Blog Entry

Dear Gary (on a dumb Big Ten reader)

Posted on: November 13, 2008 11:51 am
Edited on: November 13, 2008 1:25 pm

Here's Thursday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Not that preseason projections are ever worth two cents, but your projections are pretty nuts. You only have Michigan State as a No. 3 seed? I promise (the Spartans) will earn a No. 2 seed at least. You also only have four teams from the Big Ten making the NCAA tournament. Even in down years the Big Ten earns five spots. There will be at least six Big Ten teams in the tournament this year. It seems that the bad press the Big Ten has received in football is spreading.

-- Todd

Seriously folks, this is what I deal with regularly.

Just idiots.

I got this email this morning (which I'll destroy momentarily) in addition to another last night from a guy named Bobby, who wrote (and I quote): "Basketball has not even started yet dumbass!" Of course, basketball started Monday afternoon, but whatever. You can't expect Bobby to keep up with the rest us.

Anyway, now to Todd, who is equally stupid, although I admit it is pretty nuts for me to project Michigan State as a No. 3 seed when Todd thinks Michigan State will be a No. 2 seed. I mean, that's a difference of like one whole seed. It's crazy! So you can see where he's coming from, I guess.

As for Todd's other promise -- that there will be at least six Big Ten teams in the tournament this season -- I'll just say I can't imagine it happening. Four is likely, five is a stretch and six seems downright impossible. But that's merely a difference of opinion, and we can all disagree on stuff like that in November.

That said, Todd's belief that the Big Ten gets five spots even in "down years" is uninformed.

What was last season, Todd?

The Big Ten only got four berths last season.

And what was 2004, Todd?

The Big Ten only got three berths that season.

I guess those were really, really, really, down years as opposed to just the plain old down years Todd was referencing. That's probably what he meant, right? Because he couldn't have possibly been spouting off statistics that don't hold up under even one year of research. Because that would be dumb, and Todd couldn't possibly be that dumb, could he?


Since: Sep 21, 2007
Posted on: May 20, 2009 1:18 am

Nice call Todd - Go State

Todd is God!  Wow, nice work Todd.  Although Gary certainly has a point with griping over a 1 seed difference.  Big Ten was solid this year and the Spartans represented well.  Looking for a cameo act next year.  Go GREEN

Los Gatos, CA

Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: May 6, 2009 11:53 am

Dear Gary (on a dumb Big Ten reader)


In retrospect, it looks like Todd was not such an idiot after all.  Michigan State turned out to be a 2-seed that lived up to (and above) its potential, and the Big Ten put seven teams into the tourney.  He may have been off on his history, but it seems his predictions turned out to be quite a bit more accurate than yours. 

Another Big Ten Hoops Fan

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2008 11:16 pm

Dear Gary (on a dumb Big Ten reader)

You're right, facts are facts. Fact: Ohio State's run came in the NIT. Your argument is ridiculous. The NCAA caved to the pressure of not allowing three undeserving teams in the tournament, and made sure not to let Ohio State in, especially not when Virginia Tech and Arizona State were also on the sidelines.

Since: Oct 19, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2008 4:12 am

Dear Gary (on a dumb Big Ten reader)

You can point to all the bracket projections you want, but when people don't appreciate how well a team comes together at the end of the year, their opinion doesn't hold a lot of weight in my mind.  Ohio State beat two top-25 teams, Purdue and Michigan State, in back-to-back games in March and then had to turn around and play MSU again in their first game of the Big Ten tournament.  In a game that was nip & tuck all the way, MSU came out with the win.  MSU then came out and almost beat Wisconsin (probably should have, but that's another matter), and was a #5 seed.  The reality is MSU was a very good team, and anyone who watched OSU beat Purdue and then them and then play them tough in back-to-back-to-back games would realize that OSU was a team to be reckoned with at the end of the year.  MSU went on to the Sweet 16, beating Big East tournament champ Pitt in the process (much more easily than they beat OSU in the Big 10 tourney).  OSU was better than Kentucky without Patrick Patterson, I don't know how anyone could rationally believe otherwise.  This was an OSU team that drastically improved from where they were at the start of the year, and I don't think that's something that teams like Oregon can claim.  Does stringing together three excellent games against top-25 competition in March earn you an NCAA bid?  It should get you in ahead of teams like Kentucky and Oregon with lower RPIs, fewer wins and less impressive conference tournament performances.

You can dump on OSU's NIT opponents all you want, but facts are facts:  OSU's 2008 NIT championship was the most dominant run in the  NIT in the past 20+ years.  If there were a more dominant team in the NIT in the past 20 years, they didn't play like it.   The Dayton team that played OSU was at full-strength since Chris Wright returned the game before that, unlike the team they fielded much of the season (don't forget that Dayton, at full strength, was 12-1, destroyed Pitt early in the year by 25 and beat Louisville on the road).  Asheville lost to OSU by more points than they lost to North Carolina and Tennessee by.  Cal sucked and the game wasn't even competitive after halftime - the final score could've been a lot worse.  UMass was a team that played their heart out and came up short because they were playing against a team that just shouldn't have been in the NIT.

