Going into 2012-2013 it’s clear the Big Ten is the nation’s best conference for hoops, for 2012-2013. Indiana and Michigan will both start in the Top 5, Michigan State and Ohio State the Top 10, and Wisconsin finishes in the Top 20 every year – and if it matters, the Big Ten has led the nation in attendance seemingly since John Wooden was playing for Purdue. I wouldn’t dub the Big Ten as the nation’s premier conference though; top to bottom it has been the toughest conference for the past few years but they still have a few variables that make me weary to dub them “premier”.
The conference hasn’t produced pros like the ACC, Big East, SEC, or Big 12, nor have they had a National Champion since Michigan State in 2000. Before crowning one conference as “premier”, I think it probably needs to own a few of those factors. When you look at college football, there is no question the SEC is running the show. In college basketball, the Big Ten has some very good teams this year, but still only has Cody Zeller slated for the lottery, and needs a National Champion as its bell cow. Plus, I think a conference needs sustained dominance for that crown, and the ACC will be adding Syracuse and Pitt; its tough for me to imagine that won’t change the dynamic of conference strength very shortly.
I’d like to tell you yes, but if I was a gambling man I’d be sliding my chips to the SEC again. Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Georgia are all going to be very good this year. The SEC difference is along the defensive front, where they’ve been stacking freaky defensive lineman that only grow up in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. When an SEC team tangles with another, the difference in size, strength, speed and physicality along the defensive front is so great it’s tough for the challenger to go four rounds (quarters). That won’t change this year, especially in Baton Rouge.
USC looks like the preseason favorite to challenge the SEC’s dominance, but don’t buy it yet. USC has a great quarterback, amazing receivers that I’ll wax poetic about until the season starts, and a stable of 5-star running backs to chose from, but they will be feasting on the pillow-soft Pac-12 all year. When you grow accustomed to resting your head on a Tempur-Pedic pillow every night, try switching to a concrete slab; it’s not comfortable. And the concrete slab doesn’t even hit back.
I don’t think its a question of Weber’s offense being better suited for the Big 12 than it was in the Big Ten, I think the question is whether the current roster at K-State will fit into Weber’s motion offense; and if they don’t, can Weber adjust. Weber inherited a team that he would have been proud to build himself at Illinois. A “Frank Martin” tough group, with good work ethic and a desire to get it done on the defensive side of the court, but once again their success will depend on if getting fired from Illinois was humbling enough to shatter Weber’s stubborn nature. The motion offense that Weber believes in is great when you have Deron Williams (Top 3 pg in the NBA), Dee Brown (National Player of the Year), and Luther Head (1st round draft pick) running the show, but pretty dreadful when you have, say, non immortal backcourts.
If Weber tries to fit K-State (square peg) into his motion offense (round hole) they will look unsure at times but will do well in his first season because of the amount of “Frank Martin” talent he is bringing back, and their dedication to defense. But over time he will manage to do the same thing he did at Illinois, force players of 2012 to play in an archaic offense that predicates itself on screening and moving for long jumpers and then will recruit himself into a team of players that can’t mesh.
Hi Randal, not college sports but pertinent just the same. I’ll go in chronological order and start with the Home Run Derby. Robinson Cano getting booed once was funny, because I get it, Kansas City wanted to see their home town boy Billy Butler in the Derby, but booing Cano all week was classless. Oh, and then Kaufman stadium cheering when he made an out? Classless again. And then booing him again during the actual All Star Game (quick reminder to KC fans, you are in the AL, and regardless of whether you’ll live long enough to see the Royals in the playoffs again, Cano was trying to get the AL home field advantage). And then finally the reports that fans were harassing his family during an All Star event? Wake up Kansas City! Just because you’ve been irrelevant for two decades doesn’t mean you have to be boorish.
On to something more pleasant, my favorite memory from the All Star Game: Melky Cabrera being named MVP. As a Yankee fan I loved Melky Cabrera because he was everything A-Rod was not: He was jovial, underpaid, and always clutch; it was a hard week when he was traded. And if you haven’t seen the video of his interview after the game, it was hilarious. If you were the interviewer, wouldn’t you at some point catch on to the fact that he doesn’t understand a word you’re saying? Melky Interview
Thank you to everyone who tweeted this week, great questions! To get in next weeks Gold Rush tweet @Einsane or leave a comment.