Monday, March 12, 2007

Sports Guy Shreds the Big-11

Glad to see someone agrees with me. Of course he also ripped my Pac-10, but I won't add that. Bill Simmons:

As for the Big Ten, its second-best team (Wisconsin) isn't as good as Kansas, Texas or Texas A&M, and I wasn't even remotely impressed by Purdue (a No. 9 seed), Indiana (No. 7) or Illinois (No. 12), although I do think Michigan State (No. 11) has a chance to crack the Sweet 16 because of Tom Izzo and Drew Neitzel. Regardless, how did the Big Ten send six teams to the tournament when most of its games had the same disjointed, scrappy, uncomfortable flow of a woman's basketball game? Did you ever watch a Big Ten game that didn't involve OSU and think to yourself, "Wow, this is some high-caliber hoops!" Oklahoma State would have been the third-best team in that conference and it's headed to the NIT. Same for Kansas State. And Syracuse.

Final note: Anyone who toggled between the OSU-Wisconsin and Texas-Kansas games knows which conference was better this season. That Texas-Kansas game was the most hard-fought basketball game I've seen since the Heat-Mavs NBA Finals last June ... and Texas was running on fumes. Meanwhile, OSU and Wisconsin were having the basketball equivalent of a rock fight on CBS. Gimme a break. The Big Ten is awful. Don't say I didn't warn you.


Wrigleyville said...

It's also useful to note, however, that Simmons has:

1. Ripped the entire National League also last year ("AAAA baseball").

2. Lost to his wife in a season long NFL pick 'em.

3. Lost a go-cart race to an entertainment reporter.

4. Lost immediately in the World Series of Poker, and bitched about the guy who beat him. He apparently thinks he's Phil Hellmuth.

5. Most famously, continued his jihad against Peyton Manning right up until the Super Bowl. He then didn't write a word about it for five days after the Colts won, and still played the Tom Brady card. Instead of writing on the Super Bowl, he launched this basketball blog to cover college basketball - a sport he had previously had no use for. Just lame.

The guy used to be remarkably entertaining. Now he's just a smug sportswriter twit of the kind he claims to despise.

For example:

1. He wrote a column on how easy being a color commentator is after doing two low-mid-major games on ESPN-U, even though he was an unmitigated disaster. Horrible. Horrible voice. No insight to the game. Stupid jokes. I imagine it is easy to declare something "easy" when you have no discernible ability to do the job. It would be like me performing brain surgery, killing the patient and saying "piece of cake" as I throw my bloody gloves in the trash. Yes, it was easy, but I was terrible at it.

2. In today's column, he talks about helping his friend get Pac 10 Finals tickets: "To my friend Lewis, a diehard UCLA fan who asked me for help getting him Pac-10 championship game tickets last week (I had a connection)..." Um, swell, you had a connection. Big freaking deal. How hard could that seat have been? The Pac 10 final? It's not like Ali was coming back to fight Secretariat.

Finally, yes: the Big Ten is down. But it's taken him until March 12 to figure that out? I think that was the story line at the Big Ten media day, genius.

Sorry, I'm done. So is Simmons.

Brad Chopp said...

Wow, well put. Considering he's not yet an "Insider" on ESPN, and he makes me chuckle here and there...I still like him. Anyway, the Big-11 is annually overrated in football and basketball yet I'm almost crusified if I even remotly mention that around here. Thus, I like to post unbiased opinions that support mine.

Wrigleyville said...

Oh, there's not doubt the Big Ten is down, though is swinging back - Purdue is no longer an embarrassment and has a very good class coming in, IU has a great class, Ohio State will be solid without Oden, etc...

As for bias, the Sports Guy is busy slathering butter on himself imagining Durant wearing Celtics green. So anything not involving Durant, the Celtics and butter, he may be a bit blinkered on.

Goldy said...

Chopp - Anyone with half a brain could tell you even before the season started that the Big Ten would blow this year. Go back and look at all the previews. It was OSU and Wisconsin and then a bunch of crap. The Big Ten was terrible in the NCAAs last year, but over the past 10 years they have had a large number of Final Four teams, including Minnesota's run, which in retrospect, never happened. Over the past 10 years, 6 Big Ten schools have made the Final Four. You want to talk about an overrated basketball conference over the past couple of seasons? Check out the Big 12. Just brutal.

In regard to Simmons, this guy had nothing to do with college basketball until about a month ago. This is also the same guy who made a big to-do over picking an English soccer team to follow and he would be their biggest fan and root for them almost as hard as he does for his Boston teams. End result? He realized he doesn't like soccer much and gave it up about a month into the season. I like some of his stuff, but he is a douche.

Brad Chopp said...

Goldy - Well, then the entire Badger nation must not have a half of brain. Until you just wrote it here, I've herd a grand total of zero Badger/Big-11 fans acknowlege that the conference is junk. Trust me, 3 people today told me the Big-11 should have gotten more teams in the tourney.

As for the Big-12, I really don't hear anyone saying its a great conference...then again, if I lived in Stillwater, or Lawrence, or some god-for-saken place like that, it might be different.

matt said...

I'm personally glad that Wisconsin has been knocked down a peg or three by the media that was so quick to embrace them just 1 short month ago. Should serve to reinvigorate the team going into the tournament.

Look - the Big 10 is not a strong conference top to bottom. But you know what? The ACC is really down this year too. So is the Big East. Syracuse didn't make the tournament and they had 10 wins in the conference - you think the selection committee was impressed by the Big East as a conference?

Nobody writes about that.

Simmons likes the Big 12 because he's watching Durant. He's only seen Wisconsin play against Michigan State and Ohio State, because he just started watching non-Durant basketball about 3 weeks ago. Ohio State and Wisconsin were "throwing rocks" because they've played each other 3 times this year and are both defensive-oriented teams. Kansas and Texas aren't - they play more like his NBA, which is why he likes them.

The great thing about college basketball is that the tournament, and not Bill Simmons or Seth Davis or Duke Vitale will tell us which style of play is most effective this year.

Goldy said...

Maybe they are serving up a different batch of Miller Lite in the Madison area, but no one I have talked to this season, living in both Minneapolis and Milwaukee, has thought the Big Ten was strong this year. I was at the Big Tens in Chicago and most of the talk revolved around 2 outstanding teams and the fact that there were two other NCAA worthy teams (Ind, MSU) Illinois is a freaking joke. Purdue is pretty turdy as well. Purdue Pete played OSU and the Badgers one time each. Purdue would be much better if they had Carson Cunningham, but I digress.
Maybe I run with a crew that has 3/4 of a brain, but I have not heard anybody discuss the Big Ten as a power conference this year. If people have, those are the kind of Badger fans I don't want to be associated with. Probably the same people who wear Cheeseheads to Packers' games. Fuck 'em.