Eating Babies PK Sweeping Michigan State
I'm on a streak of "complicated solution to thing that may not be a problem" posts, but here's another one: the Big Ten is moving to a division-less basketball system in which you play four teams once and seven teams twice. This will prompt complaints about schedule balance similar to those launched when the Big Ten played only 16 conference games*. That setup saw four "one-plays" and six home-and-home teams and often saw one team competing for a league title have an obviously smoother road than their competitors; this is almost as bad. Now that Michigan basketball competing for a Big Ten title no longer seems completely laughable, this is IMPORTANT.
Let's not make these one-plays random. Let's divide the Big Ten into four groups based on record, like so:
#1: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Purdue
#2: Michigan, Illinois, Michigan State
#3: Penn State, Nebraska, Northwestern
#4: Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana
Now pick one team from each group you're not in. Those are three of your four one-offs. The fourth is a bit trickier: pair up two teams in each group; those are one-plays and done. The leftovers from 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 are also one-plays.
Basketball teams vary from year to year but there's a strong correlation from one year to the next when it comes to record; this system would significantly mitigate situations where one title contender has a big edge in schedule over another.
As a bonus, you could try to protect certain rivalries without having them explicitly guaranteed—pair Purdue with Iowa, not Indiana, and Michigan with Illinois, not Michigan State. I'm with everyone else who thinks not having protected rivalries is dumb. Here's a way to have almost-protected rivalries without doing too much to unbalance schedules.
*[Going to 18 and dumping two guarantee games was widely supposed to be an effort to get the BTN more and better content, and now they're breaking the deadlock in western hockey conferences and getting Michigan out of their chintzy we-can't-host-here-and-we-employ-Mark-Wilkins situation. As a bonus, the extraordinarily annoying Minnesota fans on USCHO are livid. Go BTN.]
Should be preserved at all costs. Acknowledging that should be the first step - but that may take away from the unnecessarily complicated aspect of the solution...
We're the only two left on the dance floor; it hardly makes us a couple.
Indiana, yes; Notre Dame, yes (if only in the same way that Michigan and MSU view Notre Dame, meaning that of course we all know these are rivalries even if Irish fans see U$C and no no else save the service academies); Illinois, kind of. (There is a cannon and all that.)
In basketball, Indiana (obviously) ... more recently, Michigan State and Wisconsin, but that's really it.
Delany saying something doesn't make it so.
It's not exactly that ND fans deny that we're an important opponent. They just think "rival" is too sporting. They hate us more than that. They call us their "historic enemy," or something.
OTOH, I don't think they have strong feelings for MSU, except following the occasional flag-planting incident and such.
could you come up with an incredibly complicated solution for the MHSAA basketball playoffs? I might be one of only a dozen or so people who hate the current non-system, but I REALLY hate it. A lot.
As for the suggested B1G system...I wouldn't mind seeing this implemented. To set the groups you could use something like average record/B1G finish over five years, just so one weirdly great or terrible year doesn't serve to alter the grouping of an otherwise meh or good program.
Programs can have strong and weak periods too. For instance, Purdue was not very good from 2001-2006, but rebounded. However, their poor records from their down years would serve to underrate them over the course of several years for the purposes of thsi exercise.
just throwing the idea out there. What stretch would work? Three years?
Why not just allow for conference schedule strengths to be unfair since there is a 68 team post season. If your conference schedule is very hard, you can set up an easier out of conference schedule, and overall strength of schedule calculations should balance out
I think Brian acknowledges that with the "complicated solution to thing that may not be a problem" line.
And if schedules are badly unbalanced, and winning the title becomes at least partly due to scheduling differences, that's a problem.
I prefer playing everyone twice, even if that eats into the noncon schedule, but this might be the next best thing. Since the next smart thing the Big Ten conference execs do since the expansion will be the first smart thing they've done, I'm not holding my breath.
Because conference titles should matter.
Isn't that what the Big Ten Tournament is for (it's what determines the NCAA autobid...)?
I don't care who wins the BTT. Good hoops tournaments are exciting, but they don't determine the best team of the season. Penn State made the finals this year - good for them, but had they beaten Ohio State, would that make them the Big Ten's best team? Certainly not. In my opinion the best team in the conference is determined over the course of a season and not from a particular game.
season not the tourney. And I say, play everyone twice. So we only have 10 non conference games instead of 14. Wouldn't you rather see home-home with Indiana, Iowa, Purdue every year instead of S.W. Louisiana or Costal Carolina?
