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.

Ya'll Act Like It's Over and It Hasn't Even Started

The Big Ten Tournament commences on Wednesday with the bottom four in action. 

The Wolverines draw their first ever double bye (a concept with a short history), and their first bye of any kind in five years.  The B1G Tournament darlings the last couple years, Michigan has kind of made a thing about playing and winning a bunch of days in a row.  Which bodes well for tournaments and TOURNAMENTS ARE WHAT THIS ENTIRE SPORT AND ALL OTHER SPORTS ARE COMPLETELY DECIDED BY SO IF WE ARE GOOD AT TOURNAMENTS THEN WE ARE ACTUALLY JUST GOOD.

Anyway, Thursday puts everyone in action except the top four - Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Lou Anna’s Thundering Turds.  Michigan will get whomever comes out of Northwestern/Illinois vs Iowa.  We did get boat raced by Iowa in our only meeting, so that is not ideal.  Of note, Hollis’s Homies will play the winner of Indiana - Ohio State, with Izzo’s Moronsorliars having provided 25% of Indiana’s Big Ten wins.

Ideally, Michigan meets Perles’s Boys in the finals on Sunday for a third crack at things, revenge tour and shit, etc, etc.  But I’m not going to be heartbroken if Engler’s Warriors exit early.  Other potholes are present of course, with chalk lining up a likely rematch with the Boilermakers on Saturday.  They will be looking to avenge that beatdown Michigan imposed way back when those weird early Big Ten games hit the schedule.

Look, things do not appear stellar for Michigan with that regular season finale, but they literally almost never have looked good going in to this week.  What’s nice is that they are operating from a much better position seed-wise than they have in a long time, and they have a rested defensive juggernaut waiting to emerge from an injury. 

And this team deserves your respect.  MAAR, Mo, and Duncan exit, and they have the greatest start in program history and the most regular season wins in program history.  Ya, I’m sorry you couldn’t talk shit to your family veterinarian, your UPS store manager, or the janitor in your office building.  I promise you I’m as pissed as you, but there are bigger things to worry about…as well as a possibility of still talking shit to all of them on Sunday.

This is when the magic happens.  When some guy the casual fanbase has never heard of drops a double double.  When someone gets hot for a few weeks.  This is it.  This is when we burn the boats.