Big Ten Wonk
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Mystery solved
During the Duke-Michigan State game Tuesday night, when Paul Davis went to the line in the second half, a strange chant arose from the Cameron Crazies. "What are they saying?" Wonk wondered aloud. No one else watching with Wonk could understand the chant, either.

They were chanting "Caroline." They'd heard it was the name of an ex of the big man's. Say this for the Crazies. They do their due diligence.

In yesterday afternoon's less Wonk-ish venues....
Frank Burlison of the Sporting News, posting at a time when bashful politicians are issuing bad-news press releases (Friday afternoon at 3), thought he could sneak this past Wonk. Wrong! Burlison says:
"After seeing most everyone play over the first three weeks of the season, I'd say Weber's Illini team is a solid notch better than anyone else right now. Its offensive explosiveness and efficiency (both in transition and half-court settings), selflessness and commitment to sound defense appear almost at April-level."

In today's less Wonk-ish venues
Memphis beat Purdue in West Lafayette last night, 62-51. (Links here and here.) The Boilermakers led this game with 14 minutes to go but shot only 6-of-26 in the second half. In their last three games, all losses, Purdue has been outscored in the second half by an average of nine points. Wonk hesitates to say the water's out of the tub but it's not exactly reassuring to hear coach Gene Keady muse that the answer to the Boilermakers' woes might be a shake-up in the rotation that gives more playing time to...Andrew Ford and Chris Hartley.

Iowa advanced to the championship game of its Hawkeye Classic with an 88-53 victory last night over a not very scrappy Centenary squad. (Links here and here.) In the Classic's other game, North Carolina-Greensboro defeated Southern Mississippi, thus denying the locals the opportunity of seeing former Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy pit his Southern Miss team against the Hawkeyes.

Penn State beat Lock Haven in Happy Valley last night by the notably lopsided score of 94-46. (Link here.)

Michigan State plays George Washington this afternoon in the BB&T Classic in the MCI Center in Washington DC. (Game-day preview here.) A win for the Spartans would set up a likely game against Maryland tomorrow.

Indiana plays at Connecticut this afternoon. (Game-day preview here.) Gregg Doyel of cbs.sportsline says coach Mike Davis can't be feeling too comfortable these days in light of what's befallen Tyrone Willingham and Indiana football coach Gerry DiNardo.

Illinois plays Arkansas at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock this afternoon. (Game-day previews here, here, and here. View from the Razorbacks' turf here.) Arkansas is coached by former Tom Izzo assistant Stan Heath.

Michigan hosts Notre Dame today. (Game-day preview here.)

Wisconsin plays at Rutgers tonight. (Game-day preview here.)

Also: Northwestern hosts Chicago State tonight.

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