Iowa & Big Ten Grab Bag

The Iowa Hawkeyes gained some separation from their Big Ten persuers on Wednesday, a night they didn't take the court. Ohio State began the evening at 7-3, a half game out of first place but tied in the loss column. An ESPN story on Sunday said that then 7-3 Buckeyes were in a ‘virtual tie' for first place. Now having lost at Wisconsin and sitting at 7-4, are they in a virtual tie for second place, as the Badgers are now 8-4?...But we digress…More notes and thoughts on Iowa & the Big Ten...

Illinois held serve on its home court in beating Northwestern by double digits, but the game was close in the second half and the Wildcats were playing without Vedran Vukusic, the second leading scorer in the league. Vukusic was said to have had a sore back.

Embattled Indiana entered the day two games back of Iowa in the loss column, but their road loss at Penn State drops them to 5-6 and word is that Mike Davis has resigned as the Hoosier head man. Unlike Quin ‘I won't quit' Snyder, Mike ‘I won't quit' Davis is going to coach the team the rest of the season, or so said the reports late Wednesday night.

Iowa's next opponent, Minnesota, took one on the chin at Michigan 72-50 in a game that wasn't as close as the final score would ‘indicate'; Minnesota trailed 35-6 at one point in the first half.

Here is how the top half of the Big Ten standings look right now:

Iowa 9-3 (20-6)
Wisconsin 8-4 (18-7)
Ohio State 7-4 (21-4)
Illinois 7-4 (18-4)
Michigan 7-5 (17-6)
Michigan State 6-5 (18-7)

CLICK HERE for the remaining schedules of the contenders.

Indiana is now 5-6 and 13-9 overall. That team is in danger of playing its way out of an NCAA tournament bid. The Big Ten has been somewhat of a lock to get seven teams into the Big Dance all season long, but no longer.

MVP?

If Iowa wins the Big Ten title, a strong case will be made for Greg Brunner as the league's MVP. He currently leads the Big Ten in rebounding with 10.3 per game and he is 12th in scoring at 14.3 points per game. Should Wisconsin finish in first, or in second, Alando Tucker will garner attention for this award as well, as he leads the league in scoring at 20.4 points per game.

HERE WE GO AGAIN

Life as an Iowa Hawkeye fan is quite interesting. You have to deal with the Kirk Ferentz to the NFL rumors each year, and it seems that every other year, Steve Alford to Indiana comes a calling as well.

With the reports that Mike Davis has resigned from Indiana surfacing on Wednesday night, this speculation about Alford to Indiana will be as heavy as its every been and then some.

That is a shame because the spotlight deserves to be on this year's players and the coaching staff for what is taking place.

You have a team that is made up primarily of native Iowans, you have the overcoming of years of adversity that makes for a real nice story and the fact that Iowa is doing things right now that it has never done in Carver Hawkeye Arena and the fact that it is in a title hunt this late in the season for the first time since the early 1980's.

That should be more than enough for any feature writer's delight.

But what did we see Tuesday night on ESPN? We saw the Mike Davis-Steve Alford-Indiana job garbage right off the top, on a night when Iowa won the most important game every played in CHA. Iowa's 8th win over a ranked opponent this year, Iowa's 8th win over teams that are currently in the RPI Top 50.

I am not going to tell you that you can't or shouldn't post about it on the message boards; as long as people don't break the few rules we have regarding decency and respect, there is little policing of the boards.

But before you post a question asking who will be the next Iowa coach, one that is certain to have been posted on the boards five times that day, maybe think about talking about this year's team and what it is doing. They deserve it.

There will be more than enough time to speculate on that other stuff along the way.

However, you should prepare yourself for an onslaught of this stuff from the national talking heads. Expect Billy Packer to be all over this come the Big Ten Tournament, and perhaps look for another ‘You're from Freaking Iowa' outburst at the NCAA tournament.


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