While there are few certainties in the world of college sports these days, some things are undeniably clear. On Monday, some big time names reinforced that thought during a series of meetings with the media.
To name a few of those certainties: The BCS system is a fundamentally-flawed, biased, and trite organization that needs to be done away with; college superstars will almost always leave the NCAA early in an effort to get a shot at making it big in the pros; and the Big Ten Conference is nowhere near what it used to be in the world of college football thanks to the stranglehold over the Bowl Championship Series held by SEC teams like Alabama and Georgia.
But if you listened to what some Big Ten basketball coaches like Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and his contemporaries had to say on Monday, you wouldn’t feel too bad about some of these things.
Their message? The Big Ten is king in the world of NCAA basketball. And no one is prepared to argue against that right now.
The Big Ten has a nation-high six teams ranked in the top 25 as of Monday, with four of those teams being in the top 10, including No. 1 Indiana, No. 3 Michigan, No. 7 Ohio State and a scrappy, unbeaten No. 10 Illinois team.
“This league definitely has to be the best it’s been in my era,” said Izzo, who has been with Michigan State since 1983, back in his days as an assistant under legendary MSU leader Jud Heathcote.
There is certainly a lot for conference fans to be proud of at the start of this season. No other league has made such a presence or had quite the immediate impact that teams in the Big Ten have had, and each coach knows just how good the other team’s leaders can be when their number is drawn.
“Michigan and Ohio State have played really good,” Izzo said. “What I haven’t seen, I haven’t even seen it with Indiana, I haven’t looked at (everyone’s) schedule to see … you can play name teams and then you can play really good teams. There’s two different ways to look at them.
“A name program might not be a good team this year. So I’m not sure. (But) I think they’re all, they’re as worthy of being top five, six, seven teams as anybody else is.”
With two heartbreaking losses already on the season to the likes of Connecticut and Miami, the Spartans currently sit outside of the top 10 teams in the country at No. 19, but their impressive win over then-No. 7 Kansas displays their tenacity and penchant for being able to win big games in the clutch as well.
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