Sunday, March 12, 2006

Selection Sunday

Well, Illinois lost a close one to Michigan State in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday night. It didn't show in my area, but I read about it afterwards. I'm glad it was a close one. The loss was a bit disturbing to me as I always prefer Illiniois to win, but then I decided the extra two days off would be good for our ultimate NCAA Tournament preparations. I note most brackets anticipate Illinois receiving a number two seed in the tournament. I remember three or four years ago when we were hoping for a two seed and lost the championship game of the Big Ten tournament and ended up a number four seed. There was quite a bucket of bitterness about that low seeding. I'm not sure what's changed since then except perhaps Illinois' reputation. I mean, we had more talent then but less experience. Right now we're a bit thinner on talent but have two really experienced seniors. (It's rather fascinating to see Illinois rank so high when I expected more of a rebuilding year. Bruce Weber is a genius.) Then we had won our conference regular season; this year we tied for second with Iowa. Of course, this year the Big Ten is getting credit for a whole lot more strength in all its teams then it did three or four years ago when the analysts were saying the Big Ten was 'down'. I hope Iowa beats Ohio State for the Big Ten Championship. I'm still holding a grudge against Ohio State for ruining our perfect season last year.

It happened again. Lots of talk about a number two seed and then we end up getting a number four seed. How does this occur? Ohio State ended up a number two seed, which although painful, makes sense because they won the Big Ten Regular season. Iowa ended up a three seed--again makes some sense--they were tied for second for the regular season and they won the tournament. We ended up a four seed. I suppose that is punishment for going out in the first round of our tournament but it doesn't really stand up when you consider we tied for second place, a half game behind Ohio State, in the regular season. When we win the tournament we don't get rewarded with a higher seeding, but when we lose or go our early they knock us back ruthlessly. I hate the seedings. They never make sense to me.

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