You Can't Pick Just One. The Big Ten all-conference basketball teams were released this weekend. Unsurprisingly, Evan Turner was named Player of the Year (though the coaches were not unanimous in this selection) and the coaches and media split up the Coach of the Year award between Matt Painter and Thad Matta. Both sets of voters named Demitri McCamey (ILL), Kalin Lucas (MSU), Evan Turner (OSU), Robbie Hummel (PUR), and E'Twaun Moore as first teamers.
Iowa was the only team shut out of the media's all-conference selections; even Verdell Jones from Indiana garnered an honorable mention. But the coaches played by the old Major League Baseball All-Star rule and made sure every team was represented, giving honorable mention to both Matt Gatens and Aaron Fuller at the expense of Northwestern's Drew Crawford and Illinois' Mike Davis. A quick glance at the statistics shows the Crawford snub makes sense; while he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Crawford's statistics don't match up with Fuller and Gatens. Davis, however, has better numbers across the board than Fuller and matches up favorably with Gatens.
Picture Me Bowlin'. The Big Ten bowl Etch-a-Sketch was already shaken earlier this year, as the conference ended its longtime affiliation with the Alamo Bowl to add another New Years' Day game in Florida, the Gator Bowl. This bowl joins the Outback and Capital One among the Big Ten pre-Rose Bowl block on the first of the year. The impact of this has been discussed previously.
What has not been examined is the television impact; ESPN/ABC have the rights to show all three games, and we recently learned what that would mean for our January 1 football watching. The answer? Unmitigated remote control chaos:
As a result of the agreements, ESPN will receive exclusive rights to televise the Gator Bowl and Outback Bowl through 2014 and the Capital One Bowl through 2018 annually on Jan. 1. ESPN360.com and ESPN Mobile TV can simulcast ESPN and ESPN2 telecasts each year.
This year, the Capital One Bowl will kick off an ESPN tripleheader on Saturday, Jan. 1, at 1 p.m. ET and will be followed by the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Citi and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, both BCS Bowls. It will mark the first year ESPN will televise all five of the BCS bowls – also including the Orange Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl and Tostitos BCS National Championship – exclusively. Also on Jan. 1, the Outback Bowl will be televised at 1 p.m. on ABC (the game was previously played at 11 a.m. on ESPN) and the Gator Bowl at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
To recap: Gone are the days of a breakfast platter and Bloody Mary accompanying the Outback Bowl's absurdly early kickoff. Now, all three New Years' Day non-Rose Bowl Big Ten games are kicking off within a half-hour of each other. Thumb workouts should begin in mid-December in preparation for the channel-flipping marathon that January 1 is about to become.
We're Talking (Women's) Basketball. Briefly mentioned in Sunday's open threads was the Iowa women's basketball team's 66-64 loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten basketball tournament championship game. OSU's Jantel Lavender -- three-time Big Ten Player of the Year, and still just a junior -- scored 35 points, including two free-throws with 1.9 seconds remaining to bring Ohio State back from a 16-point second half deficit.
The story of the game was Lavender, who was admittedly unstoppable. The story should have been the officiating. OSU guard Samantha Prahalis committed an obvious reach-in during the first half, and was whistled for the call. What followed was a profanity-laced temper tantrum that would have any other player in the country at any other level of basketball called for a technical and possibly ejected. This wasn't a stray curse word; this was 30 seconds of sustained screaming in the face of two separate officials. The refs did absolutely nothing in response. The non-call proved OSU's pure intimidation of the officials; the string of ridiculous calls that put Iowa guard Kachine Alexander in foul trouble and effectively terminated Iowa's offensive penetration, setting the stage for Ohio State's comeback, only served to confirm it. I'm not one to complain about the officiating, but the conference owes this team an apology for one of the most pathetic displays of refereeing in the history of organized basketball.
- Todd Lickliter says that, despite the fact his squad has dropped its last two games by a total of 62 points, the basketball team hasn't quit yet. In other news, Lickliter is taking his dry, sardonic, Steven Wright-esque comedy act on the road this offseason. He'll be at Ha-Ha's in Cleveland on the 26th. Two drink minimum.
- Iowa baseball split a doubleheader with #25 Kansas over the weekend, but dropped the remaining two games to finish the series 1-3. Still, Rock Chalk Talk praised the Hawkeyes' ability to work the count and said they looked better than expected.
- DJK: Tweeting. Thinking NFL Draft. And other things.
- Someone started an "I bet this roll of toilet paper can get more fans than Iowa State" group on Facebook. Given the effect a similar stunt had on Nickelback, it's our duty to make this happen.