- I'm still angry about last night's game, and I'm pretty sure most fans are too. Welsh-Ryan Ramblings is not happy, and like me is considering jumping off the NCAA bandwagon. I've had only one foot tentatively on the bandwagon for much of the season, and now I'm down to a couple of toes. Can we please stop with this idea that a 9-9 league record will be enough to get in? Seriously, go here and look at what NU's RPI will be if they finish 21-10 (9-9). If you think the 'Cats are getting anywhere near the NCAA tournament with an RPI of 84.5, you're delusional. Not to mention, let's take a look at how many quality wins NU will have at 9-9 as compared to bad losses. The 'Cats still have 8 games left that an NCAA tournament team should win (home vs Illinois, Michigan, Penn State, Iowa and Indiana, and road games at Iowa, Penn State and Indiana). Now let's make the very bold assumption that NU wins all 8 of these games and finishes 9-9. That leaves them with two wins you could call quality wins (Illinois, Notre Dame) and those are both bubble teams. You'd have to be the biggest Northwestern homer on the planet to think that's an NCAA worthy resume. Now NU also has 6 games remaining in which they will be substantial underdogs (home vs Purdue and Minnesota, and at Ohio State, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin). So let's say they win 1 or even 2 of these games and finish 9-9. That will mean they lost 1 or 2 games in the aforementioned bad loss category. So now you have more quality wins, but also a bad loss or two, and you still have a crappy RPI. It's not happening at 9-9, sorry guys. Last year it might have been good enough, but this is not last year, the Big Ten is not nearly as deep this season.
- Fire Bill Carmody is also angry, and not surprisingly puts 100% of the blame on the coach. Carmody has to get some of the blame, but I'm not willing to go anywhere near that far. I am willing to say that if the 'Cats had Bo Ryan, I'd really like their chances to make the NCAAs. That guy can flat out coach.
- Last night Michigan State held off Minnesota down the stretch to take control of the Big Ten title race. The Spartans are now tied with Illinois, but the Illini have looked suspect at times and have beaten up on the dregs of the league. With Purdue's recent struggles, Ohio State's early losses without Evan Turner, and the injury to Jon Leuer, Michigan State now looks like a heavy favorite to win the regular season.
Quick Pick for tonight
Big Ten games: 8-4-1
Northwestern games: 7-1 (never picking against Bo Ryan may become a new picking rule)
Indiana at Michigan (-14), 9 PM, ESPN
This line is about 5 points too high, especially given that Indiana beat Michigan less than 2 weeks ago. I know Indiana really struggles away from home, but Michigan has done nothing to show me they can blow out a fellow Big Ten team. Plus, Indiana's win on a neutral court over Pittsburgh is looking better by the day as the Panthers are now leading the Big East.
I'll be back tomorrow to break down the Purdue game.