Luke Winn notes that Drew Neitzel made the 30-player Naismith Award midseason watch list, but not the Wooden Award watch list–while the opposite is true for Raymar Morgan.
Brent Yarina of BTN hands out his midseason Big Ten awards. His all-conference team: Butler, Gordon, Morgan, White, Butch. Hard to argue with that list.
Happy Valley Hoops has updated conference-only team tempo-free stats up. Look at the offensive rebounding % graph for a cup of good cheer. You may not want to linger long after that.
In case you missed it, Iowa beat Ohio State on Saturday. Prior to the events of that evening in Central Pennsylvania, I was going to write something like this: “Iowa now stands at 4-6 in the conference. If you ignore the scoreline, suddenly MSU’s loss in Iowa City doesn’t look quite as bad.”
Hoopraker looks at the legacy of the now-retired Bobby Knight, crediting him (along with Gene Keady) for the well-coached, patient nature of Big Ten basketball today. I would argue with none of Hoopraker’s basketball points. I would, however, comment on Knight’s non-basketball legacy (by which I mean the stuff unrelated to the X’s and O’s): There are only a few things in life worth putting up with tyrannical/hypocritical egomaniacs for, and winning college basketball games is not one of them. I’ll leave it at that.
On the X’s and O’s piece of Knight’s legacy, Ken Pomeroy asserts that the decline in his coaching record over the last two decades was tied to his unwillingness to adapt to the 3-pointer.
Michael Rosenberg (AKA the Official Detroit Sports Columnist who Occasionally Provides Actual Unique and Rational Insights Regarding Michigan Sports Teams of the Spartans Weblog) discusses the disappointment of MSU’s continuing Big Ten title drought.
A few times, as has often been discussed, MSU played a significantly tougher schedule than the team that won the championship. Tom Izzo knew it, he said it, but what could he do about it? You can’t hang a banner that says “SECOND PLACE — BUT HEY, WE PLAYED A TOUGHER SCHEDULE!”
The lack of a championship has eaten at Izzo. I have come to believe that Izzo would rather win a Big Ten regular-season title than make the Final Four. The Final Four run in 2005 was wonderful, of course, but championships are more solid.
The 2005 Final Four run was indeed wonderful, partially because it proved Izzo could get to the final weekend of the season with an entirely different group of players than the 1999-2001 teams. But this season, if given the choice, I definitely would have preferred a Big Ten championship to a Final Four run. Alas, it does not appear to be in the cards.
Still, it’s important to think back to the reality of Spartan basketball 15 years ago. Did anyone think we’d ever be talking about what it would take to reach a FIFTH Final Four in less than a decade?
That makes me feel better . . . but only a little bit better.