I seem to have caused quite a stir with last week's Defend That, Digger. I caused so much of a stir that I noticed a Boiled Sports tweet from the weekend saying that he was even giving the Big Ten some love Saturday. I must admit that this development shocks me a little bit. I think I might want to move my family down to the basement for a few days because obviously some awful, Biblical things are about to happen.
You know I couldn't lay off from doing another Defend That, Digger after the Big East and the other marquee teams practically handed us a ton of ammunition this weekend. As it turns out, I missed one of the key pieces of evidence in this season-long Big Ten/Big East battle: Here are the seven games this season between Big Ten and Big East teams, qualifying as this week's Exhibit A:
Wisconsin 72, Marquette 63
Purdue 77, West Virginia (undefeated at the time) 62
Indiana 74, Pittsburgh 64
Northwestern 72, Notre Dame 58
Michigan 68, Connecticut 63
Marquette 79, Michigan 65
West Virginia 71, Ohio State 65
Hmmmmm, that's a 5-2 conference record against the Big East, and all five teams are in the discussion for an NCAA berth. You can't say the same about Indiana and Michigan. Very interesting. This is also against a conference that some have said wouldn't have a current Big Ten team in the top 3/4's of the league. I will now accept the trophy for the Big Ten/Big East Challenge on behalf of Jim Delaney. I will place it next to the one we finally won over the ACC. Big 12, you're next.
Exhibit B: Rutgers 71, Georgetown 68
Here is what some lost Georgetown fan posted yesterday morning on GBI's football board. What he was doing posting it there instead of on the basketball board I will never know:
I'm sure a Purdue degree, as well as degrees from other fine public universities are something to be very proud of. But you're no Georgetown, easily one of the most envied prestigious universities in the country, the world, that simply put, only a paucity of applicants aspiring to be a member of the exclusive club known as Georgeotwn University, are admitted for admissions. The vast majority of them end up receiving a thin envelope. It is what it is, Georgetown is in the same elite company as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Duke, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Berkeley, you get the picture. You see, a Georgetown degree opens many doors. Certainly it is more revered in Washington, D.C. than, say, a Purdue degree. Sure, you guys have an excellent engineering program but that's about it. Georgetown, OTOH, has a plethora of fields that are world class.
Anyway, we hope to see you in COURT. Suffice it to say, the Hoyas would have no problem in beating a Big Ten school like Purdue.
Next time try beating Rutgers, who is now a solid 3-9 in conference play. Defend That, Digger!
Exhibit C: Louisville 66, Syracuse 60
In order to not sound like an ass, no further comment will be given. I will only mention the score because it can't be totally ignored after last week, and I know Purdue has an equally bad loss at Northwestern. Neither loss is an awful loss as Louisville and Northwestern are in the Bubble discussion. At least I didn't go after them like J Money did.
Exhibit D: The ACC
Stepping over to the ACC for a moment, it amazes me that this once great conference is having such a bad year behind Duke. Virginia Tech lost to Temple, North Carolina, Miami, and Florida State. Not awful losses. But the third best ACC team barely got past Penn State and Iowa. Their best non-conference win is Georgia. They do play at Duke on Saturday. A win their would easily be this team's best and actually help Purdue since it would help second place Wake Forest catch the Blue Devils. This is more of an indictment of the ACC as a whole as opposed to the Hokies, who appear to be a solid club playing very well right now. Coming into the season they were certainly not projected as the #3 team in the ACC, so the conference as a whole stumbled badly.
Exhibit E: The Pac-10
I don't want to mention this to kick the Pac-10 while they are down, but I want to mention it because Digger said there was no chance we would beat Washington last year in the NCAA's. The Pac-10 may end up being a one-bid league this year, and that is just sad.
Team we should fear this week: Ohio State
In a new segment of this feature, I want to start mentioning a team that deserves more national attention, but may not be getting it. I am officially terrified of playing the Buckeyes at the moment. They completely destroyed Illinois yesterday and have lost once (at West Virginia) in their last 10 games. They are the only team in the conference as hot as Purdue at the moment, and they know they can beat us. If they win both games this week at home against Purdue and at Michigan State they will be the Big Ten champion.
Where the Big Ten embarrassed itself this week:
To prove I can take it just as well as I can give it out, I offer the following as sacrifices to the national media as to why the Big Ten isn't quite as good as even I think. Last year we had seven NCAA teams with two more (Penn State and Northwestern) that were close. This week showed there is clear separation with only five with a great chance of going and six that are NIT at best. Minnesota is done after losing to Michigan and Northwestern. Northwestern is barely alive after beating Minnesota, but was crippled by losing at Iowa.
The Wildcats simply must win their remaining games and erase the Iowa loss by winning at Wisconsin this Saturday. Even then, it may take two wins in Indianapolis to get in. Minnesota will need an upset of Wisconsin, Purdue, or at Illinois just to assure a .500 record in conference play now. Then there is Michigan. The Wolverines are sitting right at .500, but if there is one team I think that is capable of getting hot and winning four games in four days in Indy it is Michigan. They've beaten Ohio State (sans Evan Turner), played Michigan State and Wisconsin tough, and still must host Illinois. With the right seeding they could be dangerous.
At least we now know the five bye teams for the Big Ten Tourney will be Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Illinois. If you're fans of those schools and you have full session tickets you can officially sell the Thursday games.
BREAKING NEWS: Hammer & Rails has been officially approved to receive media credentials for this year's Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis.
I don't think I am alone in saying HOLY SHIT!!!!!