You may have been distracted by the big results (and upsets) in the Big 12 games tonight--what with Texas Tech somehow destroying Kansas, and Missouri beating Oklahoma. And I'll say a couple of things about those games right now--Kansas was in a classic trap situation--they blew the doors off a Top 15 team in Missouri earlier this week; they were playing an unranked, not great team, and they played down to the level of their competition. Missouri was rebounding from an embarrassing loss (at the hands of Kansas). I watched that loss at Kansas, and Missouri missed countless lay-ups. Missouri has not lost at home all Big 12 season. Beating Oklahoma is an upset, but not as big of one as you might have suspected had you only seen them get their asses kicked by Kansas.
But let's get to the Biggiest Big 10 Game. Please note: "Biggiest" is not a typo. I mean that as a term for a game that isn't the biggest in the conference, but rather one that typifies that conference as well as any game could. In the Big East, it could be that Pitt vs UConn game that Andrew blogged about earlier. In the Big 10, it is all about clumsy physical play in the paint, hard-working white guys who get floorburns and then get to play in the NBA way too long (please see Cardinal, Brian) and sporadic guard play. Please note that the best team in the Big 10--Michigan State--doesn't play Big 10 ball. Yes, they have a big goofy white guy (Goran Suton) like every team in Big 10. But Raymar Morgan? He belongs in the Big East. Their backcourt of Kalin Lucas and Travis Walton could be a classic ACC backcourt.
So, finally--Minnesota and Wisconsin played in the Biggiest Big 10 conference game I've seen in awhile. I could throw a lot of stats at you (and I will) but here's the simplest one. The halftime score was 16-23. 'Nuff said. There have been games this year--a lot of games--when one player has scored as many points in a half as either Wisconsin or Minnesota managed in that half.
For some reason, the wire services have refused to call a spade a spade and just admit that Big 10 offense is ugly. It can't all be defense, right?
Here are some fun stats. Minnesota, the winning team, shot 19-46 from the field, including 1-8 as a team outside the arc. Only big man Ralph Samson III (2-4) and Lawrence Westbrook (4-8) managed to shoot .500. No one shot better than that. As a team, they had 9 assists, and 10 turnovers. That's awful. The Gophers only had 4 more made field goals than they did personal fouls. And again, they won the game.
Consider, if you will, the horrible Biggy Big Ten play of The Badgers. Wisconsin shot 15-45. From 3-point land, they shot 7-20. Here's the scary part--take out goggley-eyed
Karl Marcus Landry, and those numbers drop to 8-33 (24%) and 3-13, respectively. That's really, really poor shooting. Fellow, occasional blogger and Wisconsin fan barnyard does not care for Badger point guard Travon Hughes. After his performance in this game, I can not blame him for that--forget the huge turnover at the end of the game, consider his numbers for the entire game: 2-12 (1-7 3-pt); 4 assists, 3 turnovers. But really, when a team has 3 more fouls (18) than made Field Goals (15) they are shitty on both ends of the court, and you can't just blame one guy.
Honestly, after all that--I think we all need and deserve some Bo Ryan Hambone again.