Traditionally , basketball is not a gnome sport. Sure, some schools like Cincy have gnomes who focus on the hoopty ball, but in general gnomes prefer football. I mean, it's outdoors and (until recently) football fields were much easier to tunnel into (FieldTurf has not been kind to the gnome community). But the Gopher gnomes strive to offer full service, high quality snark. So they've agreed to expand their horizons to include the hardwood. In time, they may even venture out into the cold unknown and see what this hockey thing is all about.
So without further delay, I present to you the inaugural basketball focused WTBD? post.
Illinois: 11-0 - AP: #10, Coaches: #10
Last Week: Defeated #10 Gonzaga on the road (85-74), a win that propelled them into the top 10 this week. They also beat Norfolk State by ten at home (64-54). The first win is VERY impressive. The second one? Yea...not so much. The Champaign Room was not surprised by the latter performance:
You know, you can get angry at people for not showing up to Assembly Hall to watch a top 10 team if you like, as the empty seats in the A sections are very obvious on most nights. And while there are the "it's Tuesday night" and "it's Norfolk State" excuses, really the only thing anybody who isn't going to these games has to say is "have you seen us play at home?"
It's a power move. Guaranteed to shut down anybody trying to shame you because it's utterly infallible. For the most part we've been a bad team at home. Tonight was no different.
Illinois has been the surprise team of the B1G thus far in the gnomes' eyes. Brandon Paul is...well, he has the ability to be quite ridiculous. It'll be interesting to see if their performance holds up or if they slip, fall, and give the gnomes something to make fun of.
This Week: Another cupcake, Eastern Kentucky, comes to Assembly Hall on Sunday. 5pm on ESPNU.
Indiana: 9-0 - AP: #1, Coaches: #1
Last Week: Destroyed something called Central Connecticut State 100-69. In case you aren't aware, Indiana is good (thus the #1 national ranking in both national polls). While the CCSU game wasn't a challenge, The Crimson Quarry says it highlighted many of the team's best qualities:
This game had everything we've come to expect from this group: pristine shooting, suffocating defense, unselfish passing and Victor Oladipo wreaking havoc all over the place.
It's probably safe to assume that the Gophers might not reprise their Assembly Hall from last year upset this January. I don't think the gnomes will be issuing any snark awards to Indiana this season. Well, I'm betting they'll find a way to give out a Kelvin Sampson themed award at some point.
Up next? Butler and IU face off in a neutral court game in Indy on Saturday. 1pm on CBS Sports.
Last Week: Got their first win over Iowa State in 3 seasons (80-71). Having paid no attention to either team the gnomes have no idea if this constitutes a good win or not. Black Heart Gold Pants is happy though:
It was a fun (if sloppy) game, played at a zippy pace that would have made Johnny Orr and Tom Davis proud. (Todd Lickliter and Wayne Morgan were probably hyperventilating.) Iowa's freshmen came through in a big, big way (Clemmons, Woodbury, and Gesell combined for 34 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists) and Aaron White as the goddamn man (18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists).
The gnomes would like to start grading Iowa's performances on the Angry Fran Chair Scale. This scientific measurement is a ratings scale (from 1 to 5) that measures how angry the gnomes think Fran McCaffery was about his team's play. 1 chair means happy Fran (if such a thing exists) while 5 chairs means every folding chair in the vicinity of Iowa City is at risk of destruction due to FRANRAGE. (Have no idea why the gnomes are using a folding chair scale? Go here for all the background you'll need.)
The Iowa State win earns Iowa 1 FranChair. It was a rivalry win after all.
Up next? Fran's cowering children travel to Northern Iowa on Saturday. 1:30 on BTN.
Michigan: 10-0 - AP: #3, Coaches: #3
Last Week: Wins over Arkansas (80-67) and something called Binghamtom (67-39), both at home. The wins have the Wolverines sitting at 10-0 (their best start since 1989) and ranked #3 in both polls. The Arkansas victory also gave John Beilein his 100th win. So...that's a good start. Maize n Brew has some reflections following the Binghamtom torching. Well, they did but none of them were earth shattering. I say we take their advice and wait for a game that means something:
Let us never speak of this game again.
