, relying as they have on freshmen, but those guys were pretty freaking good out of the gate, which to me means they certainly won't have widened the gap which wasn't that vast in the first place.

6. Alright, easy last question. Who wins? Can we get an #AllB1GEverything National Championship game?

Mike: I don't think either Big Ten team is going to win their matchup. I think it's going to be Kentucky and Duke in the National Championship and I've got Kentucky taking the whole thing. Best case scenario: It's 2005. One B1G team makes it only to lose to a ACC powerhouse. I haz a sad.

oshkoshbadger5: Wisconsin beats Kentucky. Yes, this is full Homersota, but there's just something about this team this year. From all the basketball I've watched this year, there are two teams in the country that can make an extended run and just look completely unstoppable almost at will when they need to... Wisconsin and Kentucky. I think Kaminsky and company just want it more. Wisconsin makes that run in the second half. I think Duke beats MSU, but I hope I'm wrong. Duke's just too talented, I don't see MSU scoring enough when they need a key basket. Should I be right about the former and wrong about the latter, I except full "B1G B1G B1G" all over the interwebz

Hilary: I want an all B1G final, if just to watch the talking heads explode on live TV. But, I think that's the least likely of all possible matchups to come out of the final four. My fear is that we'll actually be looking at an All-Evil final, but I'd rather it be Wisconsin-Duke, so that's what I'm going with. All revenge all the time.

MNWildcat: Honestly, I don't care. Let's say Kentucky. I can tell you that I don't want Wisconsin to win. I can tell you I don't really want to see Michigan State win, either, but I can't bring myself to cheer for Kentucky. I am more ambivalent toward Duke, but that's also so passe.

My interest tends to wane after the first week and a half of the NCAA Tournament. I like watching the upsets and the tight finishes. The purer basketball of the Elite Eight and Final Four are nice, but I don't take any pleasure in even watching a blue-blood. I want to watch the mid-majors with a schtick on offense or defense, the upstart #11 seed in the Sweet Sixteen, or the down-to-the-wire opening round games. Maybe that's because I've never cheered for an NCAA team whose victories actually counted for anything (thanks, Clem). Maybe I'm just a bitter curmudgeon (at the ripe old age of 24). Either way, my disinterest is compounded this year by my personal unwillingness to cheer for Wisconsin or Michigan State and my distaste for Duke and Kentucky. We'll see if I watch the Final Four. Maybe I'll need to wash my hair.

C4B: As long as Wisconsin (or anybody, really) beats Kentucky, I'm satisfied. #AllUndefeatedEverything

Aaron Yorke: An All-Big Ten title game would be awesome (especially considering that the tournament championship game between Wisconsin and Michigan State went to overtime), but I'm thinking only the Badgers pull the upset and win on Saturday. The good news? Wisconsin goes on to defeat Duke in the title game on Monday night.

DJ: *deep breath.  Fuck Wisconsin.  That ridiculous shooting performance cost me some serious cash, so I'm not happy about that.  For that purpose only, I'm rooting against you, although if you win it all, hey Maryland beat you anyways this season and just stole your in-state top ten recruit.  Small wins, right?  Fuck Duke.  Nothing more needs to be said.  Fuck Kentucky.  See Duke.  You're fans are becoming just as ridiculous as Duke fans.  Yup, you've approached Duke status, congratulations?  I guess that leaves me with Michigan State, and my 2010 self hates me for it.  Whatever, I guess this is the lesser of four evils final four?  I could go #teammeteor on all these matchups and be cool with it.

Graham: Wisconsin-Duke in the Final Four. Badgers bring home the championship.

LPW: I think, sadly, Kentucky rolls all the way through. My heart says yes but my brain says no to the all big ten game.

Andrew: Sigh...I can't do it. I want to see it really badly, but I think both of our squads are just playing better teams. Krzyzewski is one of the few coaches with Izzo's number and Kentucky is basically the MonStars (if Wisconsin wants to erase my hatred forever, they will write Toon Squad on their shoes or headbands or something, NCAA penalties be damned). The good news here is MSU's been playing with house money for the last two games now, meaning all the pressure is on Duke. Historically, they handle that pressure fine for the most part, but I still like my team to play as though it has nothing to lose. Wisconsin, I'm sorry. A few years from now, I have little doubt you'll be able to say you should have been in the title game, were it not for a now-sanctioned program running an NBA D-League franchise. But I can't see anything but the all-time #teammeteor matchup come Monday. Like, really, I wouldn't be surprised if Christian Laettner climbs out of the stands and suits up. At least Lent will be over, so everyone who gave up eye bleach can attend to themselves properly.

GoAUpher: My answer to everything is simple: Go Big Blue! (valid through the end of the UW game only) I am gladly cheering for Michigan State. There is nothing on this earth that could get me to cheer for Wisconsin. And keep in mind folks, I live in Kentucky. I am surrounded by the blue horde. UK fans make everyone else hate them with their game customized UK cars and stupid flags flying everywhere and their incessant love of Coach Cal and their confusion on why you don't love UK on and on and on. I am willing to risk their ultimate validation in life (thus leading to my own great annoyance) in order to watch Wisconsin fail.

[ed note: GoAUpher actually wrote that pretty early on in a long thread... this just seems like an appropriate way to end this massive piece]