We’ve been busy this week on OTE! (Not quite sure why, but I hope you’ve been entertained.) Anyways, we figured we’d freshen up the basketball open thread for tonight’s games and the first four-game set of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament. Here’s what you missed:
And, from our midweek basketball open thread, today’s previews:
 Northwestern Wildcats vs.  Michigan State Spartans
11am | BTN
 Ohio State Buckeyes vs.  wisconsin badgers
1:30ish | BTN
The badgers held off a fourth-quarter push from 12-seeded Penn State, marking the first 13-over-12 victory in the history of the Big Ten women’s tournament.
 Minnesota Golden Gophers vs.  Indiana Hoosiers
5:30pm | BTN
The Gophers are on the outside looking in, while Indiana is trying to hold onto its place in the NCAA Tournament. An upset here might, however, have the unfortunate consequence of knocking out IU and not vaulting the Gophers into the Big Dance.
 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs.  Purdue Boilermakers
8ish | BTN
Despite some asinine claim in the last thread giving Purdue just a 40% shot to beat last-seeded Illinois, the Boilermakers saw off the Illini. Neither club is in the running for the NCAA Tournament, though, so this is just positioning to give a run at Rutgers.
Iowa Hawkeyes at #21 wisconsin badgers
6pm | ESPN | wisc -7.5 | O/U 140.5
Beezer07: Wisconsin losing at home to free-falling, Fran-less Iowa would be just another dumb thing to happen during this exceptionally dumb season. Therefore it’ll happen.
Stewmonkey13: Fuck wisconsin.
Creighton M: I got nothing. We’re going to lose because Iowa’s end of the season breakdowns are routine at this point. Fuck wisconsin.
The War on US-151!
This poll is closed
WELL ACTUALLY [/composes 250-word response on how US-151 comes close to, but does not run into, Iowa City]
Indiana Hoosiers at Illinois Fighting Illini
7pm | FS1 | Illinois -2.5 | O/U 142.5
Thumpasaurus: So it seems like if you’re a bad big ten team you have a little run with surprising wins. In any case it would be pretty appropriate for this IU season if they had their hopes up only to be blown out of the water by a damn river otter.
Candystripes: Yeah, that pretty much explains our year. Therefore, Illinois is going to win this one going away, and Indiana’s NCAA hopes will be shattered, again, no for realsies this time.
This poll is closed
But you don’t care about that, you care about...
LOW-MAJOR CONFERENCE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENTS
(Seriously. That’s what we’re doing again. Skip to the bottom for Big Ten basketball open threading.)
Atlantic Sun Tournament (Semifinals):
 North Florida at  Liberty (6pm, ESPN3)
 NJIT at  Lipscomb (7pm, ESPN3)
Big South Championship (Quarterfinals):
 Presbyterian vs.  Radford Highlanders (11am, ESPN3)
 Charleston Southern vs.  Winthrop Eagles (1pm, ESPN3)
 Hampton vs.  Campbell Fighting Camels (5pm, ESPN3)
 High Point Panthers vs.  Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs (7pm, ESPN3)
MAAC Championship (Quarterfinals):
 Saint Peter’s Peacocks vs.  Marist Red Foxes (4pm, ESPN3)
 Fairfield Stags vs.  Manhattan Jaspers (6pm, ESPN3)
 Niagara Purple Eagles vs.  Monmouth Hawks (8pm, ESPN3)
Patriot League Tournament (Quarterfinals):
 Navy Midshipmen at  American Eagles (6pm, PLN)
 Holy Cross Crusaders at  Bucknell Bison (6pm, PLN)
 Boston University Terriers at  Colgate Raiders (6pm, PLN)
 Army Black Knights at  Lehigh Mountain Hawks (6pm, PLN)
We are just here waiting to see how far Bill Carmody makes it in what just might be his swan song. Go Crusaders, beat Bucknell.
ARCH MADNESS! Missouri Valley Tournament (1st Round):
 Valparaiso Crusaders vs.  Indiana State Sycamores (6:05pm, ESPN3]
 Evansville Purple Aces vs.  Illinois State Redbirds (8:35pm, ESPN3]
Ohio Valley Conference Tournament (Quarterfinals):
Morehead State/SIU-E vs.  Austin Peay Governors (6:30pm, ESPN3 or ESPN+)
EIU/UT-M vs.  Jacksonville State Gamecocks (8:30pm, ESPN3 or ESPN+)
VEGAS MADNESS! West Coast Conference Tournament (1st Round):
 Pacific Tigers vs.  Pepperdine Waves (8pm, TheW.tv)
 Portland Pilots—an impressive 0-16!—vs.  San Diego Toreros (10pm, TheW.tv)
Never forget how shitty the West Coast bracket is:
And, for an explainer, drstre (from the last article’s comments):
I did a little bit of hunting on why the tourney schedule changed this year and it all boils down to money. Gonzaga is the main breadwinner for NCAA $ distributions. Something like 90% of NCAA funds distributed to schools come from the men’s basketball tournament (football bowl games are independently operated, so the NCAAsees none of that revenue apparently). Every appearance in a NCAA tourney game is worth something like $1.6M (except for an appearance in the title game, oddly enough, which accrues no further money for the conference) spread out over six years. The conferences then share that money via conference specific revenue sharing agreements. In the WCC, that money is actually kept by the conference for operating expenses (consequently they don’t have conference dues for schools), and any money not needed for operating expenses is doled out to schools to help pay for sports expenses. They don’t have equal revenue sharing in that regard, but it’s still giving back far less to Gonzaga than Gonzaga brings in, either from a raw dollars standpoint or a “percentage of revenue from the NCAA” standpoint. Over the last decade, Gonzaga is directly responsible for close to $30M of NCAA distributions to the WCC.
At any rate, Gonzaga thought they were getting a raw deal, and made it known they were looking to jump to the MWC, which was offering a slightly better revenue distribution agreement to entice Gonzaga. In the end, the WCC bent over backwards to ensure that Gonzaga would stay and continue to be the cash cow for the conference. That came in a number of ways, but two big ones. First, more friendly revenue distribution (as well as about $1M/year in “back shares” to Gonzaga for previous tourney accomplishments). Second, they wanted the deck stacked in their favor for the conference tourney. The bean counters were probably all too eager to give the second one, as it decreases the risk that the Zags seeding will take a hit in the conference tourney, which increases their chance of going deeper in the tourney, which increases their ability to bring in money to the conference. They also agreed to decrease the number of conference games to limit the effect of the conference acting like an anchor on Gonzaga’s SOS.
Basically, the other schools all agreed to take a little less money in order to not have to take a LOT less money if Gonzaga left, plus give them an easy road to a conference championship and as high a seed as possible in the tourney. And Gonzaga gets to keep being the big fish in a putrid little pond and burnish their brand as a top notch basketball school despite rarely having to actually play anyone.
Clarification: Gonzaga brought in $30M that wouldn’t have otherwise been brought in, meaning I’m not counting first round games at all. They were the autobid for most of the last decade, meaning if they weren’t in the conference then someone else would have gone in their place anyway.
Also, Gonzaga brought in 60% of NCAA distributions over the last 20 years, and the number is higher in recent years. So the conference would face losing maybe 75% of NCAA dollars if GU left. [Posted by drstre on Mar 5, 2019 | 8:08 PM]
Here’s your basketball open thread for Thursday. Go nuts.