Here’s Something Not to Get Upset About

Based on my twitter feed last night, Lindy’s Sports published their College Basketball Preview and IU fans are mad about it.

Here’s the short version. They picked IU to finish 12th in the Big Ten this year and “No respect!” is getting thrown around like that time my doctor told me I was fat and needed to lose weight.

I said, “I want a second opinion.”

She said, “Ok, you’re ugly too.”

But let’s take just a minute to consider a few reasons why IU fans shouldn’t be upset.

This is not an unreasonable pick

Consider these few facts.

  1. We finished 11th last year
  2. Our best three players are all gone
  3. We had a coaching change

Why would a team that was bad last year and lost their three best players be better this year?

If your answer is #3 that’s fine. But, if you’re being honest with yourself, you can’t think that a coaching change alone is enough to get a lot better after losing your three best players. That’s just not a reasonable position to take.

Can they be better under Archie than they were last year? Sure. Better enough to say that being picked 12th is insulting? Not even a little bit.

I do think we’ll be better than 12th, but so far there is nothing to hang that opinion on other than I want it to be true.

And, sadly for me, things don’t just become true because I want them to be true.

Preseason picks are just guesses someone wrote down

It’s fun to read and debate stuff like this, but preseason predictions are dumb and don’t actually mean anything. Especially in basketball.

This is why awards like coach of the year can be incredibly stupid.

Frequently they are based on a team over-performing expectations. Sometimes that award goes to a coach whose team was dominant throughout, but often it goes to a coach who got more out of his team than anyone expected.

What that means, in reality, is that the expectations were just more wrong for this team or coach than they were for any of the others.

We guessed wrong, here’s a prize.

Likewise, getting mad or feeling slighted by someone else’s guess is, at best, extremely silly. Imagine getting mad at me because I didn’t guess the correct Powerball numbers.

You picked 11 as the Powerball! What a moron!

What are you going to do about it?

I could see Archie putting this prediction up on the bulletin board and using it to motivate the players. I could see the players wanting to go out and prove everyone wrong.

But you and me – fans – what are we going to do with our anger at Lindy’s Preseason Guess that will be even remotely helpful in proving that they were wrong?

The answer is ‘nothing.’

We aren’t going to do anything because we can’t do anything. It’s not up to us whether this team improves over last year or not, whether we finish in the top half of the conference or not, or whether Lindy, to quote Wooderson, “doesn’t know what the hell he’s talkin’ ’bout anyway.”

So, I’m going to suggest that at this point we all agree to just let this go. It’s a reasonable guess that we don’t agree with.

And we agree to focus on the things we can control.

After all, there’s a Powerball drawing tonight!


Jeff Taylor