Home and home is the best. I was really glad to see the conference get back to that. Sadly, I think the Athletic Directors are not going to agree to dropping more lame out of conference games. Hoops might not be quite as bad as football in that respect, but it's close.
has been a sordid tale of futility dating back to when the Olmecs planted the first seedlings of wild corn in Mesoamerica.
Adding Nebraska football to the Big Ten?Nice win.
Cornhusker basketball? "Awww Jeeeeze Edith!"
Well I think this solution would work, but probably not as well as just making two divisions. I mean, you're basically making 4 divisions.
One idea would be for everyone to play everyone else twice. Once at home and once on the road. It's a novel concept that would ensure fairness, sell more tickets and improve TV ratings. It wouldn't screw season ticket holders out of missing games against MSU, OSU, Wisconsin and other top teams and would improve everyone's strength of schedule. 22 conference games. Is 4 extra conference games really too much to ask? Michigan probably loses money when they schedule the likes of Bryant University.
when this was discussed. An expanded conference schedule is not necessarily going to improve teams' SOS (especially not if Iowa or Indiana was a one-off the previous season); ticket sales are not going up and ratings aren't going up. Another Ohio State/Purdue game might draw reasonable ratings, but you don't just get the games at the top, you get the Iowa/Indiana matchups as well, and you can't mandate non-conference scheduling. Teams are just as likely to drop strong opponents as weak ones, maybe more likely if they feel they're bubble-quality teams.
Strength of schedule isn't an issue in the Big Ten: while this year, the selection committee may have been a bit generous, few Big Ten teams end up on the outside looking in when they have a decent conference record. It's not like the ACC or the Pac-10.
A longer conference schedule would make it more difficult to judge the conference's relative strength (by removing opportunities to measure ourselves against other conferences) and could even affect performance in postseason games by reducing exposure to different styles of play. It could be argued that there are two styles of play in the Big Ten: an outsider would probably describe them as "slow and slower". Playing extra games against Penn State and Wisconsin isn't going to prepare teams better for opponents like VCU and Kentucky.
helped out SOS? Some did, but most didn't. That is where your argument falls apart.
If we are going to be in the Big Ten, then let's play Big Ten schools.
Does anyone really care about the regular season Big Ten BB title? There's a conference tournament followed by a 68-team national playoff (which the top few Big Ten teams are generally invited to, regardless of how they perform in the conference tourney). Any team with a legitimate claim to the title has ample opportunity to prove themselves.
I think I can up the complication quotient and the fun quotient at the same time
Play everyone else once.
First weekend of the conference season, three 4-team mini tournaments based on last year's standings. Saturday and Sunday games with a consulation game so everyone gets their games in. Next year for example...
Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Michigan in Columbus.
Illinois, Michigan State, Penn State, and Northwestern at Ill.
Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, and Nebraska at Minnesota.
Three weeks later, another set of mini tournaments at the sites of last year's 2,3,6. For example.
1,6,7,12 @ 6. OSU, PSU, MSU, Nebraska at PSU.
2,5,8,11 @ 5. Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana at Purdue.
3,4,9,10 @3. Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa at Wisc.
Three weeks later, another set of mini tournaments.
1,4,9,11 @ 4. OSU, UM, Minn, Indiana @ UM.
2,6,8,10 @ 8. Purdue, PSU, Northwestern, Iowa @ Northwestern.
3,5,7,12 @ 7. Wisc, Ill, MSU, Nebraska @ MSU.
Final weekend before the BTT, position round. 1vs2, 3vs4... on the higher seed's home floor.
So, 11 one plays + 6 tournament games + 1 position round = 18 games.
1, you somewhat earn your strength of schedule. Win Saturday tournament games, play tougher teams on Sunday. Coverse is obviously true as well. Finish higher in the standings, get a tougher position round game.
2, teams get prepared for tournament atmosphere and quick turnarounds. Tournament titles could be the first tie breaker to add incentive.
3, awesome for the fans.
Realistic? Probably not, but it'd be awesome.
1, I don't know if this is really allowed in NCAA scheduling.
2, Home games. 10, 11, and 12 don't get to host a tournament. To compensate for this, they are guaranteed to have 6 home and 5 away during the 11 normal one plays. They are also guaranteed to be home during position round regardless of seeding unless they end up playing one of the other two teams that didn't host a tournament.