Projecting the B1G Bracket FINAL

March 4, 2019

Written by Jon Miller

Here is my last, ill-fated attempt to project how the Big Ten Standings and thus the Big Ten Tournament Bracket will look.  Here is a link to my first one of these, from one month ago.  Here were my projections from that first go:

Here is what my final projection looks like:

Here is how I see the games playing out this week:

Here is what the bracket would look like if things go the way I see them going this week:

Thanks again to the folks at bball.nothing.net for creating this software program.

From an Iowa perspective…just get the Hawkeyes playing games without Big Ten officials…the way the league continually allows clutching and grabbing on the perimeter, more and more as the conference season drags on, it is Iowa’s kryptonite.

A lot of people want to write about how Iowa has swooned late in seasons under Fran McCaffery…I am not saying the ‘evolving’ officiating is THE reason…but I think it plays a part. The Rutgers and Ohio State games have been more akin to rugby than basketball, and the Scarlet Knights and Buckeyes were clearly making a point to rough up Iowa’s guards…and the refs allowed it.

Every year, we hear about how removing physical play on the perimeter is going to be a ‘point of emphasis’ in the sport…

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Once again this year, before the year began, officials were reminded to continue their efforts, to ‘reduce physicality, to create freedom of movement.’  Officials were instructed to ‘be diligent, to call the rules as written.’

In this video, narrated by JD Collins, the National Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officiating, he talks about this… and shows what are SUPPOSED to be whistled as fouls.  Never mind that defenders in the post are legally not allowed to ‘lay on their opponent, or swim-stroke their arms’ in the post…because that stuff gets called about as often as a three-second violation.

Here are a couple of notes from the rule book:

While I am at it, let’s just post a link to the NCAA’s rule book, right here.  Here is the first page on what fouls are…I was going to highlight a few key points, but they are all pretty key:

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The desire to improve freedom of movement to the sport and take it back to something that resembles basketball, the way it was created, began back in 2013…so every danged year since, we have seen a ton of off-season emphasis amongst officials…and then all the preseason lip-service on ‘points of emphasis’ etc.

I will give them credit..they have really hammered the hook and hold and flagrant stuff this year, as evidenced as the myriad of mind-numbing stoppages of play to go to the review monitor.

But I’ll be damned if Big Ten officials are calling the game the way it’s supposed to be called relative to clutching and grabbing on the ball. It’s getting to the point where it’s really hard to watch, because it’s not basketball.

I see this ALL OF THE TIME in the Big Ten…It may be prominent elsewhere, but I don’t spend a ton of time watching games outside of the Big Ten, so I can’t speak to other leagues.

In the Big Ten, this is a problem, and the officials are allowing a style of play that is clearly and undeniably outside the scope of the rulebook. Since that is irrefutable, you can take your ‘Jon, you are just making excuses’ crap to the side of the curb with your other garbage, because I am not having it. Let me refer you to the rule book a little closer, once more:

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Here is something that is an opinion, my opinion: The way Big Ten officials call the game, ignoring the rules of the game which are known to them and everyone, hurts Iowa as much as any team in the Big Ten.

Why is that?

Because Iowa consistently lacks guards who can create their own points off the dribble…they consistently lack guards who can get past opposing clutching and grabbing defenders and get to the rim…and this causes the offense to gum up, it causes entry passes into half court sets to initiate much higher on the court than is optimal, it makes passing lanes more dangerous…in otherwise, it helps to make Iowa incredibly challenged on offense.

The level of clutching and grabbing always gets worse as the season wears on…always…and more often than not, Iowa has struggled over the last 25% of its seasons. Not always, but more often than not.

Iowa has a collection of very good shooters and it has more post scoring options than most teams have. It’s no surprise that Iowa has struggled the past few weeks, as I have noticed more and more clutching and grabbing during this span than I have seen before this season…it’s no surprise that Tyler Cook and Luka Garza are not as productive, because they are having to come out higher to receive entry passes. This will lead to a lower shooting percentage for the bigs and more turnovers because they have to put the ball on the floor to get closer to the basket.

Frankly, Iowa may become a better team overnight once they get to the NCAA tournament…the downside is they may limp enough to the finish line where they will be facing a #1 seed in the round of 32 as their seed line continues to drop.

I want to repeat something I said before…I am NOT saying that the inconsistent officiating in this regarding is THE reason Iowa’s struggles have been so pronounced this year, and in other years under McCaffery…but I absolutely think it’s a significant reason…and for the sake of the sport, and not just Iowa and not just the Big Ten, I would be all for a few seasons of foul and whistle hell to return the game to what it should be; fluid, move your feet and keep your hands off.

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