When I woke up this morning, I fully intended to write this post apologizing to the Big Ten for underestimating them. I have been saying for awhile that the Big Ten was over-rated by many coming into this NCAA Tournament. To the conference's credit, they have only lost one game thus far and have four teams in the Sweet 16, with another three games yet to be played.
Seven teams in the Sweet 16 is impressive for any conference, but I'm not ready to say that I was wrong just yet. When you look at their games, Michigan had a tough test against a relatively unknown (to most anyway) South Dakota State team, lead by their phenomenal shooter Nate Wolters. Minnesota came up against a UCLA team who had lost their best player to a broken foot on the final play of their conference semifinal. Indiana was a number one seed, so they were all but guaranteed to advance. Illinois played a tough game against a good Colorado team, so I will give them some credit there. I was not expecting that win, as Colorado had a better RPI and conference record, and I was wrong there. Ohio State was a second seed, which should be an automatic though it hasn't been in recent years. That being said, I don't think they deserve much credit for beating Iona. Wisconsin DID lose their match against an Ole Miss team that was one of the last teams to make it into the tournament. Michigan State is a tough team led by an all-time great coach in Tom Izzo, and no one should be surprised any time they make a run in the NCAA tournament.
Indiana and Ohio State won their games today to advance to the Sweet 16, but both of them should have lost. To their credit, they didn't, but both of them should have. In the case of Indiana, it took a gutty performance from their star player Victor Oladipo in the final minutes of the game to overcome a Temple team who just looked better than them today. Indiana had no answer for Khalif Wyatt, who went for 31 points for the second consecutive game. In the case of Ohio State, I did not see the game myself, but from everything I've heard and read, they had help from the refs. There were many moving screens by the Buckeyes that were not called (no surprise, Iowa State never gets the benefit of the doubt in these situations), and there was a blown call down at the end. All this, and Ohio State still needed a three pointer with 0.02 seconds left to grab victory from the jaws of defeat.
We'll have to see what the outcomes of the Kansas/UNC, Minnesota/Florida, and Illinois/Miami games are, and I may change my stance, especially if Illinois is able to pull off the upset over Miami. But so far, statistically speaking I was wrong, but if you actually look at the games, I really don't think so.
Welcome! My name is Chris Spooner. I am an overly-passionate Dolphins fan who has many opinions about his team, and the sports landscape as a whole. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy voicing them.