Mike Miller: It’s the last full week of June and things are … slow. Even in a normal timeline, we’d be entering the sleepiest time in the college sports calendar. The College World Series would be over, recruiting would be quieting down ahead of Independence Day and athletic departments across the country would be emptying so that staffers might use some vacation days before the fall sports season ramps up in July.
Luckily for us, the Big Ten Network revealed its men’s basketball all-decade teams this week to give us something to talk about. An expert panel of 24 judges, including media members, former players and former coaches, came together to select three teams of the best performers from the last 11 (?) seasons.
And hooooo buddy, are BTN’s teams something.
First, a look at how it all shook out:
Andy Wittry: haha good one Mike, now post the real All-Decade teams
MM: The only thing I’ve missed more than getting mad at sports games is getting mad at online sports lists, that famous feeling we all know and love
Auston Matricardi: Thanks Mike. That all-decade team just popped up on my screen and my infant niece started crying. Coincidence? I think not.
MM: I don’t even know where to start
AM: We should probably address the elephant in the room.
(vaguely gestures toward the goofy looking dude from Washington)
AW: maybe my timeline is wrong but Yogi didn’t commit until right after Zeller right? by transitive property alone, let alone being an All-American, Cody probably has to be there if IU gets two players
AM: Yogi could get a boost for being a 4-year guy and IU’s all-time assists leader
MM: Guys, I’m getting mad looking at that entire third team
AW: my 3-year-old daughter just walked up to me and said, “Daddy, why is Jordan Murphy on the All-Decade Third Team when he was the highest-usage player on a Gopher offense in 2017-18 and they went just 15-17, losing 14 of their final 16 games, and his offensive rating was roughly average and he had the highest TO% among rotation players? I don’t understand.”
MM: Smart kid!
AM: Kid’s well-read
AW: don’t get her started on Richard Pitino
MM: And here’s the thing! You can make an argument for so many dudes, Zeller, Nik Stauskas, Gary Harris, among them. Hell, even Keita Bates-Diop! Impossibly, Murphy and Aaron Craft got the nod!
The BTN panel loves GRIT
AM: On the topic of that third-team, it’s so incredibly powerful that one-and-done D’Angelo Russell got the nod over Zeller. Does the panel love longevity and grit or stars that burn brightly and quickly? Well it hard to say.
MM: Yeah, you almost have to respect the panel’s hustle. Just a great call.
AW: you could argue Michigan was the program of the decade and they have one (1) player
and the last thing I want to do is give Wisconsin any more love but you could probably find room for another Badger
[gets zapped by dog collar]
MM: Yeah! Jordan Taylor, the man I would take one billion times out of a billion times over Aaron Craft!
AM: 1) Dam Sekker
2) Sam Dekker feels like a guy who fits in the discussion
AW: Taylor, Dekker, even Nigel Hayes could be a fringe Third Teamer
[sitting in kindergarten reading circle] gather round, kids. let’s try to spot the differences between these two images
[holds up Maryland’s recruiting rankings in one hand, BTN’s All-Decade teams in the other]
MM: Hey. Around here, we respect Maryland, the last Big Ten school to win the national title
remember when Maryland started the year ranked No. 3? I wonder what happened next
MM: Speaking of odd Ohio State choices, what the hell is Evan Turner doing here? He only played 18 games in the decade! He is best known for playing the bulk of his college career not in this decade!
AM: He’s The Villain. He has to be on the list, dems the rules
AW: I’ll actually defend Turner. He was the NPOY in 2010 so you kind of have to have him but you’re right, he only had a cup of coffee at Ohio State last decade
What do we think about Tom Izzo as the coach of the decade?
I think it’s probably the right choice from the State Media but Beilein has a case, as does
Tom Crean, winner of two outright Big Ten titles in four years, and I even pulled up Thad Matta to look at his decade pound-for-pound
AM: I think it’s important to note that Thad has the best spoonerism of the group
AW: Mad Thot-a
AM: That’s right
MM: Hell yeah
AM: Izzo is probably right, but I think I might lean Beilein
MM: I mean, I’m not going to lose my mind over Izzo, but Beilein would be my pick. Plus, you’re hearing that he may have won the 2013 national title*. You’re hearing that more and more
AM: Let’s play a game
Player A: 16.1 pts, 7.3 reb, 1.3 ast career, consensus AA, led the B1G in PER two years in a row
Player B: 14.4 pts, 10.4 reb, 2.4 ast career, consensus AA, one (1) 2nd-place PER finish in the B1G
Player C: 13.7 pts, 6.1 reb, 0.7 ast career, consensus AA, 7th- and 2nd-place PER finishes in the B1G
Which two would you take?
AW: “uhhhh, I’ll have the combo with A and B, with a side of fries and a Coke. No option C on my burger please.”
MM: Gimme A and C for the hell of it
AM: Congratulations! You guys are smarter than the BTN panel! Player A is Cody Zeller, Player B is Caleb Swanigan, and Player C is JaJuan Johnson
MM: It’s really too bad that the panel didn’t get the chance to consider Hoosiers For Life Dante Exum and Thon Maker
MM: Folks, a source in Columbus tells me that the BTN Panel just dropped their Thurminators in their laps and ruined their nice, clean TV clothes while eating and celebrating at the Thurman Cafe today. You hate to see it, terrible scene.
AM: I heard that the BTN Panel was seen on a private flight landing at Monroe County Airport earlier today. They’re reportedly looking for houses in Bloomington.
MM: Any final thoughts on ... ummmm ... whatever the hell this list is?
AW: I can’t wait to see which Rutger player gets named player of the decade
MM: Maybe this will be the decade of rutger
AM: *the decade rutger gets demoted to the AAC.
MM: On that note, let’s get out of here.
AM: Sounds good to me
MM: * kevin wilson voice *