It’s easy to get lost down a million rabbit holes after a game like the one we just watched at Michigan State.
You can find yourself in a discussion about exactly why we all hate Ted Valentine so much (answer: He doesn’t hate IU. He just loves drawing attention to himself and this pathological need for attention causes him to make at least six calls a game that make him appear to be either a. vengeful, b. incompetent or c. insane. But really he’s just a raging, fat, narcissist. Now you know why to hate him.)(And for the record, that 3-point play he called for Cody was incomprehensible)
Or you can find yourself in a discussion about why Tom Crean left Victor on the bench so long down the stretch and had Christian guarding Nix with four fouls. (Answer: Victor wasn’t 100% and needed a rest. I’m not sure the reasoning, but it certainly wasn’t effective to have Christian on Nix those few possession. That should be countered however with. Crean called a timeout, put Victor back in. Built up Christian’s confidence. Called a play that got Christian a three-point play and Victor went on to score our last six points. So Crean clearly did something right.)
Or you can get yourself all worked up about how amazing we are and how no one is going to stop us from here until the end of time, how Victor is the player of the year not only in the Big Ten, but also, through a strange loophole, of the SEC, ACC, and Big East as well, and how come nobody, and The Rock means, NOBODY believed we could win last night or in any game we’ve played since Bob Knight was fired.
But none of that is terribly interesting or important. What matters is this.
Right now, today, in this moment, we are the best team in college basketball and we have put ourselves in position, through our own efforts and not based on the failings of others, to win the Big Ten outright. Which puts us in position to secure the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.
The Big Ten is brutal. Everyone has had really rough stretches in their schedules.
Michigan State had three game earlier v. Ohio State (W), @ Wisconsin (W), @Indiana (L) and another stretch now v. Indiana (L), @ Ohio State (?), @ Michigan (?), v. Wisconsin (?)
Michigan played @ Indiana (L), v. Ohio State (W), @ Wisconsin (L), @ Michigan State (L).
Ohio State played @ Michigan (L), v. Northwestern (W), v. Indiana (L), @ Wisconsin (L)
Wisconsin played @ Indiana (W), @ Iowa (L), v. Michigan State (L), v. Minnesota (W), @ Ohio State (L)
We’ve had our stretches of tough road games and home games against very good teams. The difference is, we’ve won. Before we played, I thought our v. Michigan State (W), @ Purdue (W), v. Michigan (W), @ Illinois (L), @ Ohio State (W) stretch had the chance to be brutal. We went 4-1 in that stretch and our one loss was as bizarre a loss as you’ll likely see anywhere.
We’ve played ourselves into a great position, but the day ain’t over yet. @ Minnesota, v. Iowa, v. Ohio State, @ Michigan isn’t an easy way to finish out and we could easily stumble somewhere along that road. But we’re playing really well and while there’s a lot left to happen between now and then, we’ve put ourselves in a position where a loss @ Michigan, which is still possible, but less daunting after last night’s win in East Lansing, may not matter to our Big Ten title hopes.
For years I’ve wanted us to play in games that really matter. We’re doing that every game this Big Ten season. And we’re winning.
So why does Ted Valentine hate us so much?!