Sunday, March 10, 2013

Second place isn't all that bad, and schadenfreude tastes especially sweet today

I'm watching the Big Ten Network's replay of the Michigan State/Northwestern basketball game.

Remember early in the conference season when I said Michigan was the team to beat in the Big Ten? Well, I was wrong. I am happy now to be able to admit it.

Congratulations to the Indiana Hoosiers, who earned the outright Big Ten title with a come-from-behind victory over Michigan.

Even though a Michigan win would have given MSU an opportunity to earn a share of the Big Ten title, I couldn't bring myself to wish anything but ill will for the Wolverines. It was an interesting experiment to watch that UofM/IU game and see what my reaction would be. Could I pull of Michigan? The answer was a resounding NO. I am physically and emotionally revolted by the sight of the block "M", the sound of that irritating "Hail to the Victors", and those hideous yellow highlighter-hued uniforms. I don't want Michigan's help, and I don't want them to have any momentum or good feeling heading into the Big Ten tournament or NCAA tournament, and I sure as heck don't want to share a conference title with Michigan. In short, screw the Blue.

Rarely has schadenfreude tasted as sweet than the way Michigan seized defeat from the jaws of victory against Indiana. The best part of Michigan's loss was that, coupled with MSU's win over Northwestern, the Spartans finish above Michigan in the final conference standings and have a better Big Ten tournament seeding that they would have had if Michigan had beaten IU.

I thought that the race for Big Ten Player of the Year might come down to the UofM/IU game. In the battle between Burke and Oladipo, I suppose Oladipo was slightly better than Burke, based mainly on the fact that Indiana won the game, but really it was a draw. The real star in this game was Cody Zeller, who scored 25 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. (Oladipo had 14 points and 13 boards).


A few posts ago, I dissed Northwestern and all but guaranteed a 15-20 point win for MSU. I should have known better, given the way the last few meetings between MSU and Northwestern have gone. With Indiana already beating Michigan, and the MSU players surely knowing about the result, there was no longer a share of the conference title to play for. The game was a slog, with Northwestern playing like it was the NCAA championship game and the Spartans looking fairly uninspired and sloppy. As often happens at Breslin, though, MSU finally surged ahead in the last 4 minutes or so to pull out a win.

It's getting late, I'm tired, and I really need to go to bed. But I will be back to write about Big Ten basketball later.

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