Feb 6, 2013, 12:47 AM EDT
There are plenty of topics to focus a post on coming out of that thrilling, 76-74 overtime victory that No. 3 Michigan earned over No. 10 Ohio State on Tuesday night.
Tim Hardaway Jr., who has spent his career at Michigan trying to prove himself a consistent perimeter shooter, draining five of his six threes in the second half to keep Ohio State from pulling away.
LaQuinton Ross (16 points after never scoring more than eight in a Big Ten game in his career) and Amir Williams both playing the game of their lives, helping Ohio State build a seven-point second half lead despite a mediocre (by his standards) performance from Deshaun Thomas.
John Beilein’s decision to use Burke as a facilitator and, for a long stretch in the second half, as a decoy on the offensive end of the floor thanks to Aaron Craft’s ability to suffocate a ball-handler.
Thad Matta’s questionable play-calling down the stretch. Thomas didn’t get a touch on the offensive end of the floor in overtime while Ross didn’t get off the bench.
The emergence of Mitch McGary for John Beilein.
Should Aaron Craft have drawn a foul on his final, coast-to-coast layup attempt? (Probably.)
But all that? It’s besides the point here.
This was, simply put, a fantastic basketball game between two very good teams playing their best basketball in a jam-packed, raucous arena on national television on a Tuesday night. As good as it gets. And it came immediately after a mediocre Arkansas team knocked off the No. 2 team in the country — No. 1 if you listened to me — in dominating Florida. It came just three days after Indiana and Michigan capped another terrific Saturday of hoops with what we thought was the best game of the year. Think about that. It only took 72 hours for the season’s best game to date to become the second best game involving Michigan this season.
And this is a sport that’s in shambles? This is the sport that everyone is trying to fix?
We’re going to get a game like this on what will seem like a nightly basis in the Big Ten. That’s what happens when half of a 12 team league is in the top 25 and four of those teams are in the top ten. (To prove a point, tomorrow, No. 18 Minnesota visits No. 12 Michigan State.)
And that’s just the start of it.
The Mountain West is the nation’s toughest conference, with five of the nine league members battling for a tournament spot. The Atlantic 10 may be the most difficult to figure out, as everyone seems to be within a game or two of first place. The Big East has seven teams in the top 25 and half the league within a game of first. Miami’s surge to relevance is one of college basketball’s best storylines, while the Big 12 has suddenly turned into a race with the way Kansas has struggled offensively in league play.
I could go on, but I won’t.
If you’ve made it this far, and you’re still agreeing with me while nodding along and saying, “preaching to the choir, Rob”, than my job here is done. If you’re not, than you haven’t made it this far.
Which is perfectly fine.
Because if you truly believe college basketball is in shambles, than you’re simply not watching enough games.
You’re not trying hard enough.
So go ahead and kill the time over the next six weeks watching the NBA, because they’re putting in just as much effort as you are.
If you can’t find a way to enjoy what we witnessed tonight — and what we witnessed on Saturday and, seemingly, countless times this season — than we don’t want you here.
See yourself out.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
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