The Big Ten is my favorite conference of NCAA basketball. I might be a little biased… I like to think of my recent time in the Patriot’s League as justification for fair judgment, but in reality, no reasonable basketball fan would compare the Patriot’s league and Big Ten. See, even when I try, I cannot revert from my bias opinion. In all honesty, I really enjoy all conference college basketball games as so many unexpected match ups transform into exciting, intense, nail biters. But as a Midwesterner, and a child of the Big Ten, no conference quite compares. It’s all about the long-lived, thriving rivalries between MSU, OSU, UMICH, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Sometimes, we can let the students of fellow Indiana school Purdue think they are a threat.
Conference games always occur during my spring break. I often spend that time in California, shaking my head as my grandma raves about the Pack Twelve…the who?? Thankfully, this year I was in Florida, with non-basketball fans, so it was untainted ground. I could watch number one Indiana wipe the courts with the Big Ten title, and no one would be nagging me about a “better” conference. This also meant I was the only one glued to the 50inch plasma in my friend’s beautiful home. My spring break crew of six sorority sisters casually munched on guacamole and chips until one stopped to address me. “Miriam, you’re so quiet—what’s wrong?” Katie asked. We were down five with a minute to go, and it wasn’t looking good. I didn’t make a sound because I was focusing all my energy on channeling Zeller. Come on, use your height, drive down center and score a lay up. Back in reality, I responded, “They’re coming back.” Because I knew they were.
That night the Indiana Hoosiers gained a massive Big Ten feat and six new fans. The six friends I had come to Florida with had once been apathetic towards the NCAA and were often annoyed by my frequent references to the Hoosiers, but they were on the edge of their seats while the Hoosiers faced off against the Michigan Wolverines.
In the beginning of the season, Zeller was placed on an intimidatingly high pedestal, and as other players pulled their weight, many critics felt Zeller failed to live up to the high expectations set out for him. With a calm head and an unstoppable intensity, Zeller proved critics wrong when he swooshed two clutch shots at the 13-second mark and four second mark. Like all IU games though, the victory was earned through teamwork. With an assist from Watford, Zeller put the ball up for that game changing shot that ended the game 72-71.
To hear more about how Indiana did not end up clenching the overall Big Ten Title, see: http://fox59.com/2013/03/05/ohio-state-keeps-indiana-from-clinching-outright-big-ten-title/#axzz2QCPxEGDC