When I say "worst tournament ever," of course, I'm not talking about BHGP Bracket Madness, which is hard charging like an unstoppable demon train as we speak. I mean the Big Ten Tourney, which is currently halfway through the second day of this rotten iteration.
Yesterday, we were treated to three completely awful exhibitions of basketball. The day's first travesty was Michigan against Iowa, two teams that combined to accomplish precisely dick this year. The Wolverines, a team with a season-long pattern of poor rebounding and defense, destroyed the Hawks on the boards in the first half and forced 8 turnovers to Iowa's 3 assists. The two teams slogged their way to a 34-25 halftime score.
And that was the good half.
The second half set basketball as we know it back several decades. Michigan went over 10 minutes without scoring a single point. Iowa countered by mustering only seven points, all from the foul line, during the time span. Between the 15:50 and 4:07 marks, neither team scored a single basket.
Iowa ended up with four assists to 14 turnovers, which is enough to get you shot in Russia. Remember the Iraq war, when Baghdad Bob claimed that American soldiers were committing suicide by the hundreds? That was actually happening inside Conseco Fieldhouse. Then Fox News sent Geraldo to the scene, and this is what he found:
LET THEM GO!
I don't know what he was talking about in the second half of that clip when he talks about "New Orleans" and "Katrina" because that all definitely happened yesterday in Indianapolis. Final was 55-47, Michigan.
So that was just the first game. In game 2, Illinois and Penn State scorched the twines and both teams scored literally over 60 points--each! Illinois shot 21-50, and while a 42% shooting percentage looks bad, it just so happens to be the best team shooting performance of the entire tournament thus far. The Illini won in the closing seconds, 64-63, and Indianapolis was declared a federal disaster area.
The "nightcap" featured Minnesota and Northwestern. Northwestern is the worst BXI team in decades. There's no other way to put it. They are where decent basketball goes to die. They were facing the worst 18-12 team in BXI history, Minnesota. The Gophers have the distinction of being a power conference team with a winning percentage of .600 or better, and still not being in the Top 100 of the RPI. Remember when I said they've beaten nobody? No? Well, they've beaten nobody. Here's an exhaustive list of the teams with winning records that Minnesota has beaten this season:
- Ohio State
- North Dakota State
That's all. No, seriously, that's every one of them. And by the way, not only is NDSU ineligible for postseason play on account of being a provisional Division 1 member, but they're the lowest-ranked team with a winning record in the RPI--#195.
So when the Gophers took the court against Northwestern, the 10,000 fans who were forced to attend the game, presumably to fill obligations of community service as terms of their probation, were filled with dread, and for good reason. Minnesota spent the entire first half blindfolded and ballgagged as Northwestern staked a 34-21 lead at the break. Northwestern. Naturally, the Wildcats were unwilling to be usurped from their throne of thrown games, so they tanked it in the second half and allowed the Gophers to climb back and "win," 55-52. Honestly, there are no winners in play here.
Ever seen a guy get blocked by the rim before? Now you have!
After those three abominations of sport, the conference trudged ahead, eagerly anticipating FOUR! Not just three, but four! games on tap for today. The first was Michigan, victors valiant over a Hawkeye team that might not beat its female counterpart in a regulation game, against mighty Wisconsin. The Badgers have an uncommon ability to turn every single ballgame they play into a nasty, ugly, unwatchable affair. Think if Hillary and Michelle Malkin were running against each other. Or Karl Rove and Bruce Bowen. That's what Wisconsin does. Their contest against Michigan, then, was absolutely no surprise in this regard--the Wolverines were held to 10-50 shooting on the day, including just 4-26 from inside the arc. Naturally, with such ferocious defense, there's also the concurrent tradition of the refs swallowing their whistles--nobody on Wisconsin even picked up four fouls, to say nothing of fouling out. All mere coincidence, I'm sure.
The second game of the day, an afternoon match between Ohio State and Michigan State, is the first of the five played thus far that hasn't involved a team with a losing record. Neato Cheeto Ranch Dorito, a game with winners! But again, there are no winners here. While the gameplay was, for once, tolerable, it wasn't very interesting. Ohio State led at exactly one point in the game, 32-30 on the first basket of the second half, then immediately allowed Michigan State to take the lead for good. Both teams were characteristically cold from the field--is there a crossbreeze at Conseco or something? Sparty's jumper was atrocious today, as Raymar Morgan and Kalin Lewis combined to shoot 7-27 from the field. Luckily, Drew Neitzel bailed MSU out with 28, including six threes; he was the only Spartan with double digits on the day. 67-60, in the highest scoring game of the first half of the tournament, is your merciful final.
Later tonight, we have 14-18 Illinois facing Purdue, then Minnesota against Indiana to finish the night off. Are we liveblogging them? Fuck no we're not. We can't do it to ourselves, much less to you, dear readers. Don't watch them. Do anything else. Go outside. Masturbate to old pornography with the untamed pubic hair. Read a book. Watch anime on YouTube, especially if you also have weed. Do anything but watch the BXI Tourney. We're begging you.