The 2013 Big Ten Tournament returned to Chicago, it’s rightful home, and over 900 media members were credentialed. It’s another chance for all of us to make friends and influence people among the national media and the perfect subject matter for a Media Notebook. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and more importantly, happy Selection Sunday!
Get your brackets ready. If you’re a fan of a bubble team, I understand the sweating. And of course, lots of debate over seeding, placement, snubs etc. will ensue tonight.
-Here’s our latest bracketology.
-The Gophers are solidly in, right? So why are they sweating today? Minnesota guard Andre Hollins might have the best jersey nameplate in all of college basketball, cuz it says “Dre,” like Dr. Dre or “Dre Day.”
-The highlight reel from the Big Ten Tourney (video available at all links): the Brandon Paul buzzer beater versus Minnesota in the tourney’s first game. It has Gus Johnson on the call so you know they’ll be lots of EXCITEMENT! Because Gus Johnson=EXCITING
-Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. throws down an alley-oop
-Keith Appling throwing it down. Dunk of the year candidate
-Chicago Bulls front office men John Paxson and Gar Forman were in attendance for the title game. Who are they scouting? Deshaun Thomas probably.
I think this is made with football in mind, or just the school’s reputation. Or maybe there isn’t any rhyme or reason. Illinois is Martin Prince, Northwestern is the whiny lawyer guy. Michigan works perfect as the villain, Monty Burns. If they did this comparison with Family Guy instead of the Simpsons, I bet you can guess what character Penn State would be.
-Congratulations to Indy Star IU beat reporter Terry Hutchens for winning the second ever Darren Rovell award
-They served fish for dinner in the media room on Friday night, as it is Lent. But the Big Ten is a public, secular league. Separation of Church and Basketball. I’m sure Fish on Friday will be mandated in the Catholic 7 tournament media room.
-The Hawkeyes fan base made their presence felt during the weekend. It was weird to hear “Let’s go Hawks” chants in the United Center when the Blackhawks aren’t even playing. So is Iowa in or out of the brackets?
-A big Michigan State basketball game at the UC+St. Patrick’s Day parade/dyeing the river green=new unofficial record for drunk people wearing green in Chicago.
-I love hearing the Michigan State fight song in March. It’s so fitting, appropo, exciting. It completes the season; like hearing the Michigan fight song in autumn. And Tom Izzo is "Mr. March" compiling a record of 71-29 in the month since 1998-99. So will they be a #2 or a #3 seed tonight?
-Tom Izzo did a Jimmy “B. Rabbit” Smith (Eminem’s character in “8 Mile”) style mic drop to end his postgame press conference Friday night. He was like “we were awful, I know it, my bad” before the questions even came.
-As the tournament goes on, the television coverage gets stronger. It starts with a niche cable channel, Big Ten Network for the first round, the moves to mainstream cable ESPN for the quarterfinals, then finally regular free television on CBS. So this mean that ESPN’s Samantha Ponder stopped by to cover it. Click her name above for a gratuitous photo gallery
-This is pretty sweet. The ten best Big Ten tournament in Chicago performances
-As Northwestern hoops moves in a new direction, can their basketball program rise up to the level of their football program? Will they find a "basketball Fitz?"
Of course, the firing of Northwestern coach Bill Carmody was a hot topic Saturday at the Big Ten Tournament. And various Big Ten coaches expressed their support of Carmody and how sad and disappointed they were that he was dismissed. Ohio State's Thad Matta and Michigan State's Tom Izzo were especially supportive and opinionated in their responses.
I thought my tweet of Matta's presser said a lot.
— Paul M. Banks (@PaulMBanks) March 16, 2013
-If you're not following the greatest parody sports figure account on Twitter, you should be. Here's what the fake Roy Williams has in his bracket
— Daggum Roy (@DaggumRoy) March 16, 2013
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of visitors. He's an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker
Banks has appeared on Comcast SportsNet and the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks)