Monday, March 20, 2017

That's the Big Ten to you, sir

Sunday was a good day for those who believe bad things eventually come to snotty entitled people and the snotty entitled cheap-shot artists who hang with them. It was also a good day for those who believe the Big Ten wasn't the low-rent hangout all the wise guys have been saying it was.

(Full disclosure: That includes the Blob. I thought the Big Ten was down this year. I'm still not convinced it wasn't. Here's the thing, see: When you start comparing the Power Five conferences, the superiority of one over another is pretty much an illusion. When it all comes out in the wash -- or the Madness -- there generally is very little difference among them. They all have access to the same talent pool, after all).

Anyway ... hooray, first of all, for South Carolina, who rid America of the Snotty Entitled People (i.e., Duke) and the Blue Devils' Snotty Entitled Cheap-Shot Artist, Grayson Allen. And hooray for the Big Ten, which proved once again that when the ball goes up in March, perceptions often go out the window with it.

And so here we are in the Sweet Sixteen, and almost a quarter of it is from the Big Ten. It might have been a full quarter if Gonzaga hadn't gotten away with that goaltending call just when it was about to get swept aside by a purple tsunami. But the Zags did, Chris Collins lost his mind and got "T"-ed up, and Northwestern's amazing rally came to a screeching halt.

Then Michigan State ran out of gas against Kansas, and that was that.

Still, Purdue is left and Wisconsin is left and Michigan is left, and, the latter two are there because they took out their presumed betters. Wisky, an 8-seed, sent defending national champion and overall No. 1 seed Villanova home. Michigan, a 7-seed, buried 2-seed Louisville in the second half, and is off to the Sweet Sixteen, too.

This is hardly shabby for a conference some people thought would be lucky to get more than a couple teams out of the first round. Instead, the Big Ten got Purdue and Wisconsin and Michigan and Michigan State and Northwestern out of the first round. In other words, it did what an actual Power Five conference is supposed to do, and not what a counterfeit Power Five would have done.

So hail to all. I'll have my crow grilled, thanks.

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