I admit it. Running this feature this year is going to be tough. The Big Ten is getting a ton of respect as the toughest conference in the land. Three teams are currently in the top 10. Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota are legitimate Sweet 16 candidates and probably NCAA locks. The top six teams are going to fight a war among each other and be in the top 25 all season long, and that is before Northwestern pulls off an upset or two to get in the NCAA's. Penn State with a guy like Talor Battle is always going to be a threat for an upset if a team is sleeping, while Indiana will be better.
What that means is that the teams that only have one game against Iowa and Michigan (like Purdue) are at a slight disadvantage because they miss one of the easier games of the year. Purdue only gets Michigan once this year, in Ann Arbor. Illinois also only gets the Wolverines once. Wisconsin and Penn State only get Iowa once, so those four teams have the toughest schedule in the conference.
Still, I want to keep this feature going. My goal is to do it live with Digger when GameDay comes to Mackey for the Michigan State game. I've already been in contact with ESPN for some preliminary talks too, so there is definitely a chance of this happening. As we get closer to the game I'll post the e-mail where we can do an online petition to get me on GameDay for a live Defend That, Digger.
So, without further ado, here is the premier of Defend That, Digger for the 2010-11 edition, featuring the embarrassing losses around the country for all these teams that are supposed to be amazing because of conference affiliation and/or history.
Exhibit A: Indianapolis 79, #20 Tennessee 64 - There is never any excuse for a major conference program to ever lose to a Division II team. It is made worse by the fact that Tennssee was an Elite 8 team a year ago that suffered worse player losses than us. I don't care if they were play man-to-man (Syracuse's excuse last year), zone, box and 1, or the unorthodox quadruple-team the guy with the ball. These major conference teams have way too many advantages over smaller division teams to ever lose. Besides, we easily handled Indianapolis, and we obviously should have given up on our season entirely when Robbie went down. Defend That, Digger!
Exhibit B: Stetson 89, Wake Forest 79 - With all respect to the Hatters, Stetson was 7-22 a year ago while The Demon Deacons won a game in the NCAA's over Texas (who, remember, was a sure National Title contender with elite talent, unlike Purdue, according to Gary Parrish). Yes, Wake lost a first-rounder in Al-Farouq Aminu (whom JaJuan Johnson owned). They also lost their point guard Tony Chennault to injury. This is still an ugly loss for the ACC. Defend That, Digger!
Exhibit C: Kennesaw State 80, Georgia Tech 63 - That makes the Atlantic Sun 2-0 against the mighty ACC. Kennesaw State wasn't even in Division I until the 2005-06 season. I'll give the Yellow Jackets credit for having the balls to go play them on their home floor, but this is still a bad, bad loss for a team that won a game in the NCAA's a year ago. Defend That, Digger!
Exhibit D: Ferris State 63, Indiana 61 - I'm sorry, but there is video evidence that this is the true score of the game. Ferris State got its game-winner off in time and the Hoosiers were bailed out by the officials. Maybe with Cody Zeller Indiana can beat Division II teams in regulation. Defend That, Digger!
Red light or no, the clock on the inset is a live shot of the game clock.
That's all for now, but I am sure there will be more ammo next week.