The reality is the selection committee didn't want to have to justify having more teams from the Big 10 in the NCAA tournament than they had from the ACC, so they caved to the pressure of that and made sure not to let OSU in and instead they indulged the Kentucky fans by letting them have an NCAA berth that they didn't deserve because there are more UK fans who deeply care about basketball than OSU fans who deeply care about basketball.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: November 13, 2008 10:05 pm

Dear Gary (on a dumb Big Ten reader)

First off, Todd, if preseason projections are meaningless and you acknowledge that, then why even send an email?  Do you really care what anyone's preseason rankings are or where you are projected to go?  And to complain because said projections put your team a seed lower than you wanted...seems a bit silly.

On the other hand Parrish, give ole Todd credit for being passionate about his team, wanting them to succeed and while no he didn't have all his facts right, he is at least a fan that cares.  To call him an idiot is a bit much (even if he is one) cause without guys like him, you are out of a job.  As a media writer, you need these guys (and on occasion, I am sure some gals) or you would have nothing to write about in your blog?  So you too...stop complaining.  We all deal with idiots no matter what job we are in so that makes me wonder, if we all deal with so many idiots, are we dealing with the same people or are we dealing with each other?  Too bad Carlin is dead, I bet he would know.

As for your rankings, I see no problems with what you have, it's just a wild guess at this point based on what you know from last year, heck how many teams are out there?  And you are expected to know everything about each one so when you look into your crystal ball you know in preseason what teams are there?  And then people get bent out of shape if you don't agree with them?  Holy smokes...people wake up, this is one man's opinion and no, he is not always right, and yes, you can disagree with him, but just know that if you do, you may end up in his next blog being called an idiot.

Take a look at college football...find me anyone who preseason would tell you that Texas Tech and Alabama would be ranked 1 and 2 at this me you can't.  So take the rankings for what they are, fun for preseason and if Parrish gets the top ten right, then he is damn good, cause everyone knows teams will lose and other teams will win.  Find me anyone who would have told you Stephen Curry would lead his team where they went last year and again I tell you, you can't find that person.   That's why they play the games.

Since: Oct 19, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2008 2:25 pm

Dear Gary (on a dumb Big Ten reader)

Another fun fact, since Gary mentioned 2004:  Michigan in 2004 had the second-highest average margin of victory of all NIT champs since the adoption of the universal 3-point line in 1986-87 (second to OSU"s 2008 team, of course). 

Looks like the selection committee is just leaving out good Big 10 teams in those years when they only get three or four bids.

Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: November 13, 2008 2:23 pm

Dear Gary (on a dumb Big Ten reader)


The Bracket Project -- which is a damn fine site that can be found -- documented 53 final bracket projections last season, and only eight of them had Ohio State in the field. That suggests nobody really thought a fifth Big Ten deserved to make it, including the Selection Committee.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: November 13, 2008 2:22 pm

Dear Gary (on a dumb Big Ten reader)

No, it doesn't. It was the NIT. Ohio State played five teams that didn't deserve to be in the NCAA's. They played UNC-Asheville, who would have been bombed in the NCAA's. They played Cal, who was one loss from a losing record. They played Dayton, who tanked badly in A-10 play. They played a decent Mississippi team who was a good NIT team, but not NCAA quality. They then beat Massachusetts, who wasn't anything special. This means Ohio State was quality? I mean, Oregon and Arizona had no right to be there, but you can't say a team should have gone based on its NIT run. Virginia Tech and Arizona State should have had those bids.

Since: Oct 19, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2008 1:51 pm

Dear Gary (on a dumb Big Ten reader)

Gary - you're right that the Big 10 only got four bids last year, but was that actually the way it should've been?

Here are some facts:  Ohio State won the NIT with an average margin of victory (13 points) greater than ANY team since the adoption of the universal 3-point line in 1986-87.  Additionally, no team since the 64/65 team NCAA tournament had won all their NIT games by at least 7 points (or won four games by at least 10 points) until OSU's run last year.  Those facts show that there is a strong argument to be made that last year's Ohio State team was the best team to not make the NCAA tournament in the past 20+ years.  Instead of that Ohio State team, you got teams with both fewer wins and a lower RPI like Oregon and a Patrick Patterson-les Kentucky team that had just lost to SEC bottom-feeder Georgia.

The Big 10 didn't get 5 bids last year, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't have gotten five bids. 

Since: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2008 1:02 pm

Dear Gary (on a dumb Big Ten reader)



Why do I picture Todd in his sisters basement with a Cheesehead on drinking a Schlitz????

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