Big Ten Wonk
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
BONUS Rick Majerus-inspired change-in-plans edition!
Yesterday Wonk alerted readers to the fact that he would be traveling today and that there would be no Tuesday post. Wonk is traveling--off to the airport in a bit here--but my admiration for Rick Majerus is such that I've decided to do a 180 just to keep the folks guessing. (One scoop ESPN didn't get!) Plus I'm up early....

Are head-cases really easier to predict than gamers?
Last week Wonk updated the All-Wonk and All-Head-Case teams, each of which had its inception in those bygone days of early November 2004. In the case of the All-Wonk Team, only Ohio State's Terence Dials kept his spot. Elsewhere, Mike Wilkinson, T.J. Parker, Greg Brunner, and Lester Abram were replaced by Jeff Horner, Aaron Johnson, Maurice Ager, and Carl Landry.

But in the case of the All-Head-Case Team, Wonk stood pat: Bracey Wright, Pierre Pierce, Paul Davis, Nick Smith, and Daniel Horton looked like head-case locks to Wonk seven weeks ago and they still do.

This leads to an intriguing question: are head-cases actually more stable by virtue of their very instability than the proverbial team player? To address this question, Wonk herewith offers the Crispin Glover Hypothesis: head-cases don't change. With talented shooting guards as with family members, we yearn for them to change and hail the slightest token adult gesture as a sign of maturation. But they don't truly change.

Wonk emphasizes the word "hypothesis." Surely there are instances of one-time head-cases who turned it around. Clue wonk in!

(All about Crispin Glover here.)

In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
Arizona State beat Northwestern last night in Tempe by the notably lopsided score of 90-55. (Links here and here.) The Wildcats were outscored 55-23 in the second half and the Sun Devils drained 13 of 20 three's for the game.

Iowa faces Texas Tech tonight at the United Center in Chicago. (Links here, here, and here.) "We're playing a team that we try to mimic," says coach Steve Alford. "Our defensive rules are right from coach Knight's book. Our screening, how we cut, how we move the ball offensively - that's straight from coach Knight's program." Meanwhile Susan Harman of the Iowa City Press-Citizen says a game in the United Center is in effect a "home" game for the Hawkeyes. She's right: there are similarities to Carver-Hawkeye. For one thing, as of a couple weeks ago, only 4,500 to 5,000 tickets had been sold. (Hi-yo!)

Michigan State hosts UCLA in East Lansing tonight. (Links here and here. More from the Waiting for Neitzel beat here.) BONUS note on Wonk's vast influence. Fresh off being hailed by your intrepid blogger as having the conference's fifth-best numbers in PPWS, State's Alan Anderson gets some too-long-delayed print love.

Penn State hosts Buffalo tonight in State College. The Nittany Lions will play without senior Jamaal Tate, who has decided to quit the team in order to focus on his recovery from alcoholism.

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