Before the pandemic took over our lives and “watercooler talk” became a thing of the past, one of my friends from Northwestern—who, you’ll never believe this, works as a consultant now—would text us on Fridays before football games: “This guy I’ll be talking to tonight went to Auburn. Are they good? What should I talk about?”
We’d give him all the requisite tradition talks—greet “I’m an Auburn grad” with “War Damn Eagle”, if someone went to Georgia Tech, say “Oh, we’ve got us a Ramblin’ Wreck fan!”, sniff the hindquarters of a Southern Illinois grad as a sign of friendliness, etc.
(As a side note, this made me a friend for life at a bachelor party last summer when a guy from Long Island, at my questioning, said “I’m a Stony Brook grad,” only for me to exclaim, “A SEAWOLF?! FUCKIN’ STEVE PIKIELL, MAN!”)
What follows is your watercooler guide to what happened this week in Big Ten basketball.
Big Ten Recaps
Tuesday, February 2
#8 Iowa Hawkeyes 84, Michigan State Spartans 78
“So that Luka Garza guy, huh? Player of the year? Looks like no February slump for Iowa this year—Fran’s finally figured it out!”
#19 Wisconsin Badgers 72, Penn State Nittany Lions 56
“You know, that Wisconsin team just plays the game the right way, y’know? I love a gym rat like that Brad Davison kid.”
[Remember, you’re a consultant. Of course you’re talking to a white bro.]
Maryland Terrapins 61, #24 Purdue Boilermakers 60
“Look at Maryland, beating ranked teams AT HOME as well as on the road! That Trevion Williams guy for Purdue, though...do they grow giants on trees?”
#12 Illinois Fighting Illini 75, Indiana Hoosiers 71
“That was the ugliest overtime I’ve ever seen.”
Wednesday, February 3
[postponed due to COVID]
“Man, all these coronabros in Michigan ruining it for the rest of us, am I right? We’re a football school at Northwestern anyway, so I’m not worried about it.”
Thursday, February 4
#7 Ohio State Buckeyes 89, #8 Iowa 85
“Oh man, looks like your boy Fran is bound for another February slump, am I right?”
Rutgers Scarlet Knights 76, Minnesota Golden Gophers 72
If you work east of the Alleghenies: “Man, I’ve been telling you for years that with a little time, Rutgers would be up to speed in the Big Ten. How about that Steve Pikiell and his defense?”
If you work west of the Alleghenies: “Boy, the Gophers are bad away from the Barn. Rutgers shouldn’t even be in the Big Ten, though. You seen how bad their football team is?”
Thus concludes the recap. Maybe your team’s on the right road, but the wrong direction; perhaps you’re waiting for Version 2.0.
We’ll circle back to this and peel the onion on the weekend to come later today.
I said we would, and there are the deliverables. Now, I’ll be on the beach.
Who had the best week?
This poll is closed
Ohio State: BIG ranked road win
Maryland: Playing their way off the bubble and into the Dance
Rutgers: Maybe a real Big Ten team!
Michigan: Still in first!
Northwestern: Didn’t lose!
You, MNW, for the boiling the ocean here
Who had the worst week?
This poll is closed
Iowa: Here comes another February swoon...
Purdue: Chance for a good road win, but...
Indiana: For whatever the hell that was
Minnesota: Good God.
You, MNW. Just...for all of this.