I feel that we need to put this out there, not because this is a new topic but because it is a runaway topic. How do I know? My wife was listening in to the MSU- Purdue post game from CBS and asked me "Why do those guys not like the Big 10?.
During the '4 question' part of the discussion, the comment was made, that "Surprisingly, . . . I do think that the Big 10 should be in the discussion about a #1 seed. They have an impressive resume, but ---- the Big East and the ACC are so dominant over them." her question was "what is surprising about a team that wins a major conference by 4 games and might be considered to get the top seed?"
Why are so many down on the Big 10? Defense. Writers and Networks hate it, nearly as much as fans from opposing schools. But it wins.
Here is an NBA example that you may remember- In 2004 the Pistons made it to the NBA Finals against the Lakers. The discussion was not who would win the title, but whether the Lakers would win in 4 or 5 games. For a week. If you remember, that was won by the Pistons in 5. With Defense. Since then, the NBA and writers and fans have done all they can do to deride that kind of play. I will never forget the deflation ESPN and Sportcenter had as the Pistons cruised. They were really down on that style.
Fast-Forward to 2009 and the Big 10. The same dynamic is happening. The Big 10 has become a defensive quagmire, probably due to officiating that 'lets the bigs play.' Whatever, but Outside of the Big 10, everyone hates it. Or is jealous. The Big 10 plays defense. Hard.
Michigan beat Duke. Michigan is not that good. Illinois beat Louisville, and the Illini are not that good. Yes, UNC thrashed MSU earlier this year, but Suton was out, Raymar was sick, and Delvon Roe was coming off of 2 knee surgeries a few months earlier. They were riddled with problems. There is some equity between the two conferences.
Beyond that, it is incomprehensible that the same team that DESTROYED Pitt last year (with speed and defense) minus Neitzel but plus Draymond Green, Korey Lucious, and Delvon Roe (a better team) is not considered even on their par. They out rebounded them 33-20. Bobby Knight picked Pitt as a lock, as did many others.
I watched the Duke UNC game and I paid attention to the guards and where they picked each other up. They lay WAY back on the point guard when defending. Also, I saw that the defenses keep the paint well defended, but give up the 12-18 footers much easier.
The result is less turnovers. Good for TV. More Scoring. Good for TV. Dominant (help) inside play, complete with double and triple teams. TV loves the blocks, and dunks, the only way to score with 4 men in the paint.
We shall see if defense matters. My feeling is that it does a little bit.