To: Big Ten Basketball Players
From: Concerned Fans
Subject: No Respect
Date: March 16, 2009
Dear Big Ten basketball star,
It's time to stand up and tell all of the two-bit talking heads ENOUGH ALREADY! From CBS' Digger Phelps to SI's Andy Glockner and just about every overworked and underpaid columnist and blogger in the country, they all spout the same foolish talking points.
They say with bravado, while sometimes waving magic markers that match their ties at you, that Big Ten basketball is no good. The pace of play isn't fast enough, you're told. Teams actually milk the shot clock (blashphemy, don't tell the advertisers!!!). The scores aren't high enough. Most coaches preach defense before offense, which is obviously insane because we can all see how well David Stern and the NBA has fared with its run and shoot version of basketball.
And then, simply by looking at the score (thanks a lot, Illinois and Penn State), the gatekeepers of opinion tell you that the players in the conference just aren't good. OK, sure.
Have they actually watched Kevin Coble play? How about Evan Turner? Raymar Morgan? Have they seen Damian Johnson take over a game without scoring? Have they seen Joe Krabbenhoft set the best pick in the country? How about Wisconsin senior Marcus Landry do just about everything on the floor? Have the pundits watched Kalin Lucas run around like a posessed lightning-bug? How about Purdue's Chris Kramer, JaJuan Johnon or a healthy Robbie Hummel? Let's not forget Talor Battle and Jamelle Cornley, the best one-two duo Penn State has ever seen.
Big Ten alums know that these are good players. We know these are sound and talented teams. But you get no credit. You didn't even get credit for having just about the best non-conference season possible. For the record, here's a snippet of who you beat: Oklahoma State, Texas, Vanderbilt, Tulsa, Missouri, Boston College, Davidson, Miami, Notre Dame, Butler, Virginia Tech, Louisville, UCLA, Duke, and Florida State.
But as Phelps, Glockner, Hubert Davis or just about anyone else would have it, because the Big Ten prides defense over offense, and because scores are lower, well, that means there is just no chance you could beat these same teams later this week.
So, our message to you is this: Put a chip on your shoudler and change that perception this weekend. You're good and great players. And you can beat just about anyone that is put in front of you. Let's shove the mainstream media's talking points back at them, shall we?