Everybody participates, but not everyone gets a ribbon.
At the Big Ten basketball tournament, Thursday is to sell a few tickets, offer up some television programming to the Big Ten Network and ESPN2. It is not about good basketball.
Sure, sure, today’s 11 a.m. between Illinois and Minnesota features two teams that may be in the NCAA tournament, no matter what happens. The 8/9 game is always the best matchup of Thursday at the Big Ten event. So why do they have it at 11 a.m.???
The other three games are filler. Michigan vs. Penn State is a rerun of the biggest upset of the Big Ten season, and perhaps the college basketball season. But the Nittany Lions beat the Wolverines 84-76 on Feb. 27. That was in State College. This is Chicago, a neutral court. Michigan will be surgical today.
The third game is Purdue vs. Nebraska, and does this require any sort of explanation for why it isn’t particularly watchable. Let’s just hope it doesn’t go double-overtime or longer and force the Iowa-Northwestern game to tip off even later than its scheduled 7:55 p.m. start time.
Well, the trick is to get to Friday, then see what happens. The quarterfinals could look like this: Illinois-Indiana, Michigan-Wisconsin, Ohio State-Purdue and Michigan State-Iowa. That wouldn’t be bad.
It will get even better on Saturday. But today? Just hope for no overtimes.
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