Rico Beard had a funny line on today's "The Drive With Jack Ebling": "The Big Ten title is like a piece of pizza in a room full of polite guys." (Since I didn't have time to write it down, I'm paraphrasing to the best of my recollection). That perfectly describes the way the top teams have been playing down the stretch. As either Jack or Rico said (I can't remember), it's not as if these teams don't want to win the title, they just don't seem to know how.
As an aside, Jack Ebling's new drive-time radio show, on WVFN 730 AM in the Lansing area from 3-6 PM, is quite good. It's much better than The Huge Show, which it replaced this week. (If you're wondering, I was not paid for that endorsement!).
I'm coming to you from my Nook, so I apologize in advance for any typos and if this ends up looking like one giant paragraph.
It's been a crazy week in Big Ten basketball. First, Michigan dials it in during the last few minutes in State College and loses to the hapless Nittany Lions. Unfortunately, this probably led Michigan into desperation mode and led to the Wolverines' defeat of MSU last Sunday.
Wisconsin, a team that seemed to be on a role, stumbles mightily to Purdue IN MADISON! (I just hope this doesn 't put the Badgers in desperation mode tonight against the Spartans).
To top off the week of stunning Big Ten developments, Indiana loses to Ohio State in Bloomington on the Hoosiers' Senior Night in front of a partisan IU crowd poised to celebrate an outright conference title. Aaron Craft had a tremendous game and the Hoosiers looked like they were suffering from a bout of stage fright. I don't think I'd seen IU look so tentative all year.
As someone who had all but handed Victor Oladipo the Big Ten Player of the Year award, I am now having second thoughts. As difficult as it is to give credit to a Michigan player, Trey Burke has carried the Wolverines in their last few games, and made huge plays down the stretch against Michigan State and Purdue to seal victories for Michigan. I echo the thoughts of others when I say the award may come down to the showdown between Indiana and Michigan at Crisler. If Michigan wins and Trey Burke has a good-to-great game, he's the POY. Same deal with Oladipo.
Now to the Spartans. They're in a little rut, though it's not as if the three teams they've lost to are chopped liver. I expect Keith Appling to get out of his funk tonight and have a good game against Wisconsin, and for the Spartans to slough out another ugly low-scoring win over the Badgers. Wisconsin may be desperate, but I think MSU will be both inspired and ornery.