After last night's debacle, the self esteem of Minnesota fans is heading rapidly downhill. The Gophers held an 8 point lead with just over 4 minutes to go (and with the way Michigan State was playing offense, it felt like a 15 point lead), but they managed just one point the rest of the way, fell by 5 points, and fell into a tie with Northwestern for 8th place in the Big Ten. At 6-9 in the conference, they're going to need a miraculous run the rest of the way to sneak into the tournament.
Meanwhile, Michigan State moved to 8-7 with the win, and they're looking pretty good for the NCAAs barring a total collapse. Still, I can't like their chances of another run in March; no matter how good a coach Tom Izzo is, a team running out Mike Kebler for major minutes just can't do anything in the tournament. If this Spartan team gets past the second round, it will become clear that Izzo has some sort of deal with the devil.
Also in the Big Ten last night, Illinois lost at Ohio State, which everyone expected. The unexpected part of that game came when Bruce Weber decided to start little-used freshman Crandall Head at point guard over Demetri McCamey. Most thought it was just another episode of the long-running McCamey-Weber feud, but it turned out that McCamey actually asked to come off the bench. As to how this would help the team, your guess is as good as mine. Luckily for Illinois, the bubble is super soft; home wins over Indiana and Iowa should be enough to get them in, and even the often dysfunctional Illini should be able to manage that.
Tonight's Big Ten Super Wednesday presented by Buffalo Wild Wings games after the jump:
No gambling picks from me today, as I don't think I've won a bet in any form of gambling in weeks. Instead, we can hearken back to last year's Wisconsin-Michigan game in Ann Arbor, when the books set one of the worst spreads of all time. Ahh, those were the days.
As for tonight's tilt, I really think Michigan has to win this game. The Wolverines just don't have any great wins; their current best win is either at Michigan State or at home against Harvard, neither of which are that impressive, and they have a bad loss at Indiana (if you go by RPI anyways). Like I said before, the bubble is really weak, so maybe I'm overreacting, but if Michigan doesn't get this one, their margin for error shrinks to almost zero.
Watching the Purdue-Indiana rivalry from afar is very interesting, as it seems as though the rivalry is a lot more important to those on the Purdue side. I've been perusing the various Purdue blogs out there, and most of them have devoted a large percent of their time this season to mocking Indiana. Certainly, it's always fun to kick your arch rivals when they're down (at least I assume, as Northwestern doesn't really have any rivals), but many Purdue fans are setting themselves up for some incredible mocking should the Hoosiers somehow pull the upset tonight. Breaking out the it's-not-a-real-rivalry card is just lame trolling, and Crimson Quarry rightly calls them out for it. So as a fan of schadenfreude, I will rooting hard for an IU upset tonight. No offense to the likable Purdue bloggers out there (TMill), but you've gotta be blind not to see the potential comedy here.