In which the Blob plays the part of Goose Gossage, crotchety old man.
I don't say this because Indiana lost to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament and yet lost nothing, really, because conference tournaments are essentially meaningless for teams in Indiana's position. All losing in the first round does is give the top-seeded Hoosiers two extra days' rest in preparation for the real tournament. Conference tournaments are significant only to the conferences who use them as ATMs to fatten their bottom lines, and to bubble teams such as Michigan. That's pretty much it.
But that's another rant for another time. Let's get to today's rant.
Today, I'm observing that North Carolina destroyed Notre Dame and Virginia hung tight to beat Miami (Fla.) in the ACC semifinals last night, and the crotchety old man in me feels weirdly happy about that. This is not because I especially have anything against Notre Dame or Miami. It's because, with Virginia vs. North Carolina, we'll get an actual ACC game in the ACC championship and not, as it were, an ACC championship featuring posers like Notre Dame or Miami.
Let's be crystal, folks: Notre Dame and Miami are not ACC schools, anymore than is Pitt or Syracuse or whoever the hell else the ACC has added to feed the football monster. They are add-ons. They are interlopers. They are schools with zero conference tradition trying to pretend they have conference tradition.
Football's insatiable appetites have ruined college basketball in that way, because it's football that has driven the seismic shift in conference affiliations. It's why Syracuse and Pitt, Big East schools, are now "ACC" schools. It's why Maryland, an ACC school, is a "Big Ten" school. It isn't, of course. It never will be, at least to a certain generation of crotchety old men.
Of which I'm one, certifiably. At least on this issue.
College athletics without the tradition is just recess with money, in my estimation. Which is why I still find it impossible to watch Indiana play Maryland and think of it as anything but an ACC-Big Ten Challenge game. Maryland, to me, will always be Len Elmore and Tom McMillan and drawling old Lefty Dreisell having it out with Carolina and Duke and NC State and Wake Forest. There is history there. There is enmity. There is a ... relationship.
Maryland vs. IU?
Just a non-conference game between two non-rivals. Always will be.