I'm Not Force-feeding Myself a Steak At 4:30 to Save A Couple Bucks: An Iowa Preview

The above is in reference to the fact that I’m old, and I’m going to bed with Iowa up 10 with 15 min to play. So if it’s Illinois, fill in your own Lovie Smith jokes here.

The thing about Iowa is, it’s like a cult. The whole state. People born and raised within the state lines cannot function outside of its corn filled confines. It’s hard to put a finger on it, what it is exactly that makes it weird, but there’s no doubt it is weird. Some kind of mix of alien body snatching and incest. Everyone there has a face with a “you can’t know my struggle” look on it. I think if challenged significantly, the people of Iowa can join bodies to make a single giant being, like a Godzilla, or an Attack of the 50 foot women type situation. “Interesting trades” are the preferred form of currency.

But about the basketball team. The coach’s son plays on the team, which is weird. 75% of their players look like Buddy from Hoosiers. Oh and they beat Michigan by 1000 in Iowa City. How did they do it?

1) Michigan was coming off an emotional home win over OSU where the cockles of the hearts of all in attendance were warmed by several arena echoing renditions of a “Fuck Ohio” chant. Michigan’s arms were sore from patting themselves on the back.

2) Iowa went on a 21-2 run in a 3(!) minute span of the first half

3) Michigan died by the three. UM had 2 more three pointers than Iowa on the night…but it took NINETEEN MORE SHOTS. 8/33 vs 6/14.

4) Out-rebounded, out-hustled, committed more fouls…basically both MSU games.

5) The team water and food provided by Iowa contained bacteria and spores not found outside of Iowa and of which non-Iowa based life forms cannot properly process, thus causing illness and dehydration.

Here comes the run. Three games, three days. Go Blue.

Way Back When-sday Pic of the Week Knows Where The Road Will End

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November 10, 2008: The look of pain you see there is real. It was a rough night in the Twin Cities. Baby Gorilla, Godfather and I all piled on some diner breakfast that morning, and two of us managed to keep it down. Later, 5 KC Lopata field goals helped propel Nick Sheridan and the Wolverines past the Gophers 29-6.

I will be having breakfast there again on April 6 if you want to join me.

There Was Chick-fil-a in the Stands: 2018 Photo Backlog - Peach Bowl

And that was far and away the best thing about the whole day.

Big Ten Tournament Fun Facts

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  • The 1-seed has won the tournament 38% of the time (8 of 21)

  • The 2-seed has won the tournament 33% of the time (7 of 21)

  • So only 6 times has a non 1 or 2 seed won the tournament, and 3 of those were Michigan’s 3 tourney titles (4-seed in ‘98, 8-seed in ‘17, 5-seed in ‘18)

  • Michigan’s title run from the 8-seed position in 2017 (post-plane crash) was the lowest (or highest…depending on how you fill your glass) seed to capture the title.

  • The order of best winning percentage by seed is 1-2-6-3-5-8-7-14-4-13-10-12-9-11. So the 4 seed seems to suck and the 6 seed seems pretty great.

  • At 19-9, John Beilein holds the 4th best all time record in the Big Ten tournament behind Thad Matta, Bill Self, and Steve Alford.

  • Only half the members of the Big Ten have won Big Ten Tournament Championships. The list of the have-nots includes Indiana(!), Minnesota, Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, Nebraska, and Northwestern. Of those, relative newcomers Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, and Nebraska all lack regular season titles as well…and Northwestern only has 2 (1931 & 1933). Tough sledding Chris Collins.

  • Michigan hasn’t won a Big Ten Tournament in the United Center (this year’s venue) since the inaugural BTT in 1998.

  • Mateen Cleaves was in the car in 1996. The truth is out there.

Deja Blue

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Presented without context….

She said she too young, don’t want no man
So she gon’ call her friends, now that’s the plan
I just ordered sushi from Japan
Know your bitch wanna kick it, Jackie Chan - Tiesto featuring Post Malone

So that wasn’t any fun, especially after being lured in to a false sense of unbeatableness (not a word) in that first half. Cassius was locked down, and Michigan’s lineup of popsicle sticks and chewing gum looked like a bright glimpse of a pending deep-benched tournament run and an unstoppable future.

But there were adjustments. And some readjustments. Halftime ones. Media timeout ones. And each time, it got worse for the Wolverines, and Cassius woke up. And then Michigan kinda gave up, which probably deserves your criticism.

Michigan State gets to share in the 2019 Big Ten Regular Season Championship with Purdue, and while I might have bought a t-shirt had we won, it’s a championship that makes me ponder why it’s actually a thing. This is something that existed in sport only before the advent of playoffs and tournaments, recent Big 12 football seasons excepted. Regular Season Champions. It’s like those President’s Cups the Red Wings used to win before running into that hot goalie in the first round of the playoffs, or the 2018 Big Ten East trophy we have on display in Schembechler.

Anyway, we’ve been here before. Doubting Beilein is a yearly pre-tourney tradition. We were in this exact position just a year ago, with nearly the same results against a Purdue team we finally found a way to dispatch in the B1G tourney. But minus MAAR, Mo, and Duncan, Michigan is in fact in a better position entering the post season than they were last year. It will take one less game to win the B1G tourney this year, and a 2-seed in the Big Dance seems likely in just 11 days.

Nine more games are on the horizon. The story of the this team will be told in April.