The gnomes agree. When they hear the name Binghamtom they end up thinking of Bingville. You know, the town of Bingville from Varsity Blues? The opponent that shows up in the pep rally part of the movie? That part where that hunky QB who doesn't seem to star in movies anymore talks about that dream of his where they didn't beat Bingville by enough and it makes all the girls at his school sad but it was totally a fakeout because he knew all alone that they'd beat Bingville by way more than that. Which got me thinking, how do you think A.J. Barker would do playing for Bud Kilmer?
I mean, how do you think a 4,000 word letter to the West Canaan newspaper would turn out? Methinks not well. Tweeder and Billy Bob would probably be so pissed that he quit even though it's just because his mom's friend told him that he didn't want your life.
Anyways...what were we talking about? Oh yea, Michigan. The gnomes award Michigan 5 whipped cream bikinis for their win over a light and fluffy opponent.
Up next? West Virginia travels to Ann Arbor on Saturday. 7pm on ESPN.
Michigan State: 8-2 - AP: #19, Coaches: #19
Last Week: Defeated Arkansas Pine-Bluff (76-44) on Wed and Loyola Chicago (73-61) on Saturday. Would you believe that both of those were home games? I know, the gnomes were shocked too. Don't let the UAPB score fool you. They were only outscored by 6 in the second half and Izzo was none too pleased about it. The Loyola game wasn't a ton better, as Loyola actually led by 2 at the half and kept it close down the stretch. The Only Colors thinks this won't make MSU fans any less anxious:
Michigan State rode a career-high 20-point performance from freshman Gary Harris and a double-double from Adreian Payne to a 12-point win over the Ramblers of Loyola-Chicago. It was not a game that is going to allay many fears about the Spartans' halting start this year as Loyola actually led by 2 at halftime and stayed within hailing distance for nearly the entire game.
Up next? Tuskegee comes to MSU on Saturday. 8pm on ESPNU. And the Spartans hit the road and travel to Bowling Green (WTF?) on Tuesday. 6pm on ESPNU.
Last Week: Lost at home to in-state "rival" Creighton 62-42. While not technically a rivalry, my conversations in Lincoln would lead me to believe that Nebby fans would love to have this win. Most Creighton fans are Husker FB fans (they are the NE equivalent of the IU "reversible jacket" fans who cheer for IU basketball and Notre Dame football), so a win would have allowed for big time smack talking around the state by through and through Husker fans. The recap from Corn Nation sets the scene and reacts to the loss:
It felt like a big game. The Bob Devaney Sports Center was sold out. The student section was full an hour and a half before the game. There were chanting matches between the Creighton fans in attendance the feisty Husker fans ready for the opportunity to hold the ultimate trump card when they went back to work tomorrow. Instead, it was the All-American who won the night, showing why he is as highly regarded as he is.
It was a bit of a reality check for the Huskers, who had hoped to make a statement in this game. Instead, it was Creighton and McDermott who had the last word. The Huskers will have a week to lick their wounds and finish the semester before heading west to face the Oregon Ducks on Saturday Dec. 15. The game will tip off at 3:30 Central time and can be seen on FSN.
When asked for their reaction, the gnomes had only this:
Up next? The Huskers travel to Oregon on Saturday to play on that seizure inducing court. 3:30pm on one of the Fox Sports RSN's. On Tuesday something called Jacksonville State comes to Lincoln. 8pm on BTN. The gnomes have a sneaking suspicion Wisconsin will score 4 more touchdowns during each of those games.
Last Week: Lost to Butler at home, 74-65. So much for righting the ship after that surprise Baylor win. Sippin' On Purple laments a common theme in Wildcat losses...no offense:
Northwestern lost to Butler on an awful offensive performance. Sound familiar? It's the same story of the Wildcats' first two losses. Now there's three, and the NCAA Tournament thing is looking a tad bleak.
Dave Sobolewski gave his all, but there was nothing offensively from Drew Crawford - aka the guy who is supposed to be Northwestern's offense - and there was a loss. NU has made a habit of being bad at shooting, and its starting to not be a surprise at this point.
The gnomes are breaking their own rules (they can do that, it's their post) and choosing to ridicule Northwestern for losing to Illinois-Chicago.
Up next? The Wildcats host Texas State on Monday. 6pm on BTN.
Ohio State: 6-1 - AP: #7, Coaches: #7
Last Week: Demolished Long Beach State and Dan Monson, 89-55. Not much else to say. Take it away Land Grant Holy Land:
Going into the final media time out, Ohio State led the Long Beach State 49ers 81-48. It didn't end much better, with a quartet of Buckeyes reaching double digits in a definitive 89-55 victory.
LGHL actually has a really detailed writeup, but I think that sums it up.
Up next? A busy stretch. Savannah State is at OSU tonight. 6pm on BTN. Then on Saturday they have the chance to further embarrass UCLA in Columbus. 11am on BTN. And they round out the week with a home matchup against Winthrop. 6pm on BTN.
Penn State: 5-4
Last Week: Smoked on the road at La Salle, losing 82-57. You might recall La Salle from the NIT. You know, the school with the high school gymnasium? The Nittany Lions also beat Army, 78-70. I don't know anything about La Salle this year so I have no idea how terrible a loss this is. Ok, wait. I don't need to know anything to know this is a terrible loss. You don't lose to a La Salle (even on the road) as a B1G team. Black Shoe Diaries, what is your takeaway?
Surely there are brighter days ahead for this program, but with the roster they are fielding now, there just isn't many ways for this team to win without everyone contributing. When three players of your 7-man rotation gives you next to nothing, that's going to leave you in a world of hurt (or a 25-point loss to an underrated A-10 club).
Up next? The Delaware State "Fighting I Don't Care What Their Mascot Is" travel the snowy roads to State College on Saturday. 1pm on Purgatory (i.e. BTN.com).
Last Week: Purdue rounded out the embarrassing losses for the B1G by crashing and burning on the road against EASTERN MICHIGAN. I mean...what? Is it too early to take Purdue off the NIT bubble? Ok, that might be harsh. But it's just weird to see Purdue struggle this much. Hammer & Rails isn't any happier:
Before today, I can think of only two results that were simply baffling: The infamous Wofford game when the Baby Boilers were freshmen and last year's horrid performance at Penn State. For the record, I think the worst one was Penn State last year ebcause at least we were competitive against Wofford. Against Penn State we got blown out and gave up 21 points to a guy who was weeks from being told he should never played basketball again).
This loss at Eastern Michigan was as bad as those.I attempted to watch this game via my Watch ESPN mobile app but it is as if the internet tried to save me from this truly dismal performance. Yes, this is a young team, but there is simply no excuse whatsoever to score only 44 points against a MAC team when you have a team with Purdue's talent. None.
Up next? A neutral court game in Indy on Saturday against Notre Dame. 3:30pm on ESPN2. Then Ball State falls into the black hole on Tuesday. 6pm on ESPN3.
Last Week: The Badgers lost to in-state foe Marquette (60-50) on the road in Milwaukee. UW has played some tough teams and remains a pretty efficient team. But the warning signs (and potential for great schadenfreude) are there. The early slump is bad enough where Bucky's 5th Quarter is wondering aloud if it is time to push the panic button:
Look, I know it is a long season and the argument "We'll be okay, there is a still a ways to go" will be voiced by much of the Grateful Red. But at what point do you start to truly worry?
The answer: right now.
We are a third of the way through the season and the Badgers have shown no real signs of improvement against the upper-echelon of competition on their schedule. Throw in the fact conference play is right around the corner and fans should cringe. Six Big Ten teams are currently ranked and Wisconsin is not at all in its league right now.
The gnomes will save their BWAWAHAHAHA. They don't want to tempt the fates just yet.
Up next? Green Bay is in Madison tonight. 8pm on BTN.