Big Ten Wonk
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Still more proof of the Wonk dictum: whining works
For weeks your intrepid blogger has been bemoaning the curious lack of blogs devoted to individual conference teams. Aside from the excellent Hawkeye Hoops site, Wonk has searched in vain for a blog that covers a Big Ten team, any team....

Until now! Wonk is delighted to herald the arrival of the tastefully named Illini Wonk blog, devoted exclusively to a certain #1 team that's been playing like a #19 the last couple games. Illini Wonk, Wonk salutes you!

That now brings the total number of Big Ten team-dedicated blogs up to two--and Wonk defines a blog as something in the first-person that's regularly updated. There is, granted, a handy Penn State blog that Wonk uses to find good stuff but it chooses to restrict itself to links only. And there is a Michigan blog that may yet achieve regularly-scheduled posting. (BONUS pre-emptive strike: Wonk is aware of the irony of mentioning "regularly-scheduled posting" when he himself has been posting sporadically of late. Hey, it's the holidays.)

But by and large the field is clear. Readers to your keyboards! Close thy Wonk and open thy Emerson: start blogging!

Gonzaga Bulldogs, Wonk salutes you!
Your intrepid blogger is late to this particular bandwagon, granted, but last night furnished the latest piece of proof that something extraordinary has taken place in the space of six seasons in Spokane, Washington. Gonzaga beat #3 Oklahoma State 78-75 in Oklahoma City. (Link here.) If this doesn't put the Zags in the top five (which of course it won't) then all polls are useless: Gonzaga's defeated Washington, Georgia Tech and now the Cowboys, losing only to Illinois. For a WCC team located on the border between Idaho and Washington to have this kind of resume--not to mention their record of success in March--is nothing less than a (beautiful) refutation of the college hoops givens that are supposed to hold sway everywhere and at all times. The Zags have somehow achieved escape velocity and put themselves into a one-team category of their own invention. Wonk salutes not only the players and coach Mark Few but also the until recently beleaguered Minnesota coach Dan Monson, who started this ball in motion. Well done, gentlemen.

In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
Indiana beat Ball State 71-59 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis last night. (Link here.) The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Hoosiers but was overshadowed by rumors of an alleged impending demise for coach Mike Davis. The perhaps aptly named Indianapolis TV station WISH reported before last night's game that Davis may be fired in the event of a loss. IU Athletic Director Rick Greenspan termed the report groundless.

Iowa beat Air Force 73-63 in Iowa City last night. (Links here, here, and here.) The Hawkeyes shot an I-guess-that's-acceptable .675 from the field.

Penn State continued its dogged one-team effort to bring down an entire conference's RPI, losing to previously 2-6 Valparaiso 69-56 last night at the ASU/ Hoops Classic in Tempe, Arizona. (Link here.) The Hoops Classic continues tonight with the Nittany Lions facing Long Island University.

Ohio State beat New Hampshire 77-59 in Columbus last night. (Link here.) Terence Dials posted 24 points and 14 boards.

Wisconsin hosts Alabama in Madison tonight. (Links here and here.)

Michigan State hosts North Carolina-Asheville tonight. (Link here.)

Minnesota hosts North Carolina-Greensboro tonight. (Link here.)

Trust Wonk: Michigan hosts Delaware State tonight but links are hard to come by with the Rose Bowl fast approaching. BONUS Wonk analysis: this is when you know you have a true football school on your hands